Hibernating bears’ ability to regulate insulin narrowed down to eight proteins

Feeding honey to hibernating bears helped researchers find the potential genetic keys to the bears’ insulin control, an advance that could ultimately lead to a treatment for human diabetes. Every year, bears gain an enormous amount of weight, then barely move for months, behavior that would spell diabetes in humans, but not for bears whose bodies can turn insulin resistance on and off almost like a switch. In the hunt for the bears’ secret, scientists observed thousands of changes in gene expression during hibernation, but now a research team has narrowed that down to eight proteins.