Of mice and men: Behavioral medicine in the study of type II diabetes
The development of a research program in behavioral medicine is reviewed from an historical perspective. Initial studies dealing with the effects of stress management on diabetes control are summarized. Questions raised by these studies led to a switch from human to animal studies. Results from these animal studies suggested that glucose responses to stress are characteristic of individuals predisposed to developing Type II diabetes. This hypothesis was then tested in humans. These studies led to the hypothesis that, while stress responsivity may be a marker for the development of diabetes, dietary effects on the sympathetic nervous system may be responsible for eventual appearance of the disease. Additionally, the development of a new animal model of Type II diabetes allowed new insights into the relationship of obesity and insulin resistance with the development of the disease itself. The evolution of this research program from one focused on behavioral variables to one with a more basic biological orientation is emphasized.
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