Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Dolphins May Hold Clues to Type 2 Diabetes | March 26, 2010

Can dolphins really help us understand diabetes, or have researchers just been hitting the bottle?

New research has some holding out hope that the studying diabetic dolphins can lead to a better understanding of Type 2 diabetes in humans, according to a recent article published by Science News.

Researchers looked at bottlenose dolphins and how they went into a harmless diabetic state following overnight fasting. During this time they had high levels of sugar in the blood.  Carbohydrates, which turn into sugar, help fuel the brain. However, dolphins eat a lot of fish, which typically do not have a lot of carbs. Therefore, some researchers believe the dolphins have a “diabetic switch” that they can turn on and off in order to keep their brain well fed.

Humans with Type 2 diabetes do not become insulin resistant by choice. The exact cause is not fully known. Insulin is the hormone in the body that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. People with Type 2 diabetes do not use insulin efficiently because their body tissue does not absorb sugar properly as instructed by insulin.

Insulin resistance in dolphins isn’t always a good thing either and humans and dolphins are not closely related, but the new findings advance previous research. Researchers hypothesize the diabetic switch may have been an evolutionary trait in dolphins. If so, there may be a diabetic switch in humans similar to the one seen in dolphins, as humans may have developed insulin resistance as a way to provide fuel to the brain during extremely cold temperatures, when food was sparse.

Flipping interesting eitherway…

via: Dolphins May Hold Clues to Type 2 Diabetes


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