PBRC doctor awarded grant to study hypoglycemia treatments in people with type 1 diabetes
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Diabetes is defined as a long-lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Even if someone is under the best regulation of insulin, they can still have life-threatening periods of low blood sugar.
“We’re really focusing in on trying to treat a complication of diabetes,” said Dr. David McDougal, assistant professor of research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “In science, it’s called hypoglycemia, but I think most people would understand it like low blood sugar.”
He said you may have experienced the shaky feeling when exercising without eating enough.
“It becomes a problem in diabetes when you treat people with insulin,” said McDougal. “Their blood sugar often gets too low, and for whatever reason, their body stops responding to that signal.”
He was awarded a five-year, $1.8M grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate theories about why the brain stops responding to low blood sugar in people with diabetes with the hormone leptin.
“What we’re really understanding is leptin kind of is like the fuel gauge for the brain,” said McDougal. “The brain uses leptin levels to gauge how much fuel’s in the tank, so to speak. We feel like we have some evidence in the lab that when you’re exposed to low glucose, low blood sugar over and over again, your leptin levels fall, and it kind of gets a disconnect between your brain and your body.”
If they get positive results during animal testing, they can use the compound in humans since leptin is already FDA approved. Researchers are aiming to help the tens of thousands of people McDougal said live in the capital city with type 1 diabetes.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.