In the News: Type 2 Diabetes Remission Possible With Special Diet, Intense Exercise May Help Parkinson’s Disease, Weather Not Likely To Make Bones and Joints Ache

Type 2 diabetes remission possible with a special diet. According to a study published today in the Lancet medical journal, certain people with Type 2 diabetes were able to put the disease in remission without medication by following a rigorous diet plan. One hundred and forty-nine participants with type 2 diabetes participated in the study for six years, and were monitored closely as they underwent a liquid diet (which provided only 825 to 853 calories per day for three to five months). The participants were then reintroduced to solid food and maintained a structured diet until the end of the yearlong study. The researchers found that half of the participants were able to put their diabetes into remission, without medication, after one year. In addition, those who participated in the study also lost an average of more than 20 pounds. The findings are important, as diet and lifestyle are touched upon in research on diabetes remission, but the impact of cutting calories and increasing physical activity is rarely discussed. The study also offered a more universal approach to reversing diabetes compared to undergoing bariatric surgery, which can achieve remission for some people, but is considerably more expensive and comes with a greater health risk. (ABC)

Intense exercise may help Parkinson’s disease. An important new study published in JAMA Neurology looked at the effect of intense exercise on the progression of Parkinson’s Disease with adults in the early stages of the disease. The researchers recruited 128 men and women who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s within the past five years. None had started taking medications for treatment, and none regularly exercised. The researchers tested their aerobic capacity, maximum heart rates, and disease severity, using a standard numerical scale. They then divided the men and women randomly into three groups, one control group who would not exercise, one who participated in moderate exercise, and one who exercised intensely. After six months of monitoring the exercise sessions, the only group that showed no decline in the progression of the disease was the group that exercised intensely. Researchers theorize that intense exercise causes improved blood flow to the brain, which may aid overall brain health and slow deterioration. The study’s results also indicate that while gentler exercise is safe for people with Parkinson’s, it does not seem to delay the advancement of the disease. (NYT)

Weather not likely to make bones and joints ache. A study published in BMJ looked at whether an increase in humidity, rainfall, or barometric pressure can cause joint or back pain. Researchers looked at medical records of 11,673,392 Medicare outpatient visits. Matching the dates of the visits to local weather reports, they found that 2,095,761 of them occurred on rainy days. Using estimates they predicted how many of those visits were for a condition related to join or back pain, and how many of them occurred on rainy days. After controlling for age, sex, race and various chronic conditions, they found that more visits for bone and joint pain happened on dry days than wet ones. While the weather might not be causing joint pain, there might be some psychology involved; researchers say that when it’s raining and you have joint pain you might be more likely to attribute it to the weather than when it’s sunny and you have joint pain. (NYT)