Mount Sinai Researchers Identifies Drug with Potential to Drive Beta Cell Proliferation

Andrew Stewart, MDIn a screen of more than 100,000 potential drugs, only one, harmine, drove human insulin-producing beta cells to multiply, according to a study led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, published in Nature Medicine.

Diabetes results from too few insulin-producing “beta cells” in the pancreas secreting too little insulin, the hormone required to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. In a groundbreaking Mount Sinai study, researchers found that harmine drove the sustained division and multiplication of adult human beta cells in culture, a feat that had eluded the field for years. In addition, harmine treatment tripled the number of beta cells and led to better control of blood sugar in three groups of mice engineered to mimic human diabetes. Read more

Mount Sinai Researchers Make Diabetes Discoveries

Andrew Stewart, MD, the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine and Director of Mount Sinai’s Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute led a team of scientists who discovered a novel mechanism that regulates the replication of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Their findings provided novel working models describing the control of cell cycle progression in the human beta cell. These discoveries offer new insights into possible therapeutic approaches to stimulate the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Read more

Leadership and Staff Celebrate National Walking Day

Hundreds of Mount Sinai Health System employees laced up their sneakers and participated in several 30-minute, lunchtime walks in their hospital campus communities on Wednesday, April 1, for National Walking Day, to raise awareness of the health benefits of walking for cardiovascular health. Beth Oliver, DNP, RN, Vice President of Cardiac Services for the Mount Sinai Health System, set the tone for the day, saying, “Mount Sinai is committed to teaming up to get active and make strides against cardiovascular diseases. A simple 30-minute brisk walk each day can significantly impact and improve heart health and longevity.” Walking, she says, can help individuals lower risk of heart attacks and strokes, maintain normal blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and prevent diabetes and obesity.

A Healthy Start With Help From The Diabetes Alliance

Elizabeth Peralta, a Laboratory Technician at The Mount Sinai Hospital, lost 55 pounds in five months and reversed her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes with help from The Diabetes Alliance at the Mount Sinai Health System. The Diabetes Alliance offers Mount Sinai staff and patients personalized diabetes education, nutrition, and counseling and support to achieve their health and wellness goals.

The quick turnaround for Ms. Peralta started in July, after a routine physical with her internist, Laurie Edelman, MD, revealed that her blood sugar level had significantly increased over the prior year, resulting in a diagnosis of uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Dr. Edelman is an Associate Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Read more

Studying a New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

There are more than 23 million people in the United States, including 1.6 million in New York State, who have type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body is resistant to the action of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas to lower the blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with obesity, can result in kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness, heart disease, and stroke when blood sugar levels are uncontrolled.

“Many of these individuals who are living with type 2 diabetes and obesity are trying tirelessly to manage their diabetes and blood sugar, but without success,” says Aida Saliby, MD, of the Department of Endocrinology at Beth Israel Medical Center. “They do not respond fully to diet and lifestyle modifications, or they become resistant to the effects of oral medications, requiring additional treatments to manage their disease. Given the severe and growing diabetes epidemic, there is a substantial need to develop new, more effective therapies,” she says.

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Educating the Community about Diabetes

Mount Sinai physicians, nurses, and diabetes educators participated in the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diabetes Expo on Saturday, March 9, at the Jacob K. Javits Center. The Mount Sinai team of more than 70 volunteers provided free screenings for blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol, as well as eye exams, to approximately 500 individuals. Physicians were on site to interpret the screening results and discuss how participants could take better control of their diabetes.

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A Cure for One Patient Yields Hope for Others

Two years before seeking help from physicians at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Rosemary McGinn, 53, was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. She went everywhere with an arsenal of snacks and juices that she ingested frequently to keep her blood sugar from dropping.

“When my sugar would suddenly crash, it was like I was drunk,” she says. “I would become very combative, not knowing what I was saying, and sway back and forth.”

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Mount Sinai Advances Research into Diabetes and Heart Disease

Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart, presented landmark research on diabetes and heart disease at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2012. During the conference, the AHA also honored Dr. Fuster with its 2012 Research Achievement Award for his many significant contributions to cardiovascular medicine.

“With a laser-like focus on translational research, Dr. Fuster has added greatly to our understanding of the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease and thrombosis,” says AHA President Donna Arnett, PhD, MSPH. “Among his laboratory’s provocative advancements in medical science are numerous ‘firsts,’ including the original understanding of the role of platelets in heart disease and the revelation that plaque composition plays a crucial role in propensity for a heart lesion to rupture.”

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Weight Management Tips for 2013

Don’t just take a Weight-and-See approach to losing pounds in 2013. Two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight and one-third are obese. Tip: Exert portion control. A single portion should fit on your palm; a restaurant meal is usually the size of multiple portions. Here are more weight management tips from expert Dr. Robert Yanagisawa. Read more at