Doctors at Allegheny General Hospital in Pennsylvania have discovered a link between the central nervous system and the development of type 2 diabetes.
Lead researcher Dr Peter Jannetta and his colleagues conducted a clinical trial revealing that a medical procedure called microvascular decompression surgery (MVD) could potentially be an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes patients.
The technique, which was developed by Jannetta, is performed on a section of the brain called the medulla oblongata. It involves repositioning the arteries and placing a protective pad between the nerve and the artery. Jannetta and his team have successfully performed more than 6,000 of these operations.
"Insulin resistance is central to the development of type 2 diabetes," said Jannetta. "We hypothesized that decompressing the medulla oblongata could result in better glycemic control for patients with this disease."
A total of 10 patients underwent the surgery and were followed for a year after the procedure, during which time no changes were made in diet, weight or physical activity level. At the end of this time, seven of the 10 patients experienced significantly improved blood glucose control.
The doctors hope to expand this study to a larger clinical investigation involving more type 2 diabetes patients.