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New MRI Technique Can Detect Diabetes

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the image-in-the-possibilities dept.

Biotech 183

MonkeyBoy writes "Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Massachusetts General Hospital have unveiled a new magnetic nanoparticle based magnetic resonance imaging technique that can detect diabetes even before clinical symptoms. In mice they were able to take non-invasive images of pancreatic inflammation and its reversal for type 1 diabetes. Full article is available as a PDF from Pubmedcentral. Will we see rapid translation of these pre-clinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease? This would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy. As an added bonus it looks like the analysis was done on a Linux box too."

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One word for this: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368560)

Sweet!

Why not? (4, Funny)

SilentReallySilentUs (908879) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368572)

Sure.. MRI should be able to scare away diabetes with the ridiculous sounds it makes..Gosh why did no one think of this before?

Re:Why not? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368637)

That's about what I was thinking, as a diabetic myself. However, if you can couple it with Dr. Faustman's work on dealing with Type 1 diabetes by altering the auto-immune response that kills insulin producing cells, it's a useful diagnostic tool that doesn't require slaughtering your mice to get enough tissue to do a real count for beta cells.

But it's absolutely useless for the 95% of diabetics who have Type 2 diabetes, which involves a resistance to insulance rather than a complete destruction of the insulin producing cells. And the MRI technique is fairly useless clinically, since MRI's are hideouosly expensive and cost many times what a C-peptide test costs, which also shows early onset of Type 1.

Re:Why not? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369433)

It's getting better all the time for diabetes research.

Type 2 diabetes may be helped by some recent research [alertnet.org] announced in July showing a link between insulin resistance and a protein called retinol binding protein 4.

Manipulating levels of this protein in mouse models appeared to alter levels of insulin resistance and provides a new avenue for drug therapy. So even if this MRI study isn't clinically useful at the moment, there are other promising advances that suggest that both type-1 and type-2 will be even more treatable soon :)

Before I experience symptoms (4, Funny)

GXFragger (758649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368577)

Yay! Now they can detect my Mountain Dew drinking habits and force me to go cold turkey even when I'm still in denial!

Re:Before I experience symptoms (2, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368654)

No, they'll just force you to drink Diet Dew.

Re:Before I experience symptoms (2, Funny)

GXFragger (758649) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368829)

Ah, the horror! *runs*

Re:Before I experience symptoms (1)

eyegone (644831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368941)


I once had a coworker who drank caffeine-free Mountain Dew all the time. How bizarre is that?

Re:Before I experience symptoms (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368985)

No worse and no better than caffene-free Diet Coke. They're both abominations.

Holy Cow, Man! (0, Troll)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368580)

As an added bonus it looks like the analysis was done on a Linux box too.

Now as I understand it, the emphasis on Linux is because it is secure, and free. Therefore, wow, nobody will know you have diabetes, and wow, the doctors will make a larger profit.

useless!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368582)

This doesn't belong on Slashdot.

This is even more useless than any of that Star Wars crap.

Re:useless!!! (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368614)

This doesn't belong on Slashdot.

Of course it does. Given the sedentary lifestyle of many Slashdotters, it concerns them most directly.

Re:useless!!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368641)

Erm, they're talking about detecting TYPE I diabetes. Not caused by a sedentary lifestyle, but an autoimmune disease.

Re:useless!!! (2, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368678)

Type II isn't caused by a sedintary lifestyle either. I was living an active life, getting lots of exercise when I developed it. I would regularly go out to a mall to walk, not caring that I didn't buy anything, just for the exercise, and I kept that up for the first several years after I was diagnosed. I'm not as active now, but that's because my health isn't good enough right now, and I miss the exercise.

Re:useless!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368775)

"Walking around the mall" hardly counts as a healthy lifestyle, sorry.

Your web page confirmed my suspicions that you're an ugly fatass. Most likely a lonely one, too. Never felt the touch of a woman, I'm guessing?

Re:useless!!! (2, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368831)

The way I do it, it does. I go around every level, not stopping to rest if I can help it, and quickly. Also, at that time I was working up two flights. At fifty, I'd go up and down the stairs and watch kids half my age take the elevator and not get there any quicker. As far as the ad homenem comments at the end, they reflect more on you than on me, and show why you're posting as AC. Never did the word "coward" fit so well.

Re:useless!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368857)

OMG!!!

You know a big word! You even put it in italics to make it stand out! You must be proud of yourself.

I hope your Kindergarten teacher gives you a smiley face!

lol @ self important douchebags who think they know the first thing about personal fitness and then pat themselves on the back when someone proves them wrong

Re:useless!!! (2, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368913)

I know I shouldn't feed the troll, but I will say that my doctor considered me to be in good health and getting enough exercise. That's because the mall-walking was only one aspect. I love to walk and never drive anyplace if it's within my walking distance. For me, if it's less than about two miles one way, it's close enough to walk. How far are you willing to walk? Fifty feet?

Linux box (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368586)

This once again proves that the OS is unimportant, and only the application matters. Who cares what OS was used to run the program that allowed this development? Certainly not the patients that benefit from it.

http://www.residentcynic.net/ [residentcynic.net]

Re:Linux box (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368736)

Yeah really.

The MRI system could have run just about any other OS. What difference would it have made if it was a BSD system or a SCO (groan) system? What about OS X? (Though you wouldn't hear the end of the fanboy propaganda on that one).

This isn't about scaling a giant application across 9 thousand processors to deliver record performance.

Re:Linux box (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368948)

My thoughts exactly. After a point it gets ridiculous, I can understand it on performance-related articles but in an article that says "Scientists cured cancer, announced on a page on a Linux webserver", well, that's just silly.

Re:Linux box (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369124)

It kind of reminds me how "MTV News" back in the day would report on a massive hurricane in the South Pacific, and follow up with how it's expected to impact Whitesnake's tour plans.

With all you fatties eating your weight in sugar (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368588)

This is a good thing.

MRIs gone wild (5, Insightful)

sigmaseven (906671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368597)

That's fantastic, but it's going to take a lot of persuasion to get me to go near an MRI willingly after seeing its effect on nearby hospital equipment [simplyphysics.com] . You're only as safe as the stupidest person in the room.

Re:MRIs gone wild (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368667)

One place I worked, the MRI was placed in the basement, just below the main server room.
Predictably hilarious consequences happened.
Hospital management. Gotta love 'em.

Re:MRIs gone wild (2, Interesting)

JourneyExpertApe (906162) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369141)

I had an MRI a few years ago, and I almost had something like this happen. I was wearing a thin stainless steel neclace with a small steel pendant, which I had forgotten to take off. Fortunately, the technician saw it before I went in the tube. When I handed it to her, it was hanging at a 45 degree angle even though it was about three feet from the foot of the tube. I wonder what would have happened if I had gone into the tube wearing it.

Re:MRIs gone wild (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369295)

Dunno, how hard is it to reattach a head?

Open Source Medicine? (4, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368612)

Just reading the summary, it says the box might run on Linux?

This is a good thing, now if only the pharmaceutical companies would make alot of their stuff open to the public, maybe we'd all not suffer nearly as badly due to our wallets not being fat enough.

Re:Open Source Medicine? (4, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368639)

This is a good thing, now if only the pharmaceutical companies would make alot of their stuff open to the public, maybe we'd all not suffer nearly as badly due to our wallets not being fat enough.

Methink you're talking bollocks for the sake of plugging "open source" somewhere...

What "stuff" is it that pharmaceutical companies need to "open to the public"?

New medicines must be fully disclosed when they undergo FDA approval, and they always end up completely open because they're patented, and a patent describe the invention/innovation completely. If you don't believe me, ask yourself how it is that countries like India or Brazil manage to copy the very latest in AIDS therapies.

The reason you pay dearly for medicines that haven't fallen in the public domain is because yoy purchase them from the patent holders, which hold a temporary monopoly on said medicines, and therefore make you pay whatever the hell they want, to recoup their development costs and to pay for their villas in Switzerland.

In short, it's nothing to do with being open, and all to do with patents. Wrong Slashdot meme there bubba...

Re:Open Source Medicine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368730)

Methink you're talking bollocks for the sake of plugging "open source" somewhere...

Either that or he is falling into the old fallacy that just because you use open source you are obligated to become open source yourself.

But, somehow I do not think that MRI software is going to be compiled into the Linux kernel...

Re:Open Source Medicine? (2, Funny)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368799)

But, somehow I do not think that MRI software is going to be compiled into the Linux kernel...

Device Drivers > Input > Input Device Support > (Enable) Miscellaneous devices > Magnetic Resonance Imaging

CONFIG_INPUT_MRI

Say Y here if you want to use your Philips branded MRI to be used for controlling your PC and visa versa. This module works with the Achieva 3.0T and Achieva 1.5T.

To compile this driver as a module, choose M here: the module will be called mri.

Re:Open Source Medicine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369115)

To compile this driver as a module, choose M here: the module will be called mri.

Well, there is no problem then. Linux kernel modules receive an explicit exemption from the GPL.

Re:Open Source Medicine? (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368779)

In short, it's nothing to do with being open, and all to do with patents. Wrong Slashdot meme there bubba...

I disagree and I won't back up my claim with proof, but here's my point any way.

It's not the final product that needs to be more open, it is the research for the hundreds of products that never make it to a final shipping product. With traditional university-style research it is 'publish-or-perish' which, while increasing the noise level, tends to get the useful info out to others who can make better use of it. With corporate-style research it is "publish-and-perish" because the management mind-set is that every little scrap of information is "intellectual property" and so must be horded like real property. Which causes useful information to be shit-canned because the right people never get a chance to see it.

As good little slashbots we all know that the economics governing real property versus intellecutal pseudo-property are vastly different. But Those In Charge haven't figured it out yet, and for the most part, have a vested interest in NOT figuring that out. They don't care about anyone else making money, not even their own employees, just so long as THEY make a ton of bucks.

Re:Open Source Medicine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368826)

I... what?

Do you have actually any conception of what you are saying, or what it is like in medical research areas, or are you just spewing assumptions based on your guesses as to things in corporations must work?

Not to say that the current state of the medical research system, corporate or public, is a good thing, but your criticism of it doesn't seem particularly attached to reality. Among other things, making the distinction between university-style and corporate-style research is awfully wierd considering how much university medical research is funded and owned by corporations...

Re:Open Source Medicine? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369045)

As someone who has worked in and near numerous corporate and university research groups I probably have a faint idea of how these things work. As an AC, you clearly don't. Want to prove me wrong? Then prove it with citations.

Re:Open Source Medicine? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368930)

It's medicine. I don't care if it runs on linux, windows, or monkeys with typewriters. The price of medicine is not related to the OS under the hood. The importance of medicine is not related to the OS under the hood. The availablilty of medicine is not related to the OS under the hood. Something like an MRI scanner costs so much that the OS needed to run a piece of analysis is negligible.

Screw linux. Hoorah for those who can be helped.

Linux! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368619)

Linux!

All I know is... (4, Informative)

yellowbkpk (890493) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368623)

I was just at a meeting at a meeting at a major healthcare company, and number two on the list of priorities for the next 3 years was diabetes detection/prevention. The budget was in the billions.

These guys will be making a LOT of money.

Re:All I know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368657)

You can also check TM Bioscience (http://www.tmbioscience.com/ [tmbioscience.com] they making tests for genetic mutations or SNPs related to coagulation, cystic fibrosis, toxicology and other debilitating genetic disorders. The lead product from Tm Bioscience is the Tm100 Universal Array, a microarray or biochip "operating system" capable of combining any set of 100 single DNA tests and performing them simultaneously in a single reaction. The Tm100 universal microarray is accurate, fast, flexible, economical and suitable as an industry standard.

Re:All I know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368663)

I was just at a meeting at a meeting at a major healthcare company, and number two on the list of priorities for the next 3 years was diabetes detection/prevention. The budget was in the billions.

Wow, it's so important they had sub-meetings to discuss the issue...

Re:All I know is... (2, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368767)

I had a friend who used to research at Mass general hospital years ago. The problem is not the budget. Problem was always "people resources".

MA has one of the highest turn over rates for doctors in the country. Doctors make the same nationwide, they prefer not living in a state with inflated real estate prices and top-10 worst traffic and winters. The influx of student doctors from local colleges overwhelm these hospitals. Which forces any veteran doctor... a teacher. That's 2 jobs in 1.

Type 1/Type 2 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369342)

Type 2 diabetes is/will be a huge issue in health care for the foreseeable future. Type 2 is also known as Adult onset diabetes and is the one related to obesity and all. It is almost 20 times more prevalent than Type 1 diabetes. But this test only works with Type 1 diabetes(where basically, the body's immune system decides the pancreas is a foreign object and doesn't belong, so attacks it, destroying the insulin producing cells), detecting the early signs of trouble in the pancreas. I'm really not sure there's much money at all for these folks because I can't see them screening every child in the US every few years just on the off chance they might become diabetic. And for those patients who start showing some of the symptoms, a simple fasting blood sugar check is easier and cheaper to do.

Fullfilling MRI's promise (sort of) (4, Interesting)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368638)

The original push for MRI (from Damadian) was to locate cancers - the main benefit is eliminating a lot of exploratory surgeries. In this case it eliminates the need for biopsies (which, from TFA, are rarely performed due to the risk). Very nice work.

This is an interesting application of magneto-immunoassay - using the change in magnetic properties to determine if there has been a reaction.

why not do something to stop it? (0, Offtopic)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368652)

Don't be a Darwin awardee, do something smart, and cheap, to save yourself lots of misery, and save us (taxpayers) lots of unnecessary bills for misdirected medicine. Check these sites, how to prevent and reverse it: http://doctoryourself.com/diabetes.html [doctoryourself.com] http://www.mercola.com/2002/apr/10/diabetes.htm [mercola.com] Cheap blood glucose tests at the discount stores, say $10-15 for the digital meter, $20-40 for the strips. MRI for diabetes - a gold hammer for slicing the fat out of milk... no wonder we are going broke.

Re:why not do something to stop it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368763)

That first link is complete quackery. There is NO TREATMENT for Type I diabetes except insulin, PERIOD. I'm a diabetic, I know this.

Re:why not do something to stop it? (3, Funny)

Werkhaus (549466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368844)

That first link is complete quackery. There is NO TREATMENT for Type I diabetes except insulin, PERIOD. I'm a diabetic, I know this.

There's plenty of treatments for Type I diabetes, providing you don't mind ketoacidosis, hyperglycemia, impotence, blindness and all the other fun side-effects.

Mind you, anyone that takes health advice from /. deserves everything that happens to them.

Not quackery, science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368973)

Actually the treatment described in the paper (the use of non-mitogenic anti-CD3) is showing some remarkable results in clinical trials. There was even a recent report [nih.gov] in the New England Journal of Medicine. Although it isn't a cure for everyone, it is a start. I think that was the point of this article about the MRI technique. It lets them actually see the inflammation so that it will be easier to test new therapies.

There are two proven cures for type 1 diabetes (1)

Jamesday (794888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369118)

Both islet cell and pancreas transplants work to cure type 1 diabetes. They aren't viable for type 1s in general at present because of the great imbalance between the numbers of diabetics and donors but they are effective treatments. They may never be viable for most - certainly pancreas transplants won't be.

Re:There are two proven cures for type 1 diabetes (1)

rcolquhoun (659601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369393)


Both islet cell and pancreas transplants work to cure type 1 diabetes. They aren't viable for type 1s in general at present because of the great imbalance between the numbers of diabetics and donors but they are effective treatments. They may never be viable for most - certainly pancreas transplants won't be.


Unless i am out of date the transplants both require use of anti-rejection drugs. I think these are quite expensive, have side effects and must be taken for the rest of your life.

So assuming for a second both treatements are financially the same you have a choice of taking insulin for rest of your life + side effects or having serious operation and anti-rejection drugs for rest of life + side effects.

Diabetes often causes kidney failure(excess sugar causes neurorapthy) as they have opened you up for a kidney transplant often throwing in a pancreas as well is not a bad idea as you will now have to take the anti rejection drugs anyway for your new kidneys.

  - Robert

Re:why not do something to stop it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368810)

Another good reason to not take medical advice from Slashdot. They're talking about type 1, not type 2. Type 1 is caused by the immune system. It's closer to MS than it is to type 2. As a parent of a type 1 diabetic, it's hard to not take the misinformation too seriously when I see that my 5 year old faces a future of seizures (from too low blood sugar) or blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and painful neuropathies (from high blood sugar). I know you're just passing on your wisdom, but it would be nice if you had bothered to know what you were talking about first.

And about saving the taxpayers money, well they are close to a cure for type 1, but since it's underfunded and the stem cell issues it will take far longer than it should. So, you're paying for type 1 treatment right now -- I have to stab my boy's fingers about 15 times a day - those strips are a buck each. Not to mention the 6K pump, hundreds of dollars in consumables for the pump every month, and the much more likely frequent hospital visits.

So, I say pay now or pay later. For the kids with type 1, they'd appreciate it as a taxpayer if you'd invest a little now to save a lot of money for later.

Re:why not do something to stop it? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368872)

As a Type II, you really have my sympathy! I'm lucky, as I only have to test about twice a week, and the strips from the VA are a bit less costly. I'm glad you're doing what it takes to keep your child alive and healthy; since I've been out of work the last two years, I've woken up three different times in the ER, once with a broken arm. One of the few good things about having it diagnosed that early is that there's a good chance that the child won't feel deprived simply because he won't remember it being any different. (Kids get used to things like that easier than we do, you know.)

I spent several years as the "seeing eye person" for a Type I who'd not taken care of himself and saw what it could do. Maybe that's why I'm so rigid on controling my blood sugar that it tends to get too low.

Re:why not do something to stop it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369221)

Thanks a lot for your thoughts and kind words. Good luck with your ongoing management! I have a TON of respect for people who have managed their disease for years and years...

I feel like (and hope) in the next 5-15 years the treatment for both type 1s and 2s will improve greatly or they'll have some form of a true cure.

Re:why not do something to stop it? (2, Insightful)

rcolquhoun (659601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369074)

Check these sites, how to prevent and reverse it The above are almost laughable, laughable if some people, too many people didnt actually believe it. Diabetes is not a conspiracy to sell drugs, just a really bad disease. Think about it just for a second, insurance companies pay out millions every year in treating the symptoms of diabetes, you think they are not desparate for a cure? I am a type 1 diabetic have been for 25+ years since i was 3 years old. For my own education i have spent countless hours finding out about the disease. Treatmented with vitamins, i mean really? Vitamins are an order of magnitude or more cheaper than insulins, if it worked you would think it would be a fairly common treatment by now.... - Robert

Re:why not do something to stop it? (0, Redundant)

johnnyb (4816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369451)

Kind of ironically amusing to be talking about the Darwin awards in the context of the invention of a 6-day young-earth creationist.

Get The Facts (5, Informative)

pin_gween (870994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368670)

I am posting instead of replying b/c there are already several separate posts that have it wrong. Gasp and shock, I know.

Type I diabetes [wikipedia.org] is NOT associated with diet.

This article refers to an autoimmune disease, not a lifestyle induced one.

Re:Get The Facts (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368768)

However, the condition can be precipitated by lifestyle choices in those who are predisposed to the disease.

That's a fact, jack.

The size is still flawed (0, Offtopic)

T_C_Kelly (892066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368702)

Anyone who has been cramed into one of those MRI "tubes" know that the size and amount of time you need to stay in it, are what needs to be worked on. I've been in two MRI machines and it is a horrible feeling!

Re:The size is still flawed (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368881)

I've been through it a few times, and didn't mind it a bit. Of course, I'm not at all claustrophobic. Are you, by any chance? If so, I can imagine how bad it would be, and sympathise with you.

Re:The size is still flawed (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369102)

I don't know about the parent poster, but for me it isn't the claustrophobia - it's the neckaches/backaches from holding position for an hour, and the headaches from the scanner noise (even with earplugs in, an hour's worth of scanning gets to be unpleasant.)

Problem partially solved! (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369126)

One of the many Open MRI [paducahmri.com] systems.

PubMed abstract (4, Informative)

whovian (107062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368713)

J Clin Invest. 2005 Aug 18; [Epub ahead of print] Related Articles, Links

        Noninvasive imaging of pancreatic inflammation and its reversal in type 1 diabetes.
Turvey SE, Swart E, Denis MC, Mahmood U, Benoist C, Weissleder R, Mathis D.

        Section on Immunology and Immunogenetics, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

        A major stumbling block for research on and treatment of type 1 diabetes is the inability to directly, but noninvasively, visualize the lymphocytic/inflammatory lesions in the pancreatic islets. One potential approach to surmounting this impediment is to exploit MRI of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) to visualize changes in the microvasculature that invariably accompany inflammation. MNP-MRI did indeed detect vascular leakage in association with insulitis in murine models of type 1 diabetes, permitting noninvasive visualization of the inflammatory lesions in vivo in real time. We demonstrate, in proof-of-principle experiments, that this strategy allows one to predict, within 3 days of completing treatment with an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody, which NOD mice with recent-onset diabetes are responding to therapy and may eventually be cured. Importantly, an essentially identical MNP-MRI strategy has previously been used with great success to image lymph node metastases in prostate cancer patients. This success strongly argues for rapid translation of these preclinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease; this would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy.

Why fucking bother (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368717)

why not just let natural selection take its course?

Go ahead, fucking flame away fucktards.

MRI (4, Interesting)

mchawi (468120) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368735)

I have heard from several people that have had an MRI that (a) it is almost impossible to get scheduled in any reasonable timeframe for one and (b) they are 'incredibly expensive'.

For something like diabetes that can be diagnosed in other ways, I don't see a normal doctor or health insurance company prescribing an MRI. Health care is one of the areas where capitalism is really the wrong motivation (because our long term health is not their concern - just short term costs).

I guess I'm just cynical, but I see some of these great advances being almost useless to the majority of people because they simply can't afford it or don't even have healthcare.

I keep hoping for things to change though :)

Re:MRI (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368774)

I have heard from several people that have had an MRI that (a) it is almost impossible to get scheduled in any reasonable timeframe for one and (b) they are 'incredibly expensive'.

Scheduling is not where I live, but they are spendy. But MRIs are considered a "cash cow" for most hospitals and facilities that have this expensive equipment. Health care is in fact a business.

Re:MRI (0)

Canadian_Daemon (642176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368864)

Glad to live in canada....

Re:MRI (2, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368896)

Health care is one of the areas where capitalism is really the wrong motivation (because our long term health is not their concern - just short term costs).

A friend's mother was in England, where capitalism isn't an issue in health care, and had a sudden problem with her heart. The ER doctor told her that when she got home, she should get on the waiting list for a bypass. She just gave him a funny look. When she got home, she talked to her regular MD, and he scheduled her for it within a week. Of course, here in the capitalist Amerika, there isn't any such thing as a waiting list for bypass surgery if you have insurance. You just get it done.

Re:MRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368935)

Wow, you said something negative about socialized health care. Boy, are you going to get flamed.

Keep up the good work. :-)

Re:MRI (4, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369054)

Sure, if you have insurance. And if you don't, you're fucked. And if everyone had insurance... then there would be waiting lists.

Re:MRI (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369214)

I don't need to pay no steenking insurance company; I have VA benefits.

Medicine (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369316)

Personally, I dislike the socialistic solution to the problem, but also the capitalistic/insurance solution.

Now in general, I favor small government, but regulation is necessary sometimes (especially with regard to the physical health of the citizens). Frankly, medical care is too expensive. And I'm not just trolling, it really is. It's a scam that starts at the med schools and continues on to the hospitals and the medical equipment producers.

Now, there is need for reliable medical equipment, properly maintained hospitals, and skilled doctors, but that expense has been greatly exaggerated and we're paying too much for it.

And as someone who's worked repairing ambulances and medical equipment, I can't say they're particularly reliable or well maintained. Operating costs were constantly slashed, yet the administrators pay was ever increasing. Of course the cost to visit said hospital never decreased.

My father teaches at a medical university, so I've visited the place occasionally. (I have no interest in being a doctor, but it's fun to sit in on classes. My major was Chemistry, so it is pretty interesting.) It's a nice school, but I fail to see why it carries a $200k price tag. I suppose it's only because you'll graduate to make big money. (Don't even get me into some of the people who go to these schools. They make it quite clear that a passion for medicine or helping people is not their driving interest!)

Anyway, I'll bring this rambling rant to an end: Medicine is about the cash first. If people happen to get helped along the way, then great. Government regulation reining in medical costs to more reasonable levels would solve a great deal of these problems.

Re:MRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369341)

Sure, if you have insurance. And if you don't, you're fucked. And if everyone had insurance... then there would be waiting lists.

It's easy to assert that, but if you think it through you'll realize that's not the case (I know, you want it to be true because you don't want to believe it).

The US spends the most on health care because we have the most health care in the world. Maybe not always the best, but the most. As the grandparent post points out, if I need a major medical procedure done, I can have it done in days instead of waiting weeks or months (or even years) in England or Canada.

The upside is that the more people who have insurance, the more hospitals and medical centers there'll be. As long as it's paid for, supply will raise to meet demand.

Of course the downside is it sucks if you don't have insurance.

Under socialized health care, it's just another government agency, and it must compete with every other government agency for tax dollars. And they'll always try to cut corners to save a few dollars. Eliminate hospital beds, reduce access to expensive procedures. And who are you to complain, it's free, you're not paying for it so get in line and wait your turn. (And you can damn well bet the politicians and their friends don't have to wait in line.)

Re:MRI (1)

Lilkeeney (131454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369375)

With the increase of interventional cardiologist, Cardiac Caths, drug eluding stents, and other technology, cardiologist are doing "percutaneous CABGs" and fewer and fewer people need a bypass now. Cardiac surgeons are hungry for business. The ones in my area do Botox and other things on the side to suplement their income.

Re:MRI (5, Interesting)

rcolquhoun (659601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368928)


I have heard from several people that have had an MRI that (a) it is almost impossible to get scheduled in any reasonable timeframe for one and (b) they are 'incredibly expensive'.


So is diabetes.

I am a type 1 diabetic and it costs thousands perhaps 10's of thousands per year to manage(if you include side effects, lost opportunities etc). This will be the case for the rest of my life(hopefully 50+ years, although diabetes has a major effect in shortening it).

If it can be prevented by a series of MRI's + drugs or any other treatment for that matter that costs less than say $100k if will be economic for most pre-type 1 patients(ie children) to undertake.

  - Robert

Re:MRI (1)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369060)

Health care is one of the areas where capitalism is really the wrong motivation (because our long term health is not their concern - just short term costs).

This is not entirely true, after all, from their perspective, the best outcome is a person who lives long (pays premiums) but doesn't spend all that much money while they are living. That requires a certain amount of prevention. (And of course, dies in their sleep. 1/3rd of health costs in the US (or, alternatively, 4% of GNP) is spent on the last 60 days of life...which I consider a problem, but with no easy solution. Another way of looking at that--2 hours of your 40 hour work week are spent putting money away toward the time that you're on your deathbed, but the health insurance system is throwing everything at you to keep you living. That certainly is a short term decision.)

At any rate, oddly, the US health system is actually pretty uncapitalistic. One article [opinionjournal.com] talks about the fact that a family in Kansas City MO could have health insurance for $172/month but the same family would pay $800 in New York State and $1200 in Jersey. The failure here is that NY and NJ have a massive amount of requirements that insurance companies have to pay for, and the result is that a lot of people are priced out of the market. (The article discusses a possible solution.)

In other countries of the world, it's not unusual to see clinics talk about the cost of certain procedures. Let's say you don't have insurance, and you need an MRI. I would not hesitate to tell you to fly to another country and have it done there. For instance, this clinic [jankharia.com] in Bombay can get you an MRI for 3500-13500 Rupees (about $75-$300.) Counting in airfare and a hotel stay, you're probably spending just 1/3rd of the cost of an MRI in the states. (Though I dont know the cost of an MRI in the states.)

As a result of this, I've been very excited about putting together a business which would charter a flight down to a country, arrange MRIs, cat scans, X-rays, dental surgery...what have you, in a much cheaper country, and fly them back. If I personally don't do that, I'm sure someone else will.

Re:MRI (1)

q2k (67077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369198)

Maybe if you live in Canada or some other country where healthcare is rationed by the government. I needed an MRI last year and it was scheduled 2 or 3 days later. Who pays for it may be an issue, but there is no shortage of MRI machines in the US. It's that capitalism thing. Hospitals like buying equipment that can generate lucrative cash flows into the forseeable future.

Re:MRI (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369354)

It's always beneficial to have additional diagnostic techniques that use existing equipment, rather than needing special equipment for everything. If doctors prescribe more MRIs, hospitals will buy more machines, and companies will invest money in making them less expensive to buy and run.

MRI is also a major research technique, and there's a reasonable chance that finding a way of seeing something on an MRI will lead to cheaper ways to screen for it. This research gives us a better idea of the initial effects of the disease, so we have a better idea of what tests to develop.

Re:MRI (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369394)

I cannot understand why an MRI is so expensive other than the fact that it must suck some massive current to get the fields up to par.

Just within 1.5 miles of me there are at least 5 MRI machines at various locations. So its not exactly a situation where I'd have to wait for one should I desire.

I think part of the reason we have so many is because of Brown Medical School. The folks there do some very interesting fMRI stuff.

Re:MRI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369458)

Dumb ass...most MRI units use very little electricity. The smaller field strenghts are often permanent magenets, and the majority of the rest are superconductors, so they use liquie helium to keep the thing freezing ass cold so it draws very little current to maintain the field.

In the future, please refrain from commenting unless you have a freaking clue.

Yay for medicine! (2, Insightful)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368749)

This is quite the breakthrough, and these things seem to happen out of technology we already have but just haven't used it in the right way. Personally, I'd settle for a cure for cancer being found on a Windows box if it meant saving lives. :(

Dystopia (4, Insightful)

philovivero (321158) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368758)

Will we see rapid translation of these pre-clinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease? This would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy.


Perhaps this wonderful new technology will be used by insurance companies to deny your child insurance before the diabetes could possibly cut into their profit margins?

Sorry. There should be a "cynic" moderation.

Re:Dystopia (3, Interesting)

philovivero (321158) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368797)

Hmm. It does occur to me that post could be seen as flamebait. Allow me to elaborate.

My wife got pregnant and got what apparently is a common problem: diabetes. She controlled it using exercise and diet. Then, after she gave birth the diabetes does what it does when it's pregnancy diabetes: it went away.

Then, about a year later, I changed jobs and decided I wanted to get insurance for her independent of the job, because their insurance was expensive. We answered all the questions on their questionnaire, including the requisite "diabetes" question. We then filled out in the "explanation for 'yes' answers" section a note about how the diabetes was minor and temporary.

They categorically denied to insure her in any way, shape, or form. No "You are qualified for our high-risk" plan or anything, just: "You are uninsurable by us (go to hell)."

So actually we kind of live in the dystopia I described. When I read this story, I wonder to myself "Could this tendency toward diabetes that she got have been detected, and if so, would she have been preemptively cured, or preemptively disallowed from being insured?"

Think about it.

Insurance for diabetics (1)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13368909)

Is impossible to get independently. But there are laws (at least in the US) that say that you cannot be turned down for a group plan (ie, your employer's) because of your illness. It's pretty much the only way a diabetic can have insurance.

Re:Dystopia (2, Interesting)

martalli (818692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369453)

Gestational diabetes is absolutely a risk for later progression to type II diabetes mellitus. Before anyone gets compltely outraged, this is a known fact, and that's why the insurance company flatly refused her.

People want to believe that if they are doing all the right things, such as styaing slim, getting a reasonable amoutn of exercise, not smoking, and eating right, they shouldn't be turned down for insurance. Well, the fact is that the insurance company only wants completely healthy folks. Depending on your state laws, group policies may still have "riders". For instance, this gentleman's wife may have gotten group coverage, but no coverage for diabetes-related illness for one year.

This dystopian (great word, btw) world leads to a lack of health insurance coverage for many small business owners, at least until they can afford to pay for group coverage for their employees (just so they can get insurance for themselves).

More than once, I have wished for a system such as the UK, where health care is available simply for being British. I doubt it would be all fish and chips, but as a doc I see the broad variety of people without insurance, and the havoc it causes them.

FYI (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13368780)

MonkeyBoy writes "Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Massachusetts General Hospital have unveiled a new magnetic nanoparticle based magnetic resonance imaging technique that can detect diabetes even before clinical symptoms. In mice they were able to take non-invasive images of pancreatic inflammation and its reversal for type 1 diabetes. Full article is available as a PDF from Pubmedcentral. Will we see rapid translation of these pre-clinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease? This would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy. As an added bonus it looks like the analysis was done on a Linux box too."

MonkeyBoy writes "Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Massachusetts General Hospital have unveiled a new magnetic nanoparticle based magnetic resonance imaging technique that can detect diabetes even before clinical symptoms. In mice they were able to take non-invasive images of pancreatic inflammation and its reversal for type 1 diabetes. Full article is available as a PDF from Pubmedcentral. Will we see rapid translation of these pre-clinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease? This would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy. As an added bonus it looks like the analysis was done on a Linux box too."

MonkeyBoy writes "Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Massachusetts General Hospital have unveiled a new magnetic nanoparticle based magnetic resonance imaging technique that can detect diabetes even before clinical symptoms. In mice they were able to take non-invasive images of pancreatic inflammation and its reversal for type 1 diabetes. Full article is available as a PDF from Pubmedcentral. Will we see rapid translation of these pre-clinical observations to prediction and/or stratification of type 1 diabetes and treatment of individuals with the disease? This would provide a crucially needed early predictor of response to therapy. As an added bonus it looks like the analysis was done on a Linux box too."

Amiga Man (2, Funny)

Digital Pizza (855175) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369016)

As an added bonus it looks like the analysis was done on a Linux box too.

Back in college I had an Amiga 500 that I loved hacking on (dating myself here), but a guy I knew was not only really into the Amiga, he had to work it into practically every sentence. He'd raise his hand in Compsci classes and brag about how "My Amiga can do that better" and "That's so much easier on My Amiga". Even I grew sick of hearing the word "Amiga". He earned the derisive nickname "Amiga Man".

Apparently he's now "Linux Man"and works for Slashdot.

Re:Amiga Man (0, Offtopic)

martalli (818692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369114)

I'm sure that he's got his Amiga running debian....or maybe netbsd

Re:Amiga Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369120)

Maybe he was referring to his imaginary "female friend". :P

magnetic nanoparticles vs. gadolinium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369050)

Anyone know whether the magnetic nanoparticles mentioned in the article are a more general replacement for MRI contrast agents like gadolinium? Iron (even in nanoparticulate form) is probably going to be less toxic than obscure rare earth elements...

Re:magnetic nanoparticles vs. gadolinium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369077)

The magnetic nanoparticles are a superparamagnetic contrast agent. This means that they are a negative contrast agent, unlike gadolinium which is a positive contrast agent. At this point they are frequently used to measure different things, but new magnetic nanoparticles with different properties are being developed all the time. Right now there are nanoparticles to look for diabetes, lymphatic spread of cancer, and cancer in the liver. Of course, if you have an iron allergy, the iron nanoparticles might not be the best thing for you.

Extremely preminary data (4, Interesting)

martalli (818692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369089)

As a doctor, I had a few observations about this
stusdy. These researchers demonstrated that an
MRI can find evidence of diabetes in mice before
the development of clinical symptoms. How does
this relate to people?

1. Practical: Type I diabetes typically develops in
children, who usually must be sedated and
observed for an MRI. This could double the cost
of the MRI (typically $1-2k in US). Also, we
don't know how long these findings are present
before diabetes develops ... how often would
this need to be done?

2. The Incidence of type I diabetes is about
0.4% among people without relatives with
type I. First degree relatives have a 5-30%
risk... Certain genes predispose to type I
diabetes.... maybe this could be used in certain
people.

3. Since there is no such early diagnosis, we
don't really know who we might treat this
pre-type I state. Certainly we could make a
few reasonable guesses, but any benefit is
still in doubt until there are human trials.

I think this will definitely be more handy when
tricorders are perfected!

Re:Extremely preminary data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369178)

Clinical trial is currently ongoing at Joslin Diabetes Center.

Re:Extremely preminary data (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369286)

So, is diabetes a viral disease that is just incredibly hard to catch and with a disastrous ending?

Re:Extremely preminary data (5, Informative)

martalli (818692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369329)

Sometimes, a person's immune system might confuse some viral proteins with the proteins on the pancreatic beta cells (which make insulin). This leads to the immune system attacking the beta cells. Eventually no beta cells are left and a person requires insulin to replace their natural insulin production.

There is nolikely specific infection which causes diabetes. However, some viruses may be more likely to confuse the immune system. Also, your immune system's genetic makeup may predispose it to confusing the virus and the beta cells.

Insulin is required to move glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Without it, the bloodstream glucose level rises until glucose spills out into the urine. In fact, diabetes mellitus is Greek for "sweet urine". Unfortunately, diabetics are literally starving in a sea of food.

Re:Extremely preminary data (1)

rcolquhoun (659601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369347)

So, is diabetes a viral disease that is just incredibly hard to catch and with a disastrous ending?

Er maybe sortof.

From memory: Type 1 is an overreaction of the immune system destroying the bodies own cells(see also some kinds of arthritis). There is speculation(maybe more than speculation) that the overreaction is triggered by a particular virus or type of viruses. To get diabetes you need a certain type of immune system(ie genetic) and something to trigger it the right way(ie environment).

Type 2 is more common and a completely different disease(resistance to insulin in the body rather than absence of insulin).

  - Robert

Re:Extremely preminary data (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369459)

So, there may be two reasons why it runs in families: a. Genetics and b. The presence of the virus in the home/family group? If your sibling gets diabetes, is it already too late to run away to avoid exposure to the virus?

marker based diagnostics (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369095)

Lots of cool marker based diagnostic methods are possible. These methods basically take a non invasive assay and use it to predict whether you have a specific disease/phenotype. Microarrays, proteomics, and analysis of bodily fluids (urine, blood, saliva, etc) all have potential to create noninvasive diagnostics.

This creates more questions than it solves (4, Insightful)

rc5-ray (224544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369135)

(Disclaimer: I'm a primary care doctor in the USA. I have a few type I diabetics, and many type IIs.)

First, I think it's great that the researchers have demonstrated a potential way to identify pre-clinical type I diabetes. If these patients could be easily identified and the pathologic process halted or reversed, this would be one of the greatest feats ever accomplished in medicine.

However, this approach has several problems. Another poster has already mentioned that health insurance companies could start denying coverage to kids(and adults) who don't have diabetes, but might get it. If you're a health plan administrator, diabetes is a very, very expensive disease and you want to avoid these patients.

(Whether health insurance companies should even be in the business to make a profit is a topic for another debate. Short answer: It's absolutely wrong.)

More importantly, who do you screen with MRI? Do you screen every child at age 5 (or another pre-defined age)? Do you only screen them once? It's true that most type I patients are diagnosed by the early teens, but a significant portion develop the disease in their later teens or twenties. I have a 20 year old patient who was just diagnosed with type I after the birth of her first child. I also had a medical school classmate who was diagnosed while in his residency.

Once you've decided who you'll screen and at what age and interval, how do you pay for it? This cannot be ignored. An abdominal MRI can cost $1-3,000, and you often need to sedate patients because it's quite claustrophobic. If you were to screen every child only once, the cost would skyrocket into billions of dollars almost immediately.

Do you know how many times ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369165)

diabetes as been cured in mice? Detected in mice, etc?

They are REALLY good at inducing diabetes in mice and almost as good at reversing it.

However, they really haven't figure out how it happens in humans.

Well, they can induce ....

But can it detect Dupes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13369307)

Maybe if Cmdr Taco were under constant MRI, a script could detect when he was about to post a dupe.

Wrong subject (3, Funny)

waffffffle (740489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13369336)

The subject of this thread is not correct for the Slashdot audience. A more appropriate subject would be "Linux cures diabetes."
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