islamabad  - An effective new treatment for type 2 diabetes could be sitting in your fridge, according to the results of a new study. 

Researchers found that a compound found in broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables led to a significant improvement in fasting blood glucose levels among obese adults with type 2 diabetes. 

The condition arises when the body is unable to use the hormone insulin effectively, causing blood glucose levels to become too high. Unless blood glucose levels are controlled, type 2 diabetes can cause a number of severe complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, and kidney failure. 

While there are medications, such as metformin, that can help people with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood glucose levels, Axelsson and team note that some patients are unable to use them due to their severe side effects, which include kidney damage. 

Axelsson and colleagues created a genetic signature for type 2 diabetes, based on 50 genes associated with the condition. 

The researchers then applied this signature to public gene expression data. This allowed them to assess the effects of more than 3,800 compounds on gene expression changes in liver cells that are associated with type 2 diabetes. 

The team found that sulforaphane - a chemical compound present in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli sprouts, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and watercress - demonstrated the strongest effects. 

When applied to cultured liver cells, sulforaphane reduced the production of glucose. When the compound was administered to rats with type 2 diabetes, the chemical compound led to improvements in liver gene expression, shifting it to a healthier state. 

Next, the researchers tested broccoli sprout extract on 97 obese adults in a 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. All adults had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had poor control of their blood glucose levels. 

Compared with adults who did not consume the broccoli sprout extract, those who did consume the extract showed a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels. 

While further research is needed to confirm whether sulforaphane might benefit patients with type 2 diabetes, this study certainly shows promise. 

Axelsson and colleagues conclude that creating genetic signatures in order to analyze public gene expression data may be an effective way to identify compounds that could help to treat diabetes and other diseases. Meanwhile, a new research examines the effect of statins on the risk of developing this neurodegenerative disease. Statins are a type of drug commonly used to decrease ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the blood. Often prescribed to patients at risk of cardiovascular disease, statins improve the blood flow and restore the elasticity of the arteries 

But the evidence in support of this neuroprotective role has been inconsistent or has depended on animal models and cell cultures.  

Xuemei Huang, a professor of neurology at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA, and an author of the new study - describes another reason why the evidence of the neuroprotective role of statins has been inconclusive so far, 

“Higher cholesterol,” Prof Huang says, “the main indication to use statins has been related to lower occurrence of Parkinson’s disease. This made it hard to know if the statin[‘s] protective effect was due to the drug or pre-existing cholesterol status.” But the new research Prof Huang carried out with her colleagues accounts for this factor.  

Co-author Guodong Liu, an assistant professor of public health sciences, explains, “A diagnosis of hyperlipidemia, a marker of high cholesterol, was associated with lower Parkinson’s disease prevalence, consistent with prior research. We made sure to account for this factor in our analysis.” 

The study found that the use of statins correlated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. This effect was stronger at the beginning of the statin treatment, or more specifically, for statin use of under 2.5 years.  

Additionally, the association was stronger for so-called lipophilic statins. Most statins are lipophilic, and they include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, cerivastatin, pitavastatin, and simvastatin. They are called lipophilic because they diffuse in lipids, whereas hydrophilic statins diffuse in water.  

The former can distribute more widely in various tissues, as they enter the cells more easily. Lipophilic, or “fat soluble,” statins can also reach the brain, whereas water soluble ones cannot.  

Prof Huang points out that the findings contradict previous beliefs that lipophilic statins may have a neuroprotective effect.