Are people with diabetes and obesity predisposed to stress?

Individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes or prediabetes have insulin resistance so their bodies are unable to regulate blood sugar levels, but research suggests that these imbalances also mean that their emotional responses to negative stimuli are increased.

Previous studies have shown that people who live with type 2 diabetes and obesity are more predisposed to depression however it is now suggested that this is due to their insulin resistance.

A study was done in which they studied participants in different scenarios. In the first scenario, they studied the participants ‘startle response’ which is as an involuntary defensive reaction to a stimulus that is automatically perceived as potentially dangerous. The people with a more intense startle response than others tended to have diabetes.

The study next showed each participant a series of images with negative, positive, or neutral content, with the aim of triggering an emotional response. At the same time, they tested the subjects’ involuntary responses using an electroencephalogram (EEG), a test in which tiny electrical sensors are placed in key areas over the head and face to measure activity in the central nervous system. In doing so, the researchers evaluated how often each individual blinked or flinched when shown negative imagery.

“People with higher levels of insulin resistance were more startled by negative pictures,” says Willette, adding, “By extension, they may be more reactive to negative things in life.”

If people with prediabetes and diabetes are trying to reverse or treat the disease, stressful events may hinder their goals. Frequent negative reactions to stressful events can lead to a lower quality of life and create a vicious cycle that makes it difficult to be healthy, which is why it is extremely important that we fully understand the causes in order to minimise them.

Can we stop ovarian cancer?!

New research has revealed exactly why ovarian cancer spreads to the peritoneal cavity and this means that we could edit existing drugs to stop this from happening.


  • There was around 7270 cases of ovarian cancer in the UK in 2015
  • In 2016 there was 4227 deaths resulting from ovarian cancer in the UK
  • It is estimated that only 35% of people survive ovarian cancer for 10 or more years, 2010-11 in England and Wales
  • It is also estimated that 21% of cases of ovarian cancer are preventable

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest form of cancer of the reproductive system, but treatment is currently effective if the cancer is caught early. However this does not happen very often. Unfortunately only 15% of patients present themselves with this form of cancer at an early stage, while 75% of cases are found when the tumour has already spread or metastasized to the peritoneal cavity.

Previous studies of ovarian cancer have demonstrated that in this form of cancer, having a high number of immune cells called macrophages is linked with a worse outcome. However Prof. Kreeger and team looked at whether or not these immune cells enable cancer cells to spread and attach to the peritoneal cavity. They later found that there is a complex system of interactions between healthy cells and cancer cells which helps facilitate the spread of cancer. Normally, the peritoneal cavity is lined cells which form the mesothelium — a slippery, non-sticky surface layer that lines the body’s cavities and internal organs, protecting them. However they found that in ovarian cancer macrophages transform these mesothelial cells into sticky cells that help cancer cells to attach.

This research is likely to cause a significant improvement in treatment of ovarian cancer and although there are already existing drugs, these could be repurposed to inhibit the key aspects of the metastatic process which has been discovered by this study.

“We’re interested in pursuing multiple avenues, because it’s possible one will work better than another,” says Prof. Kreeger. “It’s also possible one will have more tolerable side effects than another.”