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Diabetes Imaging Techniques

Targeted Ultrasound May Be A Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes

6 months, 4 weeks ago

2507  0
Posted on Jan 12, 2020, 10 a.m.

Animal studies suggest that targeted ultrasound may be an effective treatment for Type 2 diabetes, according to researchers from The George Washington University who presented their findings at a conference hosted by the Acoustical Society of America.

Ultrasound is the targeted emission of high frequency sound waves which is most often used in imaging; as the waves hit tissue the reflections produce and image the process is used to probe a person without having to resort to radiation or surgery. 

Studies most recently have been investigating the possibility of using ultrasound beyond imaging, with some suggesting that it may be useful to treat Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. 

Type 2 diabetes has the hallmark characteristics of lacking insulin and the onset of insulin resistance, insulin is produced in the pancreas by beta cells, and it is used to regulate blood sugar levels. With the onset of diabetes elevated levels of blood sugar can overwork beta cells, when this happens insulin builds up in them causing many to die, if more beta cells die the condition further develops into diabetes. Medication can help insulins levels, but they can become ineffective over time. 

Ultrasound has been noted in earlier in vitro studies to stimulate beta cells to release more insulin, this study investigated whether this could apply to living organisms. Mice were divided into two groups: a control group and the other receiving 5 minute ultrasound treatments, with blood samples being taken before and after treatments. Findings revealed the treated mice had increased levels of insulin in their blood, and the treatment caused no internal damage, but the treatment did not cause a drop in glucose levels. 

“We expect that our approach, with careful selection of ultrasound parameters, may provide a safe, controlled, and targeted stimulation of insulin release from the pancreatic beta cells,” the team concluded.

Ultrasound can carry risk of side effects, especially for those who are pregnant, and expectant women are advised to only use it for necessary medical treatment given the amount of energy ultrasound waves have. Fetal exposure to frequent ultrasound scans have been shown to cause brain abnormalities and/or impaired development.

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