APR 03, 2022 11:00 AM PDT

Treating Diabetes with Ultrasound

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Bioelectronic medicine, or the use of electrical devices to manipulate electrical signaling in the body, has been a recent therapeutics focus among doctors and researchers. According to the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, bioelectronic treatments use devices and other technologies to treat injuries or diseases as a potentially safer option compared to drugs and similar pharmaceuticals. And the popularity of this medical approach is growing, at least from a market perspective: the bioelectronic medical market is expected to grow almost 8% over the next few years. 

Some research has been conducted on the effectiveness of bioelectronic medicine; for example, some studies of using electronic devices to stimulate the vagus nerve for treating inflammatory conditions have led to some human clinical trials. But even so, research is emerging every day exploring bioelectronic medicine’s potential for patients.

And now, according to new research published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers may have found a bioelectronic approach to treating diabetes: using ultrasound.

According to a GE-led team of researchers, activating specific nerves through the use of ultrasound technology proved effective at changing the concentrations of neurotransmitters focused on regulating metabolism in three species of mice, offering positive directions for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 

The idea behind the use of ultrasound for diabetes focuses on the stimulation of neurometabolic pathways. Prior research suggests that the waves produced by ultrasounds interact with cells in such a way that it can actually change the activity of neurons around cells to change brain-nerve communication, though the exact mechanism is still a little unclear. 

Specifically, researchers targeted the nerve plexus of the hepatic portal system, which plays a crucial role in glucose homeostasis.  

The team is now moving towards feasibility studies of their technique in humans. If ultrasound proves effective for people with type 2 diabetes, it could revolutionize the care and treatment of diabetes. The reduced need for regular glucose monitoring and frequent insulin injections could improve outcomes and reduce burden for patients.

Sources: EurekaAlert!; Nature Biomedical Engineering; Perspectives in Medicine; Frontiers in Physics

About the Author
Professional Writing
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
MAY 18, 2022
Technology
'Nanomagnetic' computing can provide low-energy artificial intelligence
MAY 18, 2022
'Nanomagnetic' computing can provide low-energy artificial intelligence
Science fiction has warned us time and time again that creating artificial intelligence (AI) will bring about our doom. ...
MAY 26, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Titan: The Hazy Moon
MAY 26, 2022
Titan: The Hazy Moon
Titan, the largest moon of Saturn—The Hazy Moon, with its thick atmosphere and lakes of liquid methane and ethane, ...
MAY 25, 2022
Cancer
TCGA: An Important Tool for Cancer Research
MAY 25, 2022
TCGA: An Important Tool for Cancer Research
In 2006, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) began a cancer gen ...
JUN 06, 2022
Technology
Are We Ready For AI To Make Ethical Decisions For Us?
JUN 06, 2022
Are We Ready For AI To Make Ethical Decisions For Us?
Do you ever stop to think about how big of a role artificial intelligence plays in helping us make decisions (or, for th ...
JUN 15, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
High Intensity Ultrasound Therapy Treats Localized Prostate Cancer
JUN 15, 2022
High Intensity Ultrasound Therapy Treats Localized Prostate Cancer
High-intensity-focused ultrasound (HIFU) can treat some men with prostate cancer instead of surgery or radiation therapy ...
JUN 26, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Humans, not nature, are responsible for over 90% of the world's oil spills
JUN 26, 2022
Humans, not nature, are responsible for over 90% of the world's oil spills
Oil slicks, or spills, are a type of marine pollution on the ocean surface resulting from spills from ships, oil and gas ...
Loading Comments...