Allegedly, over 30 million Americans have diabetes and must administer themselves with insulin 2–4 times daily. The scientists have been looking for methods to direct the drug orally, and researchers at CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) have now shown that such an act is possible. Kathryn Whitehead—Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering—along with her team said that the secret is in strawberries. Nicholas Lamson—Research Assistant—said, “The problem with insulin is that it is a protein. The human stomach is very accomplished at breaking down the proteins, such as with food.” For insulin to be beneficial, the protein should be absorbed unbroken by the small intestine.
The researchers have expanded many methods to condense insulin molecules so that they can make it via the stomach toward the small intestine. Facilitating the proteins to pass in the small intestine completely undigested means the insulin is quite large to be absorbed from the intestine and in the bloodstream. And while compounds are present there that can unlock the pores of the small intestine, some can do it without damage. Whitehead stated, “We took about 110 vegetables and fruits and screened them for a capability to open up the gaps amid the cells of the intestine broad enough to permit the insulin to pass through. On screening, we saw that the chemical—pelargonidin—that makes strawberries red have the ability to dilate intestinal pores in a harmless way that later permits them to shrink back to normal extent.
Recently, the CMU was in the news as its study discovered that routine hits while playing football lead to damage to the brain. A new study conducted by CMU and the URMC (University of Rochester Medical Center) indicated that concussions are not the only reason for damage to the brain in contact sports. Research of college football players discovered that typical hits sustained by playing just one season caused structural alterations to the brain.