Scientists are promising to engineer a solution to a chronic stomach problem common in people with type 1 diabetes.
Researchers from Western Sydney University have been awarded a $150,000 grant from JDRF to study a treatment for diabetic gastroparesis.
Diabetic gastroparesis is a long-term condition that develops when the stomach is unable to empty itself properly. This means that food passes through slowly, leading to problems such as becoming full too early, nausea and vomiting.
Another key problem is that it can make timing of insulin doses more difficult, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia.
Currently treatment for gastroparesis, which affects up to 40 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes, is limited because existing medications do not always work.
Patients who do not respond to conventional therapies can become upon dependent upon feeding tubes for Nutrition, but the university’s researchers hope this JDRF funding could lead to a game changing new treatment.
Principal investigator Dr Vincent Ho said: “As a result of this grant, we are able to take a clinical issue into the laboratory in order to engineer a solution. We will be investigating the use of a new endoscopic device for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis – which is a vexing clinical problem.
“This would be in the form of a uniquely designed stent that aims to better empty food contents through the pylorus.”
The pylorus is the opening at which the end of the stomach joins the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.
Ho, a specialist in gastrointestinal motility disorders, said treatment for diabetic gastroparesis was “very limited”, adding: “We are hopeful that this grant can produce a tangible outcome to aid patients suffering from gastroparesis.”
People with diabetic gastroparesis are advised to try and maintain good blood glucose control because this can lessen damage to the vagus nerve, which moves food through the digestive tract.

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