U of L labs working to prevent and cure diabetes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L labs working to prevent and cure diabetes

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Diabetes touches 1.3 million patients between Kentucky and Indiana.

Today, on World Diabetes Day, as on every day, Louisville laboratories are trying to find a way to prevent and cure the disease. 

Nine-year-old Jackson Heintzman knows his school nurse well.

"Sometimes I have a headache and my stomach aches a little bit," he said.

They see each other about three times a day. 

"She either comes up and checks me, or gives me insulin when I'm high," Jackson said.

The Christian Academy student suffers from Type One Diabetes. His pancreas doesn't produce insulin. 

"It's a constant," said Jessica Heintzman, Jackson's mother. "What's going on with my child's sugar? Is he going to pass out in the middle of the night? Not going to wake up in the mooring? It's like Russian roulette with your child every day." 

While the Heintzmans and million of families cope with the disease, scientists search for solutions. The University of Louisville's diabetes and obesity center is working on about a dozen trials. Among them, Dr. Petra Haberzettle is looking at diabetes prevention factors beyond food. 

"We are trying figure in animal studies -- the mechanism of how air pollution is inducing the affects which could trigger diabetes and obesity," Dr. Haberzettle said. 

Her colleague, Dr. Jason Hellmann, is studying the use of omega-3 fatty acids for a cure. 

"Those fish oils -- how they can actually resolve inflammation and they can be used for treatment strategies in diabetic individuals," Dr. Hellmann said.  

The Heintzmans believe in what grows out of a lab. New technology allowed Jackson's mom to start monitoring his blood sugar from anywhere in the world using her cell phone. 

"It just feels like you're worn out," Jackson said.

Jackson was just three years old when diabetes took over his life -- and his mom says she hopes every day for a breakthrough to take it back. 

"Every single day," she said. "I mean, a poor 9-year-old knows how many cards are in a granola bar."

For more information on the trials at the University of Louisville Diabetes and Obesity Center, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved. 

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