Antibiotics, Meat and Superbugs

In the United States, antibiotics are routinely given to animals that later find their way to the meat sections of virtually every supermarket.  Animals are packed close together in crowded spaces and the drugs prevent the spread of disease.  The predicted problem is the development of superbugs or bacteria that are highly resistant to current treatment options.  Recent studies appear to have confirmed what scientists and nutritionalists have warned against:

A strain of the potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacterium known as MRSA has jumped from food animals to humans, according to a new study involving two Northern Arizona University researchers.

Paul Keim, Regents’ professor and director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, and Lance Price, NAU faculty member and director of the Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute, collaborated with scientists at 20 institutions around the world on the study published today in the online journal mBio.

The TGen-led research utilized whole genome sequencing to study 89 genomes from humans and animals—including turkeys, chickens and pigs—with samples from 19 countries on four continents.

The research focused on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398, also known as pig MRSA or livestock-associated MRSA because it most often infects people with direct exposure to swine or other food animals. It is likely that MRSA CC398 started as an antibiotic-susceptible strain in humans before it jumped to food animals.

After transferring to food animals, MRSA CC398 became resistant to two important antibiotics, tetracycline and methicillin, which are used for treating staph infections. The resistance likely is a result of the routine antibiotic use that characterizes modern food animal production. The animals commonly are given antibiotics to prevent infection and promote growth.

Keim, who also serves as director of TGen’s Pathogenic Genomics Division, said the study describes evolution in action. “The most powerful force in evolution is selection. And in this case, humans have supplied a strong force through the excessive use of antibiotic drugs in farm animal production. It is that inappropriate use of antibiotics that is now coming back to haunt us.”

Price, the study’s lead author, said the research was “like watching the birth of a superbug—it is simultaneously fascinating and disconcerting.” He said that while this strain of MRSA was discovered less than a decade ago it appears to be spreading very quickly.

“Our findings underscore the potential public health risks of widespread antibiotic use in food animal production,” Price said. “Staph thrives in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Add antibiotics to that environment and you’re going to create a public health problem.”

This is micro-evolution in action and provides a frightening look at the potential for health crisis and motivates an evaluation of our diet options.

Hair loss more prevalent than most realize

I’ve read about the link between diabetes and hair loss or baldness based upon hormonal imbalance, stress and peripheral vascular disease.  The information below was sent to me and provides an interesting but broad view of the problem.

Via: Canada Drug Center

 

The Yo-Yo Diet Returns Again (and Again)

Have you struggled with yo-yo dieting and weight-loss frustrations?  Are you concerned about your weight but are not sure what to do?

Millions of Americans share your struggle to shed the extra pounds gained so easily in the age of fast and processed food, supersized proportions, and sugar laden beverages.  We are a society that has uncovered the link between obesity and diabetes as a result of our prosperity and dietary indulgences.

Diets come and go and so does the weight.  Rapidly losing pounds through radical and unsustainable diets inevitably fails and often leads to a return to the same or higher weight.  In fact, over 90% of dieters regain lost weight within one year.

Experts have analyzed the situation and have lucid explanations for the yo-yo effect.  I’m going to give you my opinion built only on my own experience.

First, short-term extreme dieting can’t be sustained and therefore does not lead to a change in eating, sleeping and exercise habits.  The same behaviors that led to long-term weight gain return unless new patterns are formed.  In particular, the use of food to deal with stress or as the basis for social interactions is deeply rooted and difficult to modify unless done in a purposeful manner with long-term health in view.

Second, crash dieting often involves severe calorie restrictions which leads to a reduced base metabolic rate (BMR), according to recent studies.  In other words, your body automatically adapts to low calorie situations by using less energy.  As a result, after an initial diet induction phase, often associated with rapid weight-loss, progress is slow.  And, a return to former daily calorie intake may (I’m theorizing) lead to a greater energy imbalance resulting in rapid weight gain.  The equation for fat gain looks something like:  (calories stored as fat) = (consumed calories) – BMR – (calories used during activity).  So, reducuing your BMR increases the likelihood of future weight gain if old habits return.

Short-term dieting for the sole purpose of weight loss is one dimensional and does not necessarily have long-term health as its objective.  Weight or BMI may be associated with risk factors but these are not a comprehensive health metric.  Overall health should be in view which may actually preclude some weight-loss strategies.

Over the past year I have had success that was built on a change in eating habits, a reduction in processed and fast foods, the introduction of sustainable exercise programs and consideration of sleeping patterns.  I’m working on a post outlining the choices that were particularly helpful and some that were not… stay tuned.

 

Forever Fat?

I understand that maintaining a healthy weight following a successful weightless diet is difficult but this seems overly pessimistic:

Researchers claim that fat people, who lose weight either by dieting or exercising, will put it all back on again within a year.

The article does back off from the overarching generalization but claims that those of us who lose weight don’t have a chance to keep it off long term. Something tells me there is a great opportunity for a service industry to help dieters meet this daunting challenge. Anyone interested?

A Diet Soda Free Life

My Life without diet coke is still sweet

A few days ago a mentioned my one remaining nutritional vice. To be more accurate I should have said diet soda is/was my biggest vice. I’m now on day three w/out the aspartame laden beverage and not yet enjoying life w/out it.  However, I am noticing a number of positives:

First, I’m saving the cost of several diet cokes including expensive impulse purchases at the check-out counter.

Second, it may be my imagination, but I simply don’t seem to be as hungry through-out the day.

Third, although I’ve replaced diet drinks with water, I’m not nearly as thirsty.

There’s nothing scientific about what I’ve written – it’s my anecdotal experience that began when two credible studies were reported that pointed out unintended physiological consequences of drinking diet softdrinks (and other products using aspartame).

I’m not sure I will remain diet soda free for life but want to give my current lifestyle change a couple of weeks.

As always, thanks for reading.

You’ll be interested to know …

Kids and adults who eat candy tend to be …. thinner?  How can that be?

The American diet – not good.  But, as it turns out, American’s are not having a problem with portion control.  Instead, we’re eating too many portions (snacks).

Coffee, known for great health benefits, protects the brain from Alzheimer’s

Diet soda – not good for dieters (or anyone else)

Recent studies confirm that it is probably best to say no to the “potato” and that that the french fry is worse than the cigarette.

Adult stem cells appear to show the most promise for diabetes treatment

My Top Reasons for Eating Breakfast – and why you should too

Prediabetes Treatment – improves health and is cost effective!

Diet Soda’s Unintended Deleterious Effect?

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In the every evolving world of medical research, reports that diet soda is linked to weight gain and increased fasting glucose level have periodically been reported. At the same time, contradictory articles suggest that as an alternative to sugar laden (fully leaded) soda, diet soft drinks have an advantage.

One of the reasons this topic interests me is that diet soda remains one of the few vices left in my daily nutritional regimen. Out of the picture are fast foods, deserts, simple carbs, chips, potato/French fries and alcohol. However, I partake in diet cola through-out the day.

New research is being reported at the 2011 American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions by epidemiologists from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio that suggests diet soda is no friend to those pre-disposed to Type 2 Diabetes:

In the constant battle to lose inches or at least stay the same, we reach for the diet soda. Two studies presented Saturday [June 25] at the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions suggest this might be self-defeating behavior.

Epidemiologists from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio reported data showing that diet soft drink consumption is associated with increased waist circumference in humans, and a second study that found aspartame raised fasting glucose (blood sugar) in diabetes-prone mice.

To their statistically based results, the authors added comment and drama:

“Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised,” said Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D., professor and chief of the Division of Clinical Epidemiology in the School of Medicine. “They may be free of calories but not of consequences.”

Here are the details

Human study: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging

To examine the relationship between diet soft drink consumption and long-term change in waist circumference, the Health Science Center team assessed data from 474 participants in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging, or SALSA. This is a large, population-based study of the disablement process in elderly Mexican Americans and European Americans. Dr. Hazuda, senior author of the presentation, is SALSA’s principal investigator and has led the study for two decades.

Measures of height, weight, waist circumference and diet soda intake were recorded at SALSA enrollment and at three follow-up exams that took place over the next decade. The average follow-up time was 9.5 years. The researchers compared long-term change in waist circumference for diet soda users versus non-users in all follow-up periods. The results were adjusted for waist circumference, diabetes status, leisure-time physical activity level, neighborhood of residence, age and smoking status at the beginning of each interval, as well as sex, ethnicity and years of education.

Diet soft drink users, as a group, experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. Frequent users, who said they consumed two or more diet sodas a day, experienced waist circumference increases that were 500 percent greater than those of non-users.

Abdominal fat is a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic conditions. “These results suggest that, amidst the national drive to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, policies that would promote the consumption of diet soft drinks may have unintended deleterious effects,” the authors wrote.

Co-authors include Sharon P. Fowler, M.P.H., faculty associate, and Ken Williams, M.S., P.Stat., adjunct assistant professor and biostatistician, in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology.

Mouse study: Aspartame consumption in diabetes-prone mice

In the related project, Ganesh Halade, Ph.D., Gabriel Fernandes, Ph.D., the senior author and professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology, and Fowler studied the relationship between oral exposure to aspartame and fasting glucose and insulin levels in 40 diabetes-prone mice. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener widely used in diet sodas and other products.

One group of the mice ate chow to which both aspartame and corn oil were added; the other group ate chow with the corn oil added but not the aspartame. After three months on this high-fat diet, the mice in the aspartame group showed elevated fasting glucose levels but equal or diminished insulin levels, consistent with early declines in pancreatic beta-cell function. The difference in insulin levels between the groups was not statistically significant. Beta cells make insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar after a meal. Imbalance ultimately leads to diabetes.

“These results suggest that heavy aspartame exposure might potentially directly contribute to increased blood glucose levels, and thus contribute to the associations observed between diet soda consumption and the risk of diabetes in humans,” Dr. Fernandes said.

These two translational research studies resulted from collaboration between Fowler and Drs. Hazuda and Fernandes and their research teams. The Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS) funded the work. IIMS is the Health Science Center entity that oversees the university’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), a National Institutes of Health-funded program to encourage the rapid translation of scientific discoveries from the laboratory through the testing process and to practical application for the health of communities.

I’m not a medical expert in the field but wonder if (1) there are assumptions related to outcomes revealed by the following, “might potentially directly contribute” and “may have unintended deleterious effects”. In addition, the human study did not establish causality or an underlying mechanism which would conclusively reveal diet soda consumption causes weight gain (or waist circumference increase).

Never-the-less, it does seem clear that there is a strong relationship between obesity and diet soda and that there is an unintended physiological response associated with aspartame consumption that is both unintended and undesirable.

Now, will this lead to a change in your consumption of diet soda?

As for me, I’m going to eliminate the drink from my diet and report back to you the impact.

 

Google Health

After the early start-up days, Google, like many larger companies, has struggled with adjacent markets. The company missed the boat on social media and GoogleWave was a disaster. That said, their indexing and search, translation, mail, online office, webmaster tools, advertising and VOIP are best in class.

I think it is healthy for a tech company to fail once in a while… it shows their willingness to take chances, etc. rather than acquire (and stagnate) successful start-ups.

FDA Wants Artificial Pancreas Approval

An artificial pancreas, as commonly reported, is a medical device that is worn and attached to a person.  It autonomously changes the insulin administered to a person with diabetes in response to glucose measurements, which are measured automatically.

The system has a few basic components that include a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a continuous subcutaneous insulin pump and a control system that determines the rate of insulin infusion given the measured glucose through time.  An artificial pancreas will also include a display, communication system, overrides, alarms, fail safes, and controls for user input (i.e., for indicating meals, exercise, etc).  However, the fundamental components are the three I mentioned.

Despite decades of research, the three basic components as a whole may not be ready for complete autonomous application.  Insulin pumps are quite reliable and control algorithms have reportedly been developed that effectively achieve a target range while avoiding hypoglycemia.  However, continuous measurement of blood glucose through current subcutaneous sensing technology has proven to be quite challenging .

That said, researchers are now entering what appears to be the final stretch to bring an artificial pancreas (or a system that at least reduces insulin in response to low glucose) to the FDA…. And, we want it:

Teenaged delegates from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation testified on Capitol Hill, urging Congress to accelerate research and review of artificial pancreas systems for managing insulin for patients with type 1 diabetes.

“After participating in clinical research since I was three years old, I can honestly say the closed loop artificial pancreas trial was the most amazing experience of my entire life and holds so much promise for people living with this disease,” said Kerry Morgan, a 17-year-old JDRF Children’s Congress delegate from Glen Allen, Va., who testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs this week.

Would you be surprised to learn that the FDA wants it too:

FDA WANTS APPROVAL, TOO

Charles “Chip” Zimliki, chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Artificial Pancreas Critical Path Initiative, which was created in 2006 to accelerate the availability of an artificial pancreas system, says he is eager to have a system approved.

“The FDA wants the artificial pancreas on the market as much as anyone else does. We just have to operate within U.S. laws to make sure it is safe and effective,” Zimliki said.

Last week, the agency released guidance for how to develop a low glucose suspend system, an automatic shut-off mechanism used with an insulin pump. Medtronic already sells pumps with this the feature in Europe. It safeguards against a dangerous drop in glucose levels by temporarily halting glucose delivery.

By year-end, FDA plans to release detailed guidance on more complicated closed-loop systems, Zimliki said.

“We think of this system, the artificial pancreas, as one unit. There is going to have to be agreement among various companies to determine who is the reporting party for submitting it,” he said.

“That is a relatively new idea with respect to these systems.”

Zimliki, who is a type 1 diabetic, thinks the first approved devices will be ones that deliver insulin only, but he is very encouraged by the system being developed by the team at Boston University and Massachusetts General.

“They have what I call the Cadillac of closed-loop systems,” he said. In addition to delivering insulin, the device also delivers an infusion of glucagon, a hormone released by the pancreas to raise blood sugar levels.

“They are showing some very promising results,” he said.

See the JDRF more more information on this project and the latest FDA guidance.

Diabetes Mine has an interesting post and interview with the principle investigators from Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital (see the youtube video).

A “Cure” for Type 2 Diabetes

In case you haven’t already heard, researchers are now reporting that Type 2 Diabetes may (possibly) be reversed by a restricted low-calorie diet:

Adhering to the strict 600 calorie-a-day diet causes fat levels in the pancreas to plummet, restoring normal function, found Prof Roy Taylor of Newcastle University.

The discovery, a “radical change” in understanding of the condition, holds out the possibility that sufferers could cure themselves – if they have the willpower.

Until recently received medical wisdom was that Type 2 diabetes was largely irreversible.

But this small-scale study indicates that defeating it could be easier than commonly thought.

Prof Taylor asked 11 volunteers, all recently diagnosed, to go on what he admitted was an “extreme diet” of specially formulated drinks and non-starchy vegetables, for eight weeks.

Hyscience comments:

As the article goes on to point out, the trial study involved only 11 patients that ate a “meal-replacement” milkshake of 150 calories three times a day. This was supplemented with three portions of non-starchy vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. After one week, their pre-breakfast blood sugar levels had returned to normal and an MRI scan revealed that the fat levels in the pancreas were also normal, down from around eight per cent to six per cent.

Notes to self:

  • Great news – perhaps (I think)
  • “small-scale study” –  The smaller the study the less likely the results will be supported over time, esp. considering all of the potential influential factors.  Something like 33% of all reported major medical studies is contradicted within five years.
  • Radical change in management – pharma and device companies may need to revisit their strategic roadmap if this research is supported by larger scale studies

 

Low Glucose Suspend – FDA Guidance

While complications of diabetes are understood and have been tied to the cost of providing healthcare, trends indicate the incidence Diabetes Mellitus in the United States and other developing countries is growing at an alarming rate.

There is so much about diabetes that is understood, predicted and recommended and yet management continues to be a challenge.  Could it be that better tools are needed?

To meet the challenge, researchers have been developing technology based tools that will help manage the disease through automation. That is, automatically administering an appropriate amount of insulin in response to a person’s glucose level and carbohydrate intake.

Often called the “artificial pancreas”, such systems combine continuous glucose measurement systems (CGM), insulin pumps (giving continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion) and advanced algorithms to give insulin dosing recommendations and stop infusion when a hypoglycemic event is predicted. The latter is called a “low glucose suspend” (LGS) device and provides benefit as a result of its autonomous action aimed at avoiding low blood sugar (predictively) or reducing the impact of hypoglycemia in a reactive manner.

Yesterday, the FDA release a new guidance document that will help medical device manufacturers submit their artificial pancreas-like product for review. The move is encouraging for a number of reasons. First, the agency is agreeing that automation has a role in the marketplace and is encouraging a path forward. Second, progress has been made and interest expressed to the point that the FDA felt is necessary to invest in guidance.

On the other-hand, there are a number of challenges the agency suggests must be remedied involving CGMs:

  • Using the same CGM to measure success and to make decisions about if and when to turn the pump off will introduce bias. Although the size of the bias may or may not be large, determining the extent of the bias will be impossible without an independent measure.
  • Although CGMs have been successful in improving diabetes management through their tracking and trending functions, these devices have not been shown to be accurate enough to support use for insulin dosing.
  • The glucose meters used to calibrate the CGMs also have inaccuracies that can compound the errors in the glucose values reported by the CGM and are part of the device system.
  • Use of retrospective signal calibration using reference blood glucose values or introducing a reference method to be performed by the patients may be possible solutions if the approach is appropriately validated.
  • CGMs have periods of sensor irregularities and signal drop out. These sensor performance problems arise in addition to sensor accuracy challenges and would need to be resolved and/or mitigated.

But are they effective enough to “pause” an insulin infusion?  Perhaps, but what if users begin to rely on a “pause” as their safety net even though CGMs have the issues listed above?

From an altruistic standpoint, advances in this area will help those suffering from Diabetes and in particular individuals who are unable to properly treat their disease (esp. children). From a business stand-point, a revolutionary product that is intuitive, effective and safe will provide a huge advantage in a market that seems stuck on the stick meter.

 

 

Type 2 Diabetes – an autoimmune disease

Type 2 diabetes is in the process of being redefined as an autoimmune disease rather than just a metabolic disorder.

A recent study, appearing in Nature Magazine, showed that an antibody called anti-CD20, which targets and eliminates mature B cells in the immune system, stopped diabetes type 2 developing in lab mice prone to develop the disease, and restored their blood sugar level to normal:

Chronic inflammation characterized by T cell and macrophage infiltration of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is a hallmark of obesity-associated insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Here we show a fundamental pathogenic role for B cells in the development of these metabolic abnormalities. B cells accumulate in VAT in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice, and DIO mice lacking B cells are protected from disease despite weight gain. B cell effects on glucose metabolism are mechanistically linked to the activation of proinflammatory macrophages and T cells and to the production of pathogenic IgG antibodies. Treatment with a B cell–depleting CD20 antibody attenuates disease, whereas transfer of IgG from DIO mice rapidly induces insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Moreover, insulin resistance in obese humans is associated with a unique profile of IgG autoantibodies. These results establish the importance of B cells and adaptive immunity in insulin resistance and suggest new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for managing the disease.

One of the many reasons that this is significant is that it could lead to future novel treatments.

French Fry – worse than a cigarette?

I don’t think the comparison is entirely fair and perhaps a case of apples vs oranges but it is one that I’ve heard.  Regardless, french frys have got to be one of the most unhealthy sides in Western cuisine.  First, as a simple sugar, the potato is an icon of high glycemic index for those who maintain a lower carb diet.  The starch in potatoes is rapidly digested and hits the blood sugar about as fast as sugar (my experience).

So, take something akin to a piece of candy and deep fry it in grease and pour salt on top (and/or cheese) and you get the American french fry.  High carb, high fat and high sodium.

All that said, there are variants of fries that are better than others and many fast food restaurants have taken steps to reduce the amount of saturated fat while maintaining high standards regarding the purity of the cooking oil.  All the info you need is here.

Who has the worst eating habits?

When I think about bad eating habits the following immediately come to mind:

  1. Skipping Breakfast
  2. Fast Food and, in particular, supersizing
  3. Fried Food
  4. Soda
  5. Unbalanced emphasis on simply carbohydrates
  6. Snacking late at night, especially on sweets
  7. Lack of fruits and vegetables
  8. Eating to relieve stress
  9. Overeating

Poor eating habits often are influenced by one’s access to quality food, as suggested by USDA reports to congress.

In the U.S., this is really not an excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle but does mean we have to work a little harder to improve our health through the right nutritional choices.  Only a small percentage of Americans are actually constrained to the point that they cannot obtain healthy and nutritious food.

And, it is poor eating habits – our choices – that are leading to obesity and related health problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, cancer and coronary artery disease.   The overall spending related to our choices is quoted in the $147 billion range.

The nutritional portion could be measured by the amount of soda, fast food and sweets consumed, which is exactly what a recent report did last month that lists the 10 states with the worst eating habits.

10. New Mexico

Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $737 (8th most)

Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 58 (12th least)

Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 111 (13th least)

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Adding Alcohol Reduces Diabetes Risk

The age old question of alcohol consumption, diabetes, risk factors, insulin resistance and complications.  I personally enjoy a beer – once every couple of months – but don’t make alcohol part of my normal routine.  However, researchers have completed a massive study involving 38,000 men over a four years period and found that those increased their alcohol consumption had a lower incidence of Diabetes:

RESULTS A total of 1,905 cases of type 2 diabetes occurred during 428,497 person-years of follow-up. A 7.5 g/day (approximately half a glass) increase in alcohol consumption over 4 years was associated with lower diabetes risk among initial nondrinkers (multivariable hazard ratio [HR] 0.78; 95% CI: 0.60–1.00) and drinkers initially consuming <15 g/day (HR 0.89; 95% CI: 0.83–0.96), but not among men initially drinking ≥15 g/day (HR 0.99; 95% CI: 0.95–1.02; Pinteraction < 0.01). A similar pattern was observed for levels of total adiponectin and hemoglobin A1c, with a better metabolic profile among abstainers and light drinkers who modestly increased their alcohol intake, compared with men who either drank less or among men who were already moderate drinkers and increased their intake. Likewise, compared with stable light drinkers (0–4.9 g/day), light drinkers who increased their intake to moderate levels (5.0–29.9 g/day) had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes (HR 0.75; 95% CI: 0.62–0.90).

CONCLUSIONS Increases in alcohol consumption over time were associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes among initially rare and light drinkers. This lower risk was evident within a 4-year period following increased alcohol intake.

The results does seem consistent with what we’ve seen in the past with the exception that an increase rather than absolute consumption was studied. I don’t know that this should motivate a change in dietary habits for those who are undiagnosed or have pre-diabetes but it certainly will be used by some to justify their chosen lifestyle.

 

Lipitor increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

A study appearing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that high doses of Lipitor may be linked to an increased risk in developing Type 2 Diabetes:

We used a standard definition of diabetes and excluded patients with prevalent diabetes at baseline. We identified baseline predictors of new-onset T2DM and compared the event rates in patients with and without new-onset T2DM.

High-dose atorvastatin treatment compared with placebo in the SPARCL trial is associated with a slightly increased risk of new-onset T2DM. Baseline fasting glucose level and features of the metabolic syndrome are predictive of new-onset T2DM across the 3 trials.

Of course, this is not the first study that has suggested this type of connection.  However, consider …

But it also suggests that the risk may largely exist among people who also have the well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes — including excess weight, high blood sugar, elevated triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and high blood pressure.

Those four factors appear “very good at distinguishing people at high or low risk for developing new-onset diabetes with atorvastatin,” lead researcher Dr. David D. Waters, of the University of California at San Francisco, told Reuters Health in an email.

So managing those risk factors — by shedding excess pounds, for example — would be important for curbing any extra diabetes risk, Waters said.

He also stressed that the diabetes risk tied to statins is small.

“An important point,” Waters said, “is that the risk of developing new-onset diabetes and its complications (is) greatly outweighed by the benefit of statins in reducing cardiac death, heart attack and stroke.”

In other words, Waters claims that the risk of diabetes is less than the risk of cardiac or stroke events if Lipitor is not used.

 

 

Biomarkers Predict Diabetes – new study

predicting diabetes through biomakersLike me, you may be drawn to new technologies surrounding diabetes diagnosis and management.  Consequently, this Massachusetts General Hospital study involving the early recognition of Type 2 Diabetes on the basis of biomarkers is fascinating.

Basically, the study authors performed  ”metabolomics” on data from 2,422 individuals, which means, they profiled their metabolic status from blood samples and did so  over a 12 year period.

Ten percent of the studied population developed diabetes.

The investigation found that specific amino acids were correlated with the future onset of diabetes.  These included isoleucine, leucine, valine, tyrosine and phenylalanine.  The combined level of three of these were able to identify individual with a five-fold risk of diabetes.

The results underscore that diabetes is not simply a disease about high blood sugar but involves a number of factors which includes amino acid metabolism.

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