Magazine article USA TODAY

Diabetes Is Second Leading Cause

Magazine article USA TODAY

Diabetes Is Second Leading Cause

Article excerpt

One person's unwanted fat and clippings of hair could be another person's cure for a debilitating condition. Biologists Tom Barrows and Hilal Arnouk of Georgia State University, Atlanta, are working on a treatment for diabetic foot ulcers--a complication of diabetes--using stem cells from human fat and keratin extracted from human hair.

Diabetic foot ulcer is a chronic wound that develops in the lower extremities of patients with diabetes because of the lack of blood supply and nerve sensation. Fifteen percent of these patients will develop this wound during their lifetime. Many diabetic foot ulcers never heal and ultimately lead to bone infections, amputation, or death. Barrows notes there are 1,000 amputations a week in the U.S. because of complications of diabetes. Each year in the U.S., it costs about $5,000,000,000 to care for people who suffer this complication.

"This is more of a problem than anyone wants to admit or recognize," emphasizes Barrows. "Diabetic foot ulcers are the second leading cause of amputation. Only car accidents cause more. What is the best way to reduce health care costs? To solve health care problems with therapies that are economical. …

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