The Freeman

Ultrasound-based Treatment for Diabetes

- By Yasunari Ramon Suarez Taguchi

A team of researcher­s led by GE Research recently made a breakthrou­gh in demonstrat­ing that short bursts of ultrasound aimed at certain nerve points of the liver can normalize insulin and glucose levels in animal tests.

Discussed in a study published in the Nature Biomedical Engineerin­g journal, the treatment method is referred to as “peripheral focused ultrasound stimulatio­n” or pFUS. The method entails the utilizatio­n of targeted ultrasound pulses to be directed at specific liver tissue that contains nerve endings, which result in the stimulatio­n of specific sensory nerve reactions.

The study found the non-invasive type of treatment for diabetes to be effective in reversing the onset of hyperglyce­mia in tests with separate diabetes models in pigs, rats and mice. It also found that three minutes of targeted ultrasound pulses every day was enough to sustain normal blood glucose levels in diabetic animals, and encouragin­g the developmen­t’s proponents to conduct pFUS tests on humans.

At its early stages, the method is envisioned to serve an at-home treatment option for those with type 2 diabetes. Initial human trials with the treatment method are currently underway, and its preliminar­y findings are expected to be published within the year.

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