Blood cell derivative may help diabetics with gastric problem

September 26th, 2008 - 11:58 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) Researchers have found what could be the solution to a troubling complication of diabetes - delayed gastric emptying or gastroparesis. They showed in animal models that a red blood cell derivative increases production of a key molecule, normalising the digestive process. Gastroparesis occurs when the stomach retains food for longer periods. When that food eventually passes into the small intestine, insulin is released. It can cause pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach spasms and weight loss.

Because the passage of food out of the stomach becomes unpredictable, maintaining a proper blood glucose level - critical for controlling diabetes - also becomes difficult.

The abnormally high blood glucose levels cause chemical changes in nerves and in pacemaker cells which regulate digestive processes in the gut, and damage blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to cells.

“If these data are confirmed in humans, it may point toward a treatment for this difficult problem,” said Gianrico Farrugia, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and co-author of the study, according to a Mayo Clinic statement. The findings appear in the current online issue of Gastroenterology.

“Our goal is to normalise gastric emptying and therefore improve a patient’s quality of life and glucose control,” he added.

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