It’s In the News, a look at the top stories and headlines from the diabetes community happening now. Top stories this week: what is MicroGlucagon and how could it speed up existing rapid-acting insulin? SGLT2 medications may cause false positive alcohol tests, red light therapy for type 2 diabetes, research shows teens with type 2 might have a different kind of diabetes altogether, FDA warns against non-invasive glucose monitoring and more!

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Episode transcription: 


Hello and welcome to Diabetes Connections In the News! I’m Stacey Simms and every other Friday I bring you a short episode with the top diabetes stories and headlines happening now.


In the news is brought to you by Edgepark simplify your diabetes journey with Edgepark


Our top story this week…


New research in Norway.. where a group has applied for a patent for a new solution they call MicroGlucagon. Microamounts of glucagon have been added to regular rapid-acting insulin mixtures.

Trials carried out by the researchers on pigs under general anesthesia show that insulin with added microdoses of glucagon reach full effect up to 10 minutes faster than the fastest insulin currently available. In addition, the amount of insulin absorbed by the body appears to increase when the MicroGlucagon mixture is used, perhaps by as much as 30 per cent.

“The most important thing, however, is that when insulin is absorbed faster, it also disappears from the body faster,” says Carlsen.


The researchers believe that their solution may also reduce the risk of low blood sugar for as long as to 3-5 hours after meals.

Glucagon has one very special property that researchers have discovered and exploited. In technical terms, the hormone causes vasodilation. This means that it relaxes the smooth muscles on the inside of the smallest blood vessels. As a result, the blood vessels expand and local blood flow increases greatly.

Although glucagon increases blood sugar levels, the new microdoses will be so minuscule that they will not affect the liver’s release of glucose.



New research at the Joslin Diabetes Center sheds new light on the specific changes insulin produce beta cells go through at the onset of T1D. Their findings—published in Nature Cell Biology— suggest the beta cells are initiating events that prompt the autoimmune response. When researches targeted the beta cells they were able to delay progression of type 1 diabetes.


The diabetes field has long classified the disorder into two distinct groups, type 1 and type 2. However, new genetics research focused on a form of type 2 diabetes that is becoming more common in adolescents suggests a more complicated picture.

This study found that youth-onset type 2 diabetes is a genetically intermediate form of the disorder that lies on a spectrum between adult-onset diabetes and rare forms of the disorder caused by a single gene.


The research, published in Nature Metabolism, is based on analysis of DNA from more than 3,000 patients with type 2 diabetes between 12 and 18 years of age and nearly 9,800 adults, more than three-quarters of whom were of African American and Hispanic ancestry.

The work also showed that the specific mix of different types of gene variants an individual carried was linked to their particular set of symptoms. For example, those with more common variants showed more symptoms of adult-onset type 2 diabetes, such as higher insulin levels.

The findings challenge current thinking about type 2 diabetes and suggest a greater genetic overlap between the different forms of diabetes than previously thought.


Heads up if you take an SGLT2 inhibitor – it may cause false positive alcohol test results. You might take this medication under the brand name Farxiga, Jardiance or Invokana – there are a few other generic and brand names.

This case, described in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved a man in his 60s treated for diabetes with an SGLT2 inhibitor for 5 months.

The patient reported to his primary care clinic that he feared being sent to jail because as many as four recent urine toxicology test results taken for the city’s probation office were positive for alcohol, despite his not ingesting alcohol for 10 months. The samples otherwise showed no traces of illicit or nonprescribed substances.


A call to the city probation office to inquire about its urine collection protocol revealed that probation office urine samples, sent only once daily to an external lab for testing, were not refrigerated prior to transportation.

When they did further testing, they found there was microbial fermentation of the sugar in the man’s urine.

While there have been several reports of false-positive urine alcohol tests under similar circumstances, such as having chronically elevated sugar levels in the urine, “to my knowledge, this is the first report of this phenomenon with respect to this type of medication,” Schwartz told Medscape Medical News.


“Prior studies and cases have shown that it doesn’t take very long for microbial fermentation to occur at room temperature,” Schwartz said.

With the possibility of such cases occurring, Schwartz urges clinicians to “be skeptical of positive urine alcohol tests for patients that have high level of glucose in their urine.”



People with type 2 diabetes who underwent bariatric surgery achieved better long-term blood glucose control compared to people who received medical management plus lifestyle interventions, according to a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health. The participants who underwent bariatric surgery, also called metabolic or weight-loss surgery, were also more likely to stop needing diabetes medications and had higher rates of diabetes remission up to 12 years post-surgery.

At seven years, participants in the surgery group experienced an average 20% weight loss compared to 8% in the medical/lifestyle group. The surgery group had greater improvements in blood glucose control, measured by HbA1c, with 54% of participants in the surgery group achieving an HbA1c less than 7% compared to only 27% of participants in the medical/lifestyle group. More participants with surgery achieved diabetes remission compared to participants in the medication/lifestyle group, and the percent of participants using medications to treat diabetes in the surgery group decreased from 98% to 61%, yet remained largely unchanged in the medication/lifestyle group.


The results and differences between groups remained significant at 12 years.



A new study suggests that red light therapy could help people manage their blood sugar. One catch – the study was done on people without diabetes.

These researchers say they decided to look at red light therapy as a way to help control blood sugar levels after reading a study that sunlight exposure could correlate with improved glucose metabolism.

“Red light is absorbed by mitochondria and helps them produce more energy,” he explained.

scientists found that participants receiving the red light therapy reduced their peak blood sugar level and also reduced their total blood sugar levels during the two hours, compared to those not receiving the light therapy.

Next step, looking at people who actually need this kind of help.





No surprise if you’re a long time listeners, but the Food and Drug Administration warned patients against using smartwatches or smart rings that claim to measure blood sugar without piercing the skin.

Officials published the safety notice Wednesday after learning that people are selling wearables that claim to noninvasively monitor blood glucose. The devices are “manufactured by dozens of companies and sold under multiple brand names,” according to the agency.

The FDA has never authorized a noninvasive wearable that measures or estimates blood glucose values on its own and is concerned inaccurate readings could lead to errors in the management of diabetes.

As well as alerting consumers and physicians to the issue, the FDA is working to ensure “manufacturers, distributors and sellers do not illegally market unauthorized smartwatches or smart rings that claim to measure blood glucose levels,” the agency said.,in%20the%20management%20of%20diabetes.


Know Labs is ramping up its efforts to change that.


The Seattle-based company on Tuesday unveiled the latest iteration of its needle-free glucose monitor device, comprising the version of its internal sensor technology that’ll be included in an eventual submission for FDA clearance.



The new device—dubbed KnowU—builds on the Generation 1 prototype that Know Labs debuted last summer. In the months since, the company said, it has tested out the glucose-sensing technology under a variety of conditions and miniaturized it to fit in a slimmed-down device.

the new KnowU device can be either placed on the body with an adhesive or strapped onto the wrist or arm for continuous use.


The system is designed to last for several years, Steven Kent, Know Labs’ chief product officer, said in a video showing off the KnowU’s features. It’s equipped with a rechargeable battery, with each charge expected to last at least 24 hours.



The noninvasive device relies on the company’s radiofrequency dielectric sensor technology, which sends radio waves through the skin and collects information about how the RF voltage response travels back to the sensor, and its machine learning algorithms, which analyze the sensor’s findings to continuously measure the amount of glucose in the blood.


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