Sainsbury fronts up over diabetes

Concerned dad joins drive to fight back against incurable illness

Mark Sainsbury with his diabetic son, Hunter. Photo / Marty Melville

Mark Sainsbury has spent decades in the limelight, but has always kept his twin children out of it … until now.

The popular broadcaster is speaking out about his son’s battle with incurable type-1 diabetes in a bid to raise money and awareness.

The former Close Up host will compere a fundraising dinner on Saturday night for Diabetes Youth Auckland, an organisation he says was a major support when his son, Hunter, was diagnosed with the auto-immune disease at the age of 10.

“It was a huge thing for him, suddenly having to inject himself with insulin several times a day,” Sainsbury said. “You think, you poor little guy, how is he going to deal with this? It seems so unfair.

“But if you spend any time in a children’s ward you learn there are people with bigger issues.”

He said the first sign was Hunter becoming lethargic and drinking a lot of water. “He got more and more gaunt. He was misdiagnosed at first, but on that weekend he looked so emaciated we took him straight to the children’s ward.

“After a blood test, a doctor told us he was diabetic – which we knew nothing about.”

Youth Diabetes case workers were fantastic, he said, guiding the family through what to expect. “There’s the whole thing of being different and having to shoot up. I injected him the first time and after that he did it all himself. He was really amazing. He basically took charge.”

Sainsbury recalls a couple of times when Hunter experienced a frightening drop in sugar levels, including on a disastrous family skiing trip.

“The brand new 4WD broke down and he suddenly started acting really strangely. We thought he was just goofing around but it was actually a massive low and we had to get a glucose shot into his thigh.”

He said the incident also proved an eye opener for his twin sister and her friend. “I think they sometimes thought we were easier on him, and suddenly they saw the fitting and stuff and it was real to them. Not just a sympathy card, but very dangerous and frightening. It made everyone realise just how serious it was.”

Of all people with diabetes, it is estimated about 10 per cent have type 1, which most often occurs in childhood but can occur at any age. Early symptoms include thirst, passing more urine, weight loss, being very tired and mood changes.

Sainsbury says Hunter, who recently returned to Wellington after time in the Northern Territory with his sister, gets an eye test every year and keeps a close watch on his circulation.

Sainsbury insists children with type-1 diabetes can live a regular life but stops short at describing it as normal – and says as a parent the concern is always there.

“Even when they leave home you can’t help but worry about what will happen if they don’t eat, and what if they have a low,” he said. “But at the end of the day they have to manage it themselves. You can’t sit and watch them 24 hours.”

Sir Bob Jones will be the guest speaker at Saturday’s fundraising dinner. The proceeds will support local children and teens with type-1 diabetes.

Herald on Sunday

By Amanda Snow Email Amanda

The Obesity Conspiracy | In Their Own Words | Big Think


I think we’re facing, unfortunately, a loosely organized conspiracy to promote disease and obesity.  By default or by design, one-third of our economy profits from people being sick and fat. So big food, which is industrial food, big farming, which is agribusiness, and big pharma all profit from making people sicker and fatter. 

It’s hard to fight that battle.  We see, for example, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation spends $100 million fighting childhood obesity in this country.  The food industry spends that in four days to promote junk food and processed food, and the worse the food is for you the more they advertise and promote it. 

It’s hard to fight that when government subsidies are supporting high fructose corn syrup production and trans fats, when you’re standing at the fast food restaurant and the government is standing there with you buying your cheeseburger or French fries and soda but they’re not standing with you at the produce aisle because there are no subsidies for fruits and vegetables. 

So we’re providing an obesogenic environment and we need to think about how we can change that by changing some of our policies, by changing how we market foods.  The government requested, the FTC requested, that the food industry change its marketing around food and basically restrict marketing for foods that had high salt, fat and sugar.  But this was only a recommendation to change.  It wasn’t a demand or a regulation.  And they only suggested they do it in five years, so that’s like saying to tobacco let’s stop marketing cigarettes to kids in five years, and, by the way, you only have to do it if you really want to.  That’s not how we’re going to create change in America.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


How injectable nanogel could help fight diabetes

A closeup of the nanogel.

A closeup of the nanogel.


For diabetics who have to constantly manage their blood-sugar levels, insulin works. The problem is, many people with Type 1 diabetes have to prick their fingers multiple times a day to monitor their levels, and inject themselves with insulin when those levels are too high. And they don’t always administer the right amount at the right time.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children’s Hospital hope to automate insulin delivery with a novel nanotech approach that involves injecting a gel that detects blood-sugar levels and secretes insulin when needed — with a single injection doing do the trick for as many as 10 days.

“With this system of extended release, the amount of drug secreted is proportional to the needs of the body,” says Daniel Anderson, an associate professor of chemical engineering, in a school news release. Anderson is the senior author of the paper describing the system in the journal ACS Nano.

Because insulin delivery is so time-consuming and important to get right, researchers have spent years trying to improve the approach, with some developing systems that basically mimic the pancreas to both detect glucose levels and secrete insulin. One approach, for instance, relies on hydrogels, but they have responded too slowly and lacked mechanical strength to the point of letting insulin leak out.

The MIT approach uses a nanogel with a structure similar to toothpaste, containing a mix of oppositely-charged nanoparticles that attract one another and thus keep the gel mechanically strong. With the help of spheres of dextran packed with an enzyme that converts glucose into gluconic acid, glucose can diffuse through the gel, so that when blood-sugar levels are elevated the enzyme produces more gluconic acid to disintegrate the dextran spheres and release the insulin.

Thus far, the team has tested the system on mice with Type 1 diabetes, and in those animals the single gel injection maintained normal blood-sugar levels for an average of 10 days. Eventually, the particles — which are biocompatible — simply degrade into the body.

The next step is to get the particles to respond to changes in glucose fast enough to fully mimic the performance of pancreas islet cells in healthy animals without diabetes. In order to test this system in humans, the researchers are tweaking its delivery properties and optimizing the dosage required for humans as opposed to mice. – Obesity and type 2 diabetes link identified

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There are an estimated 371 million people with diabetes in the world and around 90 percent of these cases are type 2 diabetes. By 2030, there will be some 550 million with the condition based on current trends.

Cases of diabetes have more than doubled since 1980, with 70 percent of the trend due to aging populations worldwide and the other 30 percent estimated to be due to increasing prevalence of risk factors including obesity.

Straight from the Source

Read the original study

DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.02.019

New research published in Cell Metabolism identifies a key mechanism in the immune system involved in the development of obesity-linked type 2 diabetes. The findings open up new possibilities for treatment and prevention of this condition, which is becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide.

The association between obesity and diabetes has long been recognized but the molecules responsible for this association are unclear.

Lead author Jane Howard and her colleagues from King’s College London studied mice genetically engineered to lack T-bet, a protein that regulates the differentiation and function of immune cells. They found that the mice had improved insulin sensitivity despite being obese.

“When T-bet was absent this altered the relationship between fat and insulin resistance; the mice had more intra-abdominal fat but were actually more sensitive to the glucose lowering effects of insulin,” says Howard. “As fat accumulation in the abdomen is typically associated with worsening insulin resistance and other features of the metabolic syndrome, the findings seen were both unusual and unexpected.”

It turned out that the intra-abdominal fat of these mice contained fewer immune cells and was less inflamed than that of normal mice. The researchers then went on to discover that by transferring immune cells lacking T-bet to young, lean mice they were able to improve insulin sensitivity. “It appears that T-bet expression in the adaptive immune system is able to influence metabolic physiology,” adds Professor Graham Lord.

Although human obesity is often associated with insulin resistance and diabetes, this is not always the case.

“Our data suggests that obesity can be uncoupled from insulin resistance, through the absence of T-bet,” says Howard. Several of the main drugs currently used to treat type 2 diabetes work by improving insulin sensitivity.

Further studies are needed to identify other molecules in the pathway of action of T-bet which could pave the way for future drug development in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The administration of specific immune cells as immunotherapy to improve insulin resistance may also one day become a therapeutic possibility.

“This is just the start,” says Howard. “The idea that the immune system can impact on metabolism is very exciting, but more research needs to be done before we can bring this work from the bench to the bedside for the benefit of patients.”

The UK Medical Research Council funded the study.

Source: King’s College London

Battling obesity in the Fox Valley

APPLETON – Battling bulging waistlines. It’s a growing problem everywhere. Even in the Fox Valley.

Health experts say it’s now an epidemic 30 years in the making.

It’s not hard to spot, even here in the Fox Valley. Experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese.

“We struggle just like the rest of the nation does,” said Dr. John Edwards, a pediatrician with Theda Care.

He says change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.

“As much as possible if we can have parents on the same page, realizing that healthy eating is better for all of us. That’s going to make an important difference as well as what’s available and setting the example for kids.”

The second meeting of a Fox Valley summit on obesity is focusing on initiatives to combat the problem. The first meeting of local leaders last week identified problem areas and causes.

“The healthier our employees are the lower our healthcare costs, the lower our healthcare costs the more money we can put into city services,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.

The city of Appleton employees more than 600 full-time workers. Hanna says the city has incentive driven programs to encourage employees to be physically fit. Just one way businesses can help stem the tide of obesity.

“This is the only kind of thing that works, which is to get public sector and private sector, local philanthropic organizations and large health systems and little non-profits all in a room to sit down and look at what’s the problem and what they think they can do about it,” said Karen Timberlake of the UW Population Health Institute.

Whether its adults or children Dr. Edwards says reversing the trend starts with healthy eating and exercise.

“If we can teach healthy behaviors in childhood, that’s going to help try to set up healthy behaviors for life. And then building activity as part of every single day is a great approach to building a foundation for healthy body weight and good cardiovascular fitness.”

An approach built one step at a time.

The obesity summit is expected to meet again in the coming months.

Organizers want agencies and businesses to come up with a formal plan to fight obesity in Northeast Wisconsin.

Alex Assault victim Alex Welch seeing plastic surgeon and still waiting for apology from Demi Lovato

The nasty punch to her face caught her totally by surprise and she is still waiting for Demi Lovato to make ammends for her shocking behavior.

“To this day, I haven’t got an apolgoy. I’ve heard nothing,” the 21-year-old dancer Alex Welch told PEOPLE. “That’s sad if you think that person is your friend.”

Five weeks ago, after a concert, Demi got upset because she had gotten into trouble for her partying behavior and suspected that one of the dancers had snitched on her.


Walsh, who insists she did not tattle on the Disney Star, went on to say: “We were on the plane with the Joeses having this awesome time and I didn’t get a call or text from Demi or a ‘hey, you got a problem with me,’ nothing. And she walks up and punches me and literally waled away and got in her seat.”


The attack left the back-up dancer with a black eye and bruised cheek bone, but not any permanent damage, PEOPLE reports.

However, according to RadarOnline, Welch — who has hired Beverly Hills attorney Donal Karpel and might pursue litigation — had to receive emergency medical treatment following the incident, as well as further consultation from a cosmetic surgeon.

“After the attack, Alex had to get emergency treatment,” Karpel said. “She is now consulting a Beverly Hills ears, nose and throat plastic surgeon.”

The high-powered attorney also said that Welch intends to take Demi to court, although –as we reported yesterday — the star’s father is warning the the dancer not to sue his daughter. “She won’t win,” he told RadarOnline. “Demi has really good lawyers and so does Disney, this girl shouldn’t sue.”

Read here about teen singer Justin Bieber, who was under invesigation for allegedly hitting a young boy.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

Demi Lovato’s dad warns dancer not to take legal action for alleged bust-up

Alex Welch, the dancer who was on the receiving end of an alleged punch from Disney star Demi Lovato, has met with lawyers about the incident and is “considering legal action”, TMZ reports.

Now Demi Lovato’s dad, Patrick, is warning the the dancer not to sue his daughter. “She won’t win,” he told RadarOnline. “Demi has really good lawyers and so does Disney, this girl shouldn’t sue.”
After a concert in early November, Demi and a “very small group” went out for a night of partying and “when tour management found out about this,” a source told People, “they talked to the people involved, including Demi. Demi reacted badly and perceived that someone on tour had told on her.”

When Demi had reason to believe that this snitching someone was one of her female dancers, she lost control and broke out into a physical fight with her the following day on a flight.

And according to reports, Demi has also gone off the rails with some excessive drug consumption. A so-called friend told RadarOnline that he saw the troubled star snorting line after line at a party: “Demi was belligerent, being slutty and doing coke all over the house. The guy who hosted the party shot multiple videos of this and what I’ve seen with my eyes, Demi is screaming, ‘F**k all of you, I’m famous, I don’t care what any of you think of me the whole world loves me.’ He shot her in the bathroom as she was finishing a line (of cocaine).”

Demi was only sixteen when she achieved celebrity status, and as we have seen with the public meltdowns of high profile stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, being under the limelight and constant scrutiny of the media can take its toll.

Eating disorders and self-mutilation are often used to help the individual cope with, block out, and release troubling feelings and emotions. Drink and drug problems often also come into play.

Demi has been in a treatment center since October and according to her father “she is so strong and  she is getting better every day.” He went on to tell RadarOnline that Walsh is only looking to sue his daughter because she his after her money.

“Demi is so successful and and she has plenty of money, that’s why this girl would be going after her,” Patrick insisted. “She wouldn’t do this if Demi wasn’t famous.”

Do you think Welch stands a chance up against Demi and her powerful lawyers, or would she best of to take heed of Patrick’s words of warning and steer clear of court?

Read here about teen singer Justin Bieber, who was under invesigation for allegedly hitting a young boy.

Images: Wikimedia Commons