Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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The Grizzly Truth
18 August 2014

The Grizzly Truth

A team of grizzly bears is working with scientists to improve our understanding of common human diseases like obesity and diabetes. Cases of obesity are rising across the world. The condition is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, when cells lose the ability to regulate the level of sugar in the blood, which can result in major complications. Seeking new therapies for both diseases, researchers are turning to the extreme conditions found in the natural world, specifically the hibernating habits of the grizzly bear (pictured). Every autumn bears overeat to become obese so as to survive a long, somnolent winter when food is sparse. Hibernating bears enter a natural state of diabetes, which they then cure themselves of when they wake up in spring. It’s hoped that understanding the science behind this natural phenomenon will lead to new lines of treatments for obesity and diabetes.

Written by Nick Kennedy

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