Scientists of Kumamoto University in Japan have developed a new wearable strip to help treat type 2 diabetes, even in obese, disabled or elderly people that can effect visceral fat loss and improve blood glucose.
Their clinical study showed that a new device is effective in preventing and treating diabetes, especially with patients who had been taking diabetes drugs but seeing little benefit. It can also be used for overweight or elderly patients who are unable to follow an exercise regimen.
The device uses physical stimulation in the form of concurrent heat and mild electrical currents, and was optimized during basic research much as a drug in development would be. The device is distinct in that the working mechanism has been demonstrated at the molecular level.
Assistant Professor Tatsuya Kondo, Professor Eiichi Araki and his team at the Department of Metabolic Medicine, Faculty of Life Sciences, Kumamoto University have proven the clinical efficacy of the Japan-made medical device on subjects with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
The device was co-developed with Professor Hirofumi Kai, Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University and its pharmaceutical applications and marketing are expected soon in the future.
The study published in the Online Edition of EBioMedicine on November 11, 2014, said the ability of insulin to lower blood sugar levels can be reduced and insulin secretion is decreased. The heat shock response (HSR) is activated as a response to stress but its function decreased in those with type 2 diabetes.
But by restoring the function of HSP72, the main protein of HSR, improved glucose-related abnormalities and a suitable combination of mild electrical stimulation (MES) with heat shock (HS) activated HSP72 more efficiently.
Japanese researchers developed a belt-type medical device that uses a special type of rubber to transmit MES and HS simultaneously and the study performed a clinical trial of it on 40 obese men suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Results showed a decrease fasting glucose levels, a loss of visceral fat, improve insulin resistance, and a significant improvement in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) values, said the research paper.
Those who underwent the trial phase showed about 53.5% achieved less than 7% HbA1c, which is a treatment goal for diabetes and activation of the HSR produced a large therapeutic effect.
In the next clinical trial, 60 obese patients with type 2 diabetes from both genders were given a 12-week treatment with the belt and they received treatments for 60 minutes each time.
The study showed improvements in chronic inflammation, fatty liver markers, renal function and lipid profile, while a DPP-4 inhibitor, which is the most often used therapeutic drug for diabetes in Japan, showed an even stronger blood glucose improvement.
“This device is very easy to use since it simply attaches to the abdomen, and it has a low-impact on the patient. One can expect the effects to be similar to exercise therapy,” said Tatsuya Kondo.