Diabetes after COVID-19 could be virus messing with pancreas: Research

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Business Insider 06 October, 2021 - 04:57am 3 views

The relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes is poorly understood and scientists don't yet have definitive answers.

But as the pandemic progressed, a growing number of reports suggested that people who caught COVID-19 were noticing diabetes symptoms for the first time. It is too soon to say whether the condition is permanent.

"Clearly there's a link, there's some sort of mechanism that makes the diseases fuel one another," Francesco Rubino chair of metabolic surgery at King's College London, told Insider. "The question is whether new-onset diabetes could be caused by this virus."

Diabetes is an excess of blood sugar, caused when the body is either not producing enough insulin, the hormone which lowers the blood sugar, or is becoming resistant to it. 

One theory was that the body could be confusing pancreas cells for the coronavirus, and trying to destroy them. This would disrupt insulin supply and cause diabetes, the scientists thought.

But research suggests something else could be going on: the virus might be altering the pancreas, prompting it to destroy itself.

A hallmark of diabetes seen after COVID-19 is the extremely high levels of blood sugar people produce.

These, in turn, need high doses of insulin to counteract, Shiubing Chen, a researcher at the Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, told Insider.

"This suggests there may be some acute damage of the pancreas," Chen said.

To understand what is happening in the pancreas, Chen and her team looked at autopsy samples from five donors with COVID-19. They also gave the coronavirus to cells taken from healthy human pancreases in a laboratory.

Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Metabolism on August 3.

The researchers found that after infection, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas started acting strangely.

They made much less insulin and instead started making glucagon — the chemical which has the opposite effect.

The cells also started making trypsin, a digestive enzyme, and chemokines, a type of substance that tells the immune system cells are sick and should be destroyed. 

Whether this effect is severe enough to cause diabetes to develop where before there was none is something "we don't know yet," Chen said. 

It is plausible that the coronavirus could change the function of the beta cells, said Rubino, the metabolic surgery expert.

But there could be other reasons, he said. It is possible, for instance, that some of the people already had diabetes before catching COVID-19, but were never aware of it.

Rubino has helped put together a registry for cases of new-onset diabetes he hopes will shed light on the issue.

It is not clear how long symptoms of diabetes will last after infection, Rubino and Chen said. Both advised that it is best to avoid getting COVID-19 altogether by getting vaccinated

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‘Chopped Junior’ Winner Fuller Goldsmith Dead at 17

Business Insider South Africa 07 October, 2021 - 08:57am

The young chef had reportedly battled leukemia on and off since he was 3 years old. In February, he began radiation sessions to fight leukemia again after doctors found a tumor.

Magical Elves, the production company behind “Top Chef Junior,” shared the news of his passing on Instagram.

“We are devastated after hearing about the loss of our ‘Top Chef Junior’ alum, Fuller Goldsmith,” the statement said. “He was an incredible chef and the strongest kid we’ve ever met. From the minute he was introduced to us, we knew he would make an impact on everyone around him and be a positive force in cooking world. To his family, we give all our love as they mourn the loss of someone truly special.”

“Top Chef Junior” host Vanessa Lachey shared in the comments, “We all Loved Fuller so much! And will never forget his contagious smile, laugh and butter tricks. Sending so much Love to his family. We will never forget you Fuller!”

The 17-year-old was an assistant to the chef at Southern Ale House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the restaurant remembered him in a Facebook message that read, “Our collective hearts are broken. The SAH family lost our much loved and respected Fuller Goldsmith today. Fuller fought the good fight all his life. From age four until the last few days of 17 years, Fuller fought a courageous fight against cancer. Fuller lived to create delicious dishes and became the little brother to big brother Brett Garner our Executive Chef. He spent a lot of time in the SAH kitchen helping prep, serve, and create recipes.”

“We will miss his presence, his smile, his laugh, his banter back and forth with Brett, and his grit as fought the aches and pains of a terrible disease. He will be missed but forever remembered. His spirit will remain in SAH for the remainder of time. To his family our love and compassion with a huge thank you for sharing Fuller with all of us. He made all of us better people.”

In 2017, Fuller competed on “Chopped Junior” and won. Today.com reports he donated his $10,000 winnings to the Division of Hematology and Pediatric Oncology at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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People are developing diabetes after COVID-19. It might be because the virus messing with insulin-producing cells, new research suggests.

Business Insider India 06 October, 2021 - 04:57am

The relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes is poorly understood and scientists don't yet have definitive answers.

But as the pandemic progressed, a growing number of reports suggested that people who caught COVID-19 were noticing diabetes symptoms for the first time. It is too soon to say whether the condition is permanent.

"Clearly there's a link, there's some sort of mechanism that makes the diseases fuel one another," Francesco Rubino chair of metabolic surgery at King's College London, told Insider. "The question is whether new-onset diabetes could be caused by this virus."

Diabetes is an excess of blood sugar, caused when the body is either not producing enough insulin, the hormone which lowers the blood sugar, or is becoming resistant to it.

One theory was that the body could be confusing pancreas cells for the coronavirus, and trying to destroy them. This would disrupt insulin supply and cause diabetes, the scientists thought.

But research suggests something else could be going on: the virus might be altering the pancreas, prompting it to destroy itself.

A hallmark of diabetes seen after COVID-19 is the extremely high levels of blood sugar people produce.

These, in turn, need high doses of insulin to counteract, Shiubing Chen, a researcher at the Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine, told Insider.

"This suggests there may be some acute damage of the pancreas," Chen said.

To understand what is happening in the pancreas, Chen and her team looked at autopsy samples from five donors with COVID-19. They also gave the coronavirus to cells taken from healthy human pancreases in a laboratory.

Their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Metabolism on August 3.

The researchers found that after infection, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas started acting strangely.

They made much less insulin and instead started making glucagon - the chemical which has the opposite effect.

The cells also started making trypsin, a digestive enzyme, and chemokines, a type of substance that tells the immune system cells are sick and should be destroyed.

Whether this effect is severe enough to cause diabetes to develop where before there was none is something "we don't know yet," Chen said.

It is plausible that the coronavirus could change the function of the beta cells, said Rubino, the metabolic surgery expert.

But there could be other reasons, he said. It is possible, for instance, that some of the people already had diabetes before catching COVID-19, but were never aware of it.

Rubino has helped put together a registry for cases of new-onset diabetes he hopes will shed light on the issue.

It is not clear how long symptoms of diabetes will last after infection, Rubino and Chen said. Both advised that it is best to avoid getting COVID-19 altogether by getting vaccinated.

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