This observation was tested in a clinical trial called the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), whose results were published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. The trial recruited more than 300 overweight, non-insulin dependent people who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the past six years. Half the participants, the “intervention” group, were taken off all antidiabetic medication, and instead were put on a long-term weight loss program. The other half continued with known best practices for diabetes management.
After twelve months, nearly half of the diabetics in the intervention group were in remission, compared to less than 5% in the control group. The rate of remission increased depending on the amount of weight lost.
Following the study, DiRECT researchers investigated the reason for this response. This study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found the answer in the functioning of beta cells, pancreatic cells whose task is to produce, store, and release insulin.
Scientists had previously assumed that the destruction of pancreatic beta cells led to the development of diabetes. However, this new study showed that this was not necessarily the case. People whose weight loss led their diabetes to go into remission had improvement in the functioning of their beta cells. But some people who had the same amount of weight loss, did not have their diabetes going to remission. It was found that those people did not have functioning pancreatic beta cells.
The reality that pancreatic beta cells do not always “die” in diabetics opens a very real possibility for the reversal of this chronic disease.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.