Narrator: This is Science Today. In recent years, researchers have learned that beta cells in the pancreas, which secrete insulin, die in patients with type 2 diabetes. At the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Feroz Papa says beta cells have already been lost by the time someone is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Papa: It's been underappreciated, really, that a loss of functional beta cell mass is really at the heart of Type 2 diabetes. Many patients who are type 2 diabetic are not on insulin.
Narrator: Papa says the American Diabetes Association is now recommending considering the use of insulin earlier in the disease.
Papa: Rather than relying on medications that might cause your pancreas to put out whatever remaining insulin it has. These are sometimes the first line drugs that doctors put patients on when they first become diagnosed with diabetes - and they work for a while because they replenish your blood insulin stores by forcing your pancreas to put out more insulin, but it can often hasten the death process in the beta cells.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.