Richard G. Petty, MD

A Breakthrough in the Pharmacological Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

One of the most distressing complication of diabetes is damage to the retina of the eyes. It is more likely to occur in people with poor metabolic control, but no diabetes sufferers seem to be totally immune from it. But there is no question, that in contrast to some diabetic complications, the level of blood glucose is closely related to the risk of getting retinopathy.In people of working age living in the Western world, diabetes is the number one cause of blindness, and blindness is twenty times more common in people with diabetes than in those without it.

It is such a major problem, that I had the privilege of spending several years working on the problem at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, and diabetic retinopathy was a key part of my doctoral dissertation.

So if something new turns up, I always prick up my ears.

Well, we do seem to have something new. The trouble has been that there are complex mechanisms underlying the effects of diabetes on causing complications like retinopathy. At the American Diabetes Association’s 66th Annual Scientific Sessions in Washington, DC Eli Lilly announced on June 11th, that a study headed by Aaron Vinik of The Strelitz Diabetes Institute at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, in Norfolk, Virginia of a new medicine called ruboxistaurin, almost halved the rate of the development of diabetic retinopathy over a two year period. This is astonishing, though it is important to point out that the medicine did not abolish the problem, and it was funded by the manufacturer. The medicine works by a completely new mechanism. In people with diabetes, high levels of glucose are one of the triggers of a cascade of chemical reactions in the cells of the retina, that turn on a chemical messenger called protein kinase C-β.

Though this is only a first study, and the medicine does not help with diabetic neuropathy, this is a very promising finding. Not least because most of us have failed to achieve much benefit from unorthodox medicine. I have colleagues who tell me that they have helped people with retinopathy with homeopathy and different kinds of electrical stimulation, but I’m just not sure how good those other treatments are. My guess is that if they were really effective, that independent research foundations would be falling over themselves to do research on them. But I could be convinced otherwise!

Ruboxistaurin, added to psychological, social, subtle and spiritual approaches is already looking like a very promising option for preventing problems.

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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