Endocrinology unit of a hospital, Savoie, France. Diabetic patients are hospitalized for a week to undergo an assessment, evolution of the diabetes, dietary habits and therapeutic education. A nurse teaches a patient who had type 1 diabetes how to use an Omnipo, an insulin pump without tubing, managed with an electronic control unit. (Photo by: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

For most of medical history, diabetes has been divided into two subgroups—Type 1 and Type 2—but according to new research, that may have been incorrect all along.

A new Scandinavian study, recently published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, suggests diabetes could actually be five different, genetically distinct diseases, with potentially different treatments for each.

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[DIGEST: Diabetes Community, PBS, New Scientist, IFLS]

Researchers were effectively able to reverse the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in mice through the administration of a daily oral drug—with no ill side effects. This is the first time that a treatment has been able to “cure” type 2 diabetes. The research appears in the journal Nature.

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[DIGEST: Brainy, IFLS, XPrize, CDC, eMedicine, WebMD, FinalFrontier]

LeVar Burton (Star Trek: The Next Generation's Geordi La Forge): "I'm enormously proud of the fact that Star Trek has really not just sparked an interest, but encouraged, a few generations of people to go into the sciences."

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New research published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine found that scientists were paid by the sugar industry in the 1960s and 70s to downplay sugar’s (sucrose) health risks. Research fellow Cristi Kearns, of University of California, San Francisco, reviewed more than 1,500 internal documents, memos, reports and studies commissioned in the 1960s by the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), now the Sugar Association.

The documents reveal that the SRF paid three Harvard scientists tens of thousands of dollars to publish a review of sugar, fat and heart research in 1965 in the New England Journal of Medicine, with hand-picked studies that minimized the link between sugar and heart health, and vilified saturated fat and cholesterol.

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Type 1 diabetic Tamara Khachatoorian, 26, injects herself with insulin at the J.W.C.H. safety-net clinic in the center of skid row in downtown Los Angeles, July 30, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

[DIGEST: Business Insider, RT]

Diabetes affects more than 29.1 million Americans nationwide, but only three companies make insulin worldwide. Steep price hikes in recent decades have prompted accusations of price gouging. According to Dr. Mayer Davidson, a professor of medicine at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles who has monitored insulin costs, the price of insulin now "borders on the unbelievable." Dr. Davidson noted that in 2001, the wholesale price of a monthly supply of highly concentrated insulin was $45. That same amount now costs $1,447. These observations mirror the results of a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that "the mean price of insulin increased from $4.34/mL in 2002 to $12.92/mL in 2013—a 200% increase.

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[DIGEST: BBC, Science Daily, Diabetes, AlphaGalileo]

Scientists have identified a previously unknown molecule that attacks the immune system in people with Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the body’s immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin. (Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with lifestyle factors, impairs the body’s ability to use insulin properly.) This “missing piece” of the diabetes puzzle could help researchers develop treatments to slow or even stop the progression of the disease, and assist in determining people at risk for developing diabetes and prevent its development.

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A Pittsburgh University team recently conducted a study in an attempt to lower the risk of cancer by observing various eating habits. The focus was particularly on African Americans, given that population's historically high rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. (The article notes that heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are among the top 10 leading causes of death for African Americans, who are 1.8 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and 1.4 times more likely to be obese than Latinos and whites.)

Because the typical African American diet (sometimes referred to as "soul food") is associated with meat consumption and foods high in sugar, salt and fat, the team looked to a more traditionally African diet which consists of mostly vegetables, beans and cornmeal and no meat as a contrast. Think Progress reported what actually happened when 20 African Americans and 20 South Africans swapped meal plans, with some eye-opening results.

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