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Siberian Huskies may have the cure for diabetes
Are Huskies the cure?

Siberian Huskies that race in the Iditarod are some of the most energy efficient animals on the globe. Even after running hundreds of miles on a day to day basis, they barley show any signs of fatigue

Could their ability for burning fat be the key to treating obesity in type 2 diabetes?

On the road to discover this is Michael Davis who as a professor, has studied exercise physiology in Siberian Huskies. Davis recently completed the initial research phase of examining how Siberian huskies training for the taxing Iditarod, become "insulin-sensitive" and effortlessly transform fat into energy.

"If we can figure out what exercise is doing to start the process, then we may be able to find how it can be applied to everyone, whether or not they are physically able to exercise," he says.

Close to twenty million Americans have diabetes. By maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise it is possible to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation has contributed one-third of the $30,000 research grant. Oklahoma State University is bankrolling the remainder.

Insulin, a hormone created in the pancreas, typically helps the cells in the body extract glucose from the blood stream and turns it into energy. People with type 2 diabetes often have problems absorbing glucose.

In January, Davis chose sixteen huskies in Iditarod that were in good shape from the kennel of one of the recent racers and had the siberians run for twenty-two miles at a rapid speed of eight mph. Half the dogs were anesthetized for five minutes while researchers took small muscle biopsies from their legs; the other half were measured for insulin sensitivity using catheters.

Davis hopes to be able to understand how cells are reacting under various physical conditions by calculating the same dog’s metabolic stress on their muscles again after the summer, when they are no longer in shape.

Research done by Davis, has brought on the attention of at least one animal rights group that is against experimentation.

Answering their statements, Davis mentions that compares to smaller animals such as mice and rats, dogs share more DNA with humans. "There is a greater likelihood that something you discover in dogs will be directly relevant to humans," he says.

by Phillip Congleton - May 9, 2011

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Phill has been a volunteer for the South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue since 2007 and has lived with the breed for several years. The experiance he has is from experts in the breed, personal experiences as well as the countless hours helping others who have the breed.