Dolphins have the unique ability to turn the condition diabetes off and on, scientists have discovered in a major breakthrough which could potentially lead to a cure in humans. “Researchers found that the mammal can induce the condition when there is little food around and turn it off when food is abundant. They believe it is a unique ability in the animal kingdom and results from the mammal’s need to maintain high blood sugar levels to feed its big brain. But they also believe it is an ability that humans have lost through evolution and that studying dolphins could lead to techniques to re-activate it. ‘Diabetes now accounts for five per cent of human deaths globally,’ said Dr Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist and director of Clinical Research at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego. ‘It is our hope that this discovery can lead to novel ways to prevent, treat and maybe even cure diabetes in humans.’ More than 2.5 million people in Britain suffer from the condition, which can lead to serious complications including blindness. Experts predict that up to four million Britons could be diabetic by 2025, in part because of the obesity crisis.”
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