Having recently passed the half-year mark since starting the American Biotechnologist Blog, I took some time to reflect on what’s been accomplished and what goals I have achieved. In the course of my personal musings I discovered that the more time I spend in front of a computer, the more I expand my mind (an intended consequence) and my girth (an unintended consequence). As an educated individual, I understand that a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to my health but nonetheless, in order to justify my behavior I undertook a research project (OK…more like a 5 minute google search) to try and find sources for the health benefits associated with computer use. One interesting blog post that I found discussed a study out of Toronto, Canada showing that computer use helps reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment by up to 50%. While that sounded like a good justification for my addictive computer habit, the study also found that computer use had to be in combination with moderate physical exercise to be of any benefit. (I’m pretty sure that walking from my home office to my kitchen for my 10 minute interval snack doesn’t qualify as moderate exercise.)
The next “authority” that I found on the subject of blogging as a form of neurological exercise was by a fellow named Irving. Irving is an active blogger and has written an intriguing post on his personal exercise and blogging habits. His post is broken down into 4 areas: activity; nutrition; socialization; and mental stimulation. Irving makes the claim that “it is reasonable to view blogging as a form of mental exercise that will hopefully help keep (his) brain as healthy as possible for as long as possible.” Nonetheless, Irving’s post is rife with evidence that supports the theory that physical exercise is crucial for mental health and that blogging alone just won’t cut it.
All kidding aside, one of the negative consequences associated with our ever-increasing sedentary lifestyle is the epidemic rise in the number of cases of type II diabetes among the American adult population. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, as of 2007 over 23.5 Million Americans over the age of 20 were affected with Diabetes and Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates in 2006. In addition to being a leading cause of death, Diabetes also causes heart disease and stroke, blindness, high blood pressure, kidney disease, nervous system disease, amputations, dental disease and other complications.
So how does all of this relate to us, the American Biotechnology blogging community? Currently there are thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of research studies focused on understanding the mechanisms of and finding a cure for diabetes. A simple search of the term “diabetes” on pubmed returned over 350,000 articles. The biotechnology research community is on the forefront in the fight against diabetes.
A lot of excitement was generated last year when an international study out of Israel and Harvard University reported that a drug called alpha-1-antritrypsin eliminates inflammation that causes failure of islet cell transplantation. Furthermore, since the drug was already approved for another indication, the FDA was able to fast-track human clinical trials which began in 2008.
Dr. Eli Lewis, the lead investigator in this study, is a prominent diabetes researcher and an active blogger who spends time fielding questions from concerned patients.
Over the next few weeks, we will make a concerted effort to follow up on this story and hopefully get an update from Dr. Lewis on the alpha-1-antritrypsin story.
We would also like to hear from other Diabetes researchers on their stories and the current state of affairs in their labs. If you are a Diabetes researcher please send us your story in the form of a written post or video and we would be delighted to highlight your research in this forum. We would also like to create links from this blog to sites that are valuable to the Diabetes research community. So if have a site that you find useful in your Diabetes research, please do share and we will post it here on the American Biotechechnologist.
I look forward to your feedback!