Today’s Headlines: Diabetes, Smoking, and Meningitis

Could Beta Carotene Help Treat Genetic Diabetes? Stanford University researchers found that Type 2 diabetes patients “with a certain genetic mutation may be able to rely on beta carotene to reduce their symptoms.” Beta carotene is a variant of vitamin A— commonly found in carrots. Some with Type 2 diabetes have a gene variant, SLC30A4, which “codes for a protein that is involved with helping beta cells in the pancreas make insulin, which is critical for breaking down glucose in the diet.” Adding beta carotene may improve the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin and decrease the person’s risk of getting the disease. (Time)

Another Reason to Quit: Smoking Can Take Ten Years Off of Life Expectancy: The New England Journal of Medicine released two studies which indicate that smokers tend to die ten years before nonsmokers. However, those who quit smoking before they turn 40 “reduce the excess risk of death associated with continued smoking by about 90%.” The researchers assessed data from the US National Health Interview Survey between 1997 and 2004. “Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the U.S.,” says Tim McAfee, a co-author of the study. (USA Today)

After The Meningitis Scare, Massachusetts Governor Proposes More Pharmacy Inspectors: After a national fungal meningitis outbreak was linked to tainted drugs from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, the state’s Department of Public Health received an extra $3.7 million in funds to hire more inspectors. The extra funds would also “cover 30 staff members for other public safety efforts, such as monitoring food quality at restaurants.” (Boston Globe)