Tag Archives: Risk

Parts of UK identified as high risk areas for Lyme disease

The south of England and the Scottish Highlands have been earmarked as high risk areas for Lyme disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said some areas appear to have higher prevalence of infected ticks which cause the disease. But the health body said prevalence data is incomplete as it called for a large study into the condition in the UK.

Better information on incidence, presenting clinical features, management and outcome of Lyme disease both in hospitals and GP services will mean that services can be tailored to suit those infected, Nice said.

It is estimated that there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year.

But Nice said this could be an underestimation because there is no requirement for GPs or hospital clinicians to report the number of cases.

A new draft guideline from Nice states: “Infected ticks are found throughout the UK and Ireland, and although some areas appear to have a higher prevalence of infected ticks, prevalence data are incomplete.

“Particularly high-risk areas are the south of England and Scottish Highlands but infection can occur in many areas.”

It has also set out a series of recommendations on how the condition can be assessed and treated.

These include: diagnosing people who present with a distinctive rash – often described as looking like a bullseye on a dart board – without needing to refer them for further tests.

A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bull’s eye ona dart board


A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bullseye ona dart board. Photograph: anakopa/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Medics have also been urged not to rule out Lyme disease if a person who has symptoms of the disease is unsure whether they have been bitten by a tick.

Antibiotics should be used to treat the condition but if symptoms persist after treatment, a GP should consider a referral to a specialist, the guideline adds.

“Lyme disease may be difficult to diagnose as people can have common and unspecific symptoms, like a headache or fever, and they may not notice or remember a tick bite,” said Saul Faust, professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton.

“Our draft guidance will give GPs and hospital doctors clear advice on how to diagnose if they think Lyme disease is a possibility,” said Faust who also chairs the guideline committee.

It emerged in August that former England rugby captain Matt Dawson underwent heart surgery after being bitten by a tick in a London park.

The 44-year-old developed feverish symptoms after visiting the park early last year and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, he told the BBC.

Dawson is now free of the disease, having undergone multiple heart operations and endured 18 months of treatment.

The bacterial infection, caused by infected ticks, can lead to conditions such as meningitis or heart failure if left untreated.

Ticks can be found in woodland and heath areas. The tiny spider-like creatures, which can carry the bacteria responsible for the disease, are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

Areas known to have a particularly high population of ticks include: Exmoor, the New Forest and other rural areas of Hampshire, the South Downs, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, parts of Surrey and West Sussex, Thetford Forest in Norfolk, the Lake District, the North York Moors and the Scottish Highlands.

Not everyone who gets bitten by a tick will be infected with Lyme disease, as only a small proportion carry the bacteria which causes the condition.

Parts of UK identified as high risk areas for Lyme disease

The south of England and the Scottish Highlands have been earmarked as high risk areas for Lyme disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said some areas appear to have higher prevalence of infected ticks which cause the disease. But the health body said prevalence data is incomplete as it called for a large study into the condition in the UK.

Better information on incidence, presenting clinical features, management and outcome of Lyme disease both in hospitals and GP services will mean that services can be tailored to suit those infected, Nice said.

It is estimated that there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year.

But Nice said this could be an underestimation because there is no requirement for GPs or hospital clinicians to report the number of cases.

A new draft guideline from Nice states: “Infected ticks are found throughout the UK and Ireland, and although some areas appear to have a higher prevalence of infected ticks, prevalence data are incomplete.

“Particularly high-risk areas are the south of England and Scottish Highlands but infection can occur in many areas.”

It has also set out a series of recommendations on how the condition can be assessed and treated.

These include: diagnosing people who present with a distinctive rash – often described as looking like a bullseye on a dart board – without needing to refer them for further tests.

A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bull’s eye ona dart board


A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bullseye ona dart board. Photograph: anakopa/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Medics have also been urged not to rule out Lyme disease if a person who has symptoms of the disease is unsure whether they have been bitten by a tick.

Antibiotics should be used to treat the condition but if symptoms persist after treatment, a GP should consider a referral to a specialist, the guideline adds.

“Lyme disease may be difficult to diagnose as people can have common and unspecific symptoms, like a headache or fever, and they may not notice or remember a tick bite,” said Saul Faust, professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton.

“Our draft guidance will give GPs and hospital doctors clear advice on how to diagnose if they think Lyme disease is a possibility,” said Faust who also chairs the guideline committee.

It emerged in August that former England rugby captain Matt Dawson underwent heart surgery after being bitten by a tick in a London park.

The 44-year-old developed feverish symptoms after visiting the park early last year and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, he told the BBC.

Dawson is now free of the disease, having undergone multiple heart operations and endured 18 months of treatment.

The bacterial infection, caused by infected ticks, can lead to conditions such as meningitis or heart failure if left untreated.

Ticks can be found in woodland and heath areas. The tiny spider-like creatures, which can carry the bacteria responsible for the disease, are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

Areas known to have a particularly high population of ticks include: Exmoor, the New Forest and other rural areas of Hampshire, the South Downs, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, parts of Surrey and West Sussex, Thetford Forest in Norfolk, the Lake District, the North York Moors and the Scottish Highlands.

Not everyone who gets bitten by a tick will be infected with Lyme disease, as only a small proportion carry the bacteria which causes the condition.

Parts of UK identified as high risk areas for Lyme disease

The south of England and the Scottish Highlands have been earmarked as high risk areas for Lyme disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said some areas appear to have higher prevalence of infected ticks which cause the disease. But the health body said prevalence data is incomplete as it called for a large study into the condition in the UK.

Better information on incidence, presenting clinical features, management and outcome of Lyme disease both in hospitals and GP services will mean that services can be tailored to suit those infected, Nice said.

It is estimated that there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year.

But Nice said this could be an underestimation because there is no requirement for GPs or hospital clinicians to report the number of cases.

A new draft guideline from Nice states: “Infected ticks are found throughout the UK and Ireland, and although some areas appear to have a higher prevalence of infected ticks, prevalence data are incomplete.

“Particularly high-risk areas are the south of England and Scottish Highlands but infection can occur in many areas.”

It has also set out a series of recommendations on how the condition can be assessed and treated.

These include: diagnosing people who present with a distinctive rash – often described as looking like a bullseye on a dart board – without needing to refer them for further tests.

A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bull’s eye ona dart board


A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bullseye ona dart board. Photograph: anakopa/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Medics have also been urged not to rule out Lyme disease if a person who has symptoms of the disease is unsure whether they have been bitten by a tick.

Antibiotics should be used to treat the condition but if symptoms persist after treatment, a GP should consider a referral to a specialist, the guideline adds.

“Lyme disease may be difficult to diagnose as people can have common and unspecific symptoms, like a headache or fever, and they may not notice or remember a tick bite,” said Saul Faust, professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton.

“Our draft guidance will give GPs and hospital doctors clear advice on how to diagnose if they think Lyme disease is a possibility,” said Faust who also chairs the guideline committee.

It emerged in August that former England rugby captain Matt Dawson underwent heart surgery after being bitten by a tick in a London park.

The 44-year-old developed feverish symptoms after visiting the park early last year and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, he told the BBC.

Dawson is now free of the disease, having undergone multiple heart operations and endured 18 months of treatment.

The bacterial infection, caused by infected ticks, can lead to conditions such as meningitis or heart failure if left untreated.

Ticks can be found in woodland and heath areas. The tiny spider-like creatures, which can carry the bacteria responsible for the disease, are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

Areas known to have a particularly high population of ticks include: Exmoor, the New Forest and other rural areas of Hampshire, the South Downs, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, parts of Surrey and West Sussex, Thetford Forest in Norfolk, the Lake District, the North York Moors and the Scottish Highlands.

Not everyone who gets bitten by a tick will be infected with Lyme disease, as only a small proportion carry the bacteria which causes the condition.

Parts of UK identified as high risk areas for Lyme disease

The south of England and the Scottish Highlands have been earmarked as high risk areas for Lyme disease.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said some areas appear to have higher prevalence of infected ticks which cause the disease. But the health body said prevalence data is incomplete as it called for a large study into the condition in the UK.

Better information on incidence, presenting clinical features, management and outcome of Lyme disease both in hospitals and GP services will mean that services can be tailored to suit those infected, Nice said.

It is estimated that there are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year.

But Nice said this could be an underestimation because there is no requirement for GPs or hospital clinicians to report the number of cases.

A new draft guideline from Nice states: “Infected ticks are found throughout the UK and Ireland, and although some areas appear to have a higher prevalence of infected ticks, prevalence data are incomplete.

“Particularly high-risk areas are the south of England and Scottish Highlands but infection can occur in many areas.”

It has also set out a series of recommendations on how the condition can be assessed and treated.

These include: diagnosing people who present with a distinctive rash – often described as looking like a bullseye on a dart board – without needing to refer them for further tests.

A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bull’s eye ona dart board


A typical lyme rash, spot looks like a bullseye ona dart board. Photograph: anakopa/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Medics have also been urged not to rule out Lyme disease if a person who has symptoms of the disease is unsure whether they have been bitten by a tick.

Antibiotics should be used to treat the condition but if symptoms persist after treatment, a GP should consider a referral to a specialist, the guideline adds.

“Lyme disease may be difficult to diagnose as people can have common and unspecific symptoms, like a headache or fever, and they may not notice or remember a tick bite,” said Saul Faust, professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton.

“Our draft guidance will give GPs and hospital doctors clear advice on how to diagnose if they think Lyme disease is a possibility,” said Faust who also chairs the guideline committee.

It emerged in August that former England rugby captain Matt Dawson underwent heart surgery after being bitten by a tick in a London park.

The 44-year-old developed feverish symptoms after visiting the park early last year and was later diagnosed with Lyme disease, he told the BBC.

Dawson is now free of the disease, having undergone multiple heart operations and endured 18 months of treatment.

The bacterial infection, caused by infected ticks, can lead to conditions such as meningitis or heart failure if left untreated.

Ticks can be found in woodland and heath areas. The tiny spider-like creatures, which can carry the bacteria responsible for the disease, are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America.

Areas known to have a particularly high population of ticks include: Exmoor, the New Forest and other rural areas of Hampshire, the South Downs, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, parts of Surrey and West Sussex, Thetford Forest in Norfolk, the Lake District, the North York Moors and the Scottish Highlands.

Not everyone who gets bitten by a tick will be infected with Lyme disease, as only a small proportion carry the bacteria which causes the condition.

Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.

The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.

Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.

Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.

Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” said Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, who is a member of the Society for Endocrinology.

“Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

She said studies had previously only been done on mice. “Even if it is proven in the future that artificial sweeteners are detrimental for the general population, this might not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes arises from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we do not fully understand yet. It is thus premature to point the finger at artificial sweeteners as isolated elements of risk. The full story will probably prove itself a lot more complex.

“At the moment, I would not advise against artificial sweeteners per se, but instead I would stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at the University of Warwick, said it was not possible from the data available to conclude that the body’s changed response to glucose would necessarily result in diabetes. Proper clinical trials were needed. “Increased sweetener intake may be associated with other lifestyle elements that may be more direct causes of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Diabetes UK was sceptical. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Emma Elvin, a clinical adviser. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more.

“Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”

Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.

The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.

Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.

Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.

Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” said Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, who is a member of the Society for Endocrinology.

“Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

She said studies had previously only been done on mice. “Even if it is proven in the future that artificial sweeteners are detrimental for the general population, this might not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes arises from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we do not fully understand yet. It is thus premature to point the finger at artificial sweeteners as isolated elements of risk. The full story will probably prove itself a lot more complex.

“At the moment, I would not advise against artificial sweeteners per se, but instead I would stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at the University of Warwick, said it was not possible from the data available to conclude that the body’s changed response to glucose would necessarily result in diabetes. Proper clinical trials were needed. “Increased sweetener intake may be associated with other lifestyle elements that may be more direct causes of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Diabetes UK was sceptical. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Emma Elvin, a clinical adviser. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more.

“Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”

Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.

The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.

Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.

Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.

Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” said Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, who is a member of the Society for Endocrinology.

“Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

She said studies had previously only been done on mice. “Even if it is proven in the future that artificial sweeteners are detrimental for the general population, this might not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes arises from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we do not fully understand yet. It is thus premature to point the finger at artificial sweeteners as isolated elements of risk. The full story will probably prove itself a lot more complex.

“At the moment, I would not advise against artificial sweeteners per se, but instead I would stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at the University of Warwick, said it was not possible from the data available to conclude that the body’s changed response to glucose would necessarily result in diabetes. Proper clinical trials were needed. “Increased sweetener intake may be associated with other lifestyle elements that may be more direct causes of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Diabetes UK was sceptical. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Emma Elvin, a clinical adviser. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more.

“Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”

Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.

The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.

Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.

Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.

Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” said Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, who is a member of the Society for Endocrinology.

“Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

She said studies had previously only been done on mice. “Even if it is proven in the future that artificial sweeteners are detrimental for the general population, this might not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes arises from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we do not fully understand yet. It is thus premature to point the finger at artificial sweeteners as isolated elements of risk. The full story will probably prove itself a lot more complex.

“At the moment, I would not advise against artificial sweeteners per se, but instead I would stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at the University of Warwick, said it was not possible from the data available to conclude that the body’s changed response to glucose would necessarily result in diabetes. Proper clinical trials were needed. “Increased sweetener intake may be associated with other lifestyle elements that may be more direct causes of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Diabetes UK was sceptical. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Emma Elvin, a clinical adviser. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more.

“Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”

Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.

The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.

Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.

Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.

Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” said Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, who is a member of the Society for Endocrinology.

“Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

She said studies had previously only been done on mice. “Even if it is proven in the future that artificial sweeteners are detrimental for the general population, this might not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes arises from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we do not fully understand yet. It is thus premature to point the finger at artificial sweeteners as isolated elements of risk. The full story will probably prove itself a lot more complex.

“At the moment, I would not advise against artificial sweeteners per se, but instead I would stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at the University of Warwick, said it was not possible from the data available to conclude that the body’s changed response to glucose would necessarily result in diabetes. Proper clinical trials were needed. “Increased sweetener intake may be associated with other lifestyle elements that may be more direct causes of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Diabetes UK was sceptical. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Emma Elvin, a clinical adviser. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more.

“Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”

Artificial sweeteners raise risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

Artificial sweeteners, which many people with weight issues use as a substitute for sugar, may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research.

The study was small and the detailed results have not yet been published, but experts said its findings fitted with previous research showing an association between artificial sweeteners and weight gain.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and rates of the disease are soaring around the world. Its complications, if it is not controlled, can include blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, who wanted to investigate whether large amounts of no-calorie artificial sweeteners altered the ability of the body to control the levels of glucose in the blood.

Some of the 27 healthy volunteers who were recruited for the study were given the equivalent of 1.5 litres of diet drink a day, in the form of capsules of two different sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame K. They took the capsules three times a day for two weeks, before meals. The others in the study were given a placebo.

Tests at the end of the two weeks showed that the body’s response to glucose was impaired. “This study supports the concept that artificial sweeteners could reduce the body’s control of blood sugar levels and highlights the potential for exaggerated post-meal glucose levels in high habitual NAS [non-caloric artificial sweeteners] users, which could predispose them to develop type 2 diabetes,” said the authors.

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Lisbon, Portugal.

Some experts said the findings were in line with previous research, while others said they did not support the conclusion that sweeteners could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“This study addresses a very important global human health issue, as artificial sweeteners are food additives commonly used not only by patients with diabetes but also by healthy individuals aiming to manage their sugar intake,” said Dr Inês Cebola, from Imperial College London, who is a member of the Society for Endocrinology.

“Although generally thought as safe and even beneficial, artificial sweetener consumption has actually been previously associated with weight gain and development of glucose intolerance, which can lead to development of type 2 diabetes.”

She said studies had previously only been done on mice. “Even if it is proven in the future that artificial sweeteners are detrimental for the general population, this might not be true in all cases. Type 2 diabetes arises from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors, many of which we do not fully understand yet. It is thus premature to point the finger at artificial sweeteners as isolated elements of risk. The full story will probably prove itself a lot more complex.

“At the moment, I would not advise against artificial sweeteners per se, but instead I would stress the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

Victor Zammit, professor of metabolic biochemistry at the University of Warwick, said it was not possible from the data available to conclude that the body’s changed response to glucose would necessarily result in diabetes. Proper clinical trials were needed. “Increased sweetener intake may be associated with other lifestyle elements that may be more direct causes of type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Diabetes UK was sceptical. “This is a small study with interesting results, but it doesn’t provide strong evidence that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Emma Elvin, a clinical adviser. “We need to see the results of larger trials testing in settings more true to real life before we’ll know more.

“Consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks is very damaging to overall health and can increase risk of type 2 diabetes. We would advise people to reduce their intakes of sugar, and artificial sweeteners could be an option to help some people achieve this.”