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Treating diabetes with music

Cells engineered to release insulin at the sound of rock music may become a new treatment for diabetes, a study in mice has found.

Scientists at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have developed an artificial ‘designer cell’ that releases insulin when exposed to specific sound frequencies and volumes – insulin regulates blood sugar levels and is either produced in insufficient amounts in diabetics, or not at all.

The researchers also identified the optimal time length and intervals to ensure maximum insulin release, using cell cultures, and implanted these into mice.

They observed that the insulin release could be triggered by placing a loudspeaker playing music on the animals’ stomachs.

Prof Martin Fussenegger and his team found this worked especially well with a particular hit by British rock group Queen.

Fussenegger said We Will RockYou triggered roughly 70 percent of the insulin response within five minutes, and all of it within 15 minutes – comparable to the natural glucose-​induced insulin response of healthy individuals.

Researchers found that the soundtrack to the action film The Avengers was the next most effective, but the insulin response to classical music was weaker by comparison.


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