Navigation Links
Nobelist James Watson proposes an unconventional view of type 2 diabetes causation

Cold Spring Harbor, NY At 85, Nobel laureate James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, continues to advance intriguing scientific ideas. His latest, a hypothesis on the causation of type 2 diabetes, is to appear 7 pm Thursday US time in the online pages of The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal.

Watson's hypothesis, which is featured as the Lancet cover story in the U.S. print edition dated March 1-7, 2014, suggests that diabetes, dementias, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers are linked to a failure to generate sufficient biological oxidants, called reactive oxygen species (ROS). Watson also argues the case for a better understanding of the role of exercise in helping to remedy this deficiency.

"The prevalent view of type 2 diabetes," Dr. Watson says, "is that an excess of intracellular oxidation causes inflammation, which in turn kills cells in pancreatic tissue." Proper function of those cells, it is well understood, is critical for the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels.

Over the last several years Watson has been puzzling out an alternative view, based on facts reported in the peer-reviewed literature of medicine and molecular biology. (He makes clear that he is not a medical doctor, rather a student of science.) He does not question that pancreatic tissue in people with type 2 diabetes is indeed inflamed. But he does present a novel theory of why. "The fundamental cause, I suggest, is a lack of biological oxidants, not an excess," he says.

For years, Watson knew, doctors have been telling patients with incipient type 2 diabetes those with high blood sugar levels -- to exercise, often before putting them on a well-proven glucose-lowering drug regimen such as Metformin. Exercise seemed to Watson the key to the puzzle: what was it about exercise that served to benefit people with high blood sugar?

There were important clues, he speculated, in the chemistry of oxidation and reduction reactions. The body's cells cannot survive without making both oxidants and antioxidants. "There is a delicate balance" between the two, Watson observes. Physical exercise prompts the body to make large numbers of oxidants molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS. In a cellular organ called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), one such "species," the oxidant hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), helps forge chemical bonds (disulfide bonds) which stabilize proteins as they fold.

When there is not enough oxidation in the ER, Watson says, proteins emerge unfolded, and cannot function. This, he proposes, causes the inflammation that harms the pancreas, sometimes causing type 2 diabetes. Hence, Watson suggests, exercise, which promotes oxidation, plausibly can have a beneficial effect on those with high blood sugar. Such benefit would be lessened if not abolished, he speculates, if such an individual consumed large quantities of antioxidants just as athletes who take large quantities of antioxidant supplements do not seem to benefit or benefit less from their exertions.

Watson has two take-home messages for his audience. "The first is that we sorely need to take a much more serious and thorough scientific look at the mechanisms through which exercise improves our health." Watson is planning a scientific meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory later this year which he hopes will launch a larger scientific effort.

There is a second message. "I am not a physician and I cannot offer advice about how people should treat their diabetes; I am advancing a novel idea about how type 2 diabetes can occur. But I also note that just about every doctor I've ever known tells every patient who is capable of doing so to exercise. I think exercise helps us produce healthy, functional proteins. But we really need to have some high quality research to demonstrate this."

Contact: Peter Tarr
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Related medicine news :

1. Medical Tourism: Uncharted Territory for Patients James Goldberg, Author of the American Medical Money Machine, Is Offering a New Consulting Service to Medical Patients Considering “Medical Tourism” Treatment
2. James George, MD: 2012 ASH Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology
3. Before Skyfall: 46 years of violence in James Bond movies
4. NAI Fellows Robert Langer, Leroy Hood and Member James Wynne receive US National Medals
5. Nobel laureate James Watson publishes novel hypothesis on curing late-stage cancers
6. Driving While Drowsy in Buffalo: Lawyer James E. Morris Urges Motorists To Wake Up to the Facts
7. Dr. James Wanless on Tarot, Kathi Kennedi on Hypno-Reiki, Nina Rehzats & Teresa Figueroa on Quantum Healing, Suzy Prudden on Making Money on Dr. Carol Francis Radio Show
8. Eldon James Highlights Eco-Friendly Tubing and Fitting Assemblies at MedTec Europe
9. A-lign Senior Consultant James McAllister Receives QSA Certification
10. Complete Currency Trader: Review Of James Edward's Advanced Forex Trading Course Released
11. Brain researcher James Poulet receives the 2013 Paul Ehrlich Prize for Young Researchers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... to discuss bioavailability and the need to integrate dose form selection in early ... with OBN, the membership organization supporting and bringing together the UK’s emerging life ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Aliso Viejo, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 26, ... ... X users a new set of retro-fused, self-animating trailer titles with ProTrailer: Vintage. ... custom style options. These classically-influenced trailer titles work with any font, giving users ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... As part of a ... ™ attracts volunteers together who want to combine talents and resources to help ... in the process. The non-profit launched its first major fundraiser on November 6, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... MN (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... launched offering factory direct sauna parts and accessories. , Sauna accessories help ... of the bather’s style and personality. From basic styles for the purist looking ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... For the first time, Vitalalert is donating ... Beat ” campaign. The partnership between the two groups began in 2014 with Vitalalert ... cause. , MAP International was founded in 1954 and is an international Christian-based health ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 Un nuevo ... Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado.   --> ... terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer avanzado. ... la inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para ... Research . --> Clinical Cancer Research . ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 --> ... to use SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI ... metastases, and has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in ... hospital. Using SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast ... after the patient has left, thus making it possible to ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: