Diabetes

Bear Research
5:47 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

WSU Researchers Studying Bears’ Hibernation To Narrow Down A Cure For Diabetes

A group of Washington State University scientists performing an echocardiogram on an adult female grizzly bear named Kio during the hibernation period.
Photo credit: Anna King Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hibernating bears do things that doctors tell humans not to do. They eat fatty foods, lay around for months on end and get high cholesterol. Yet they don’t suffer the same ill effects we would.

Washington State University researchers have teamed up with a biotech company. They’ve begun a $200,000 study on how grizzly bears can gain so much fat each year and sleep through the winter. But each spring they emerge without diabetes or heart disease.

Researchers are monitoring eight bears’ heart rates, blood pressure, blood chemistry and overall health.

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