The Next Wave of Diabetes Care

July 2021

The Spring 2021 issue of the Carver College of Medicine Magazine “Medicine at Iowa”, circulated to all UI alumni, featured an important serendipitous breakthrough by scientists at the University of Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC).  FOEDRC scientists discovered at safe new way to manage blood sugar non-invasively with electromagnetic fields (EMFs).  This discovery could have major benefits in diabetes care, particularly for patients whose current treatment plan is cumbersome and involves checking their blood sugar multiple times daily with finger sticks. 

Exposing diabetic mice to a combination of static electric and magnetic fields for a few hours per day normalized two major hallmarks of type 2 diabetes, namely reducing blood glucose levels and preventing insulin resistance.

Electromagnetic fields are everywhere in modern society. Telecommunications, navigation and mobile devices all rely on electromagnetism to function. Medicine has also harnessed this fundamental force for diagnostic technologies, most notably MRI. While the diagnostic use of EMFs has rapidly expanded, therapeutic applications remain narrow due to a poor understanding of the biological effects.  A team of FOEDRC scientists including Drs. Calvin Carter, Sunny Huang, Val Sheffield and E. Dale Abel et al. have been studying the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and made a groundbreaking discovery. The team demonstrated that a unique combination of EMFs, approximately 100x that found at the Earth’s surface, remotely controls blood sugar in animal models of type 2 diabetes. The treatment effects are rapid, reversing insulin resistance within three days and are equally effective when applied for just 7 hours per day during sleep. The treatment was safe, and caused no obvious side effects in these animals studies. The team found that electromagnetic fields activate "magnetic antennae” that are present in mammalian cells, to rebalance the body’s response to insulin. These findings represent a breakthrough in our understanding of how the body responds to EMFs and opens a new field of research into the therapeutic use of EMFs for the noninvasive management of type 2 diabetes. Drs. Carter and Huang have formed a startup company, Geminii, Inc. to translate this novel discovery into a wearable device for the noninvasive management of diabetes. Dr. Carter has also been the recipient of a Bridge to the Cure award from the FOE.

A link to the Medicine at Iowa article is included here.


These exciting new findings were also published Oct. 6 in the Journal Cell Metabolism.