Sponge Implants May Help Control Diabetes, Obesity

Nobody wants to get diabetes. But more and more people are developing the chronic disease.

If you’re older, you have a higher risk of developing diabetes. And if you’re overweight or obese, your chances for diabetes go up, too. Take a look at the aging population and the number of people who are overweight or obese, and you’ll find that an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, whether they know it or not.

And that’s a problem, because there is no cure for diabetes. Left unchecked, diabetes can lead to poor circulation, vision loss, blood vessel damage, high blood pressure, skin disorders, fatigue, amputations, or worse.

How do you manage diabetes? Medication can help. So can lifestyle habits like:

  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy foods
  • Avoiding foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates
  • Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day
  • Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight

But what happens if you struggle to develop healthy lifestyle habits? 

Is there anything else you can do to manage diabetes and prevent other health problems? That’s what researchers at the University of South Carolina wanted to find out.

In a recent study, they found that implanting polymer sponges in the fatty abdomens of mice can help prevent weight gain and control blood sugar levels.  During the three week study, mice implanted with the sponges fed a high-fat diet only gained 10 percent body fat. But mice without the implants on the same diet gained 30 percent body fat. Researchers also found that the polymer implants had a positive impact on controlling blood sugar levels.

When will polymer sponge implants be used on humans to control diabetes? More research is needed to verify the results. But polymer material is already used on humans for sutures, stents, and other implant devices.

Need help managing diabetes? Following a Diabetic-Friendly diet can help.