Tag Archives: diabetes

$11.8 Million Contract Funds Microbiome Work in Type 1 Diabetes

Captured by Baylor College of Medicine

An $11.8 million, three-year contract with the http://www.nih.govwww.nih.gov and the University of South Florida in Tampa will enable the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to help determine if and how the communities of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other single-celled organisms that inhabit the body (the microbiome) affect the risk of, or are associated with, development of type 1 diabetes—a disease that usually starts in childhood or young adulthood.

“The goal of this research is to look for microbial association and a potential viral trigger for the initiation of this disease in people who are genetically susceptible to it,” said Dr. Joseph Petrosino, director of the CMMR and an assistant professor of molecular virology & microbiology, molecular and cellular biology at BCM. Dr. Richard E. Lloyd, professor of molecular virology & microbiology at BCM is a co-principal investigator on the project, and Dr. Rob Knight, associate professor of molecular biophysics at University of Colorado in Boulder, is a lead co-investigator.

Others working with Petrosino at Baylor include Dr. Aleksandar Milosavljevic, associate professor of molecular and human genetics, who will provide analysis of the data, and Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the Baylor Human Genome Sequencing Center, where the sequencing will take place.

The contract is part of The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young project funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. The international project involves clinical centers at the University of Colorado in Denver; the Medical College of Georgia (involving Florida and Georgia); Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute in Seattle, Washington; the University of Turku in Finland, the Diabetes Research Institute based in Munich, Germany; and Lund University in Malmo, Sweden. The data coordinating center is at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Dr. Jeffrey Krischer is director of the data coordinating center and the study co-chair of the TEDDY project.

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Patients with Diabetes May Not Receive Best Treatment to Lower Heart Disease Risk; One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Captured by University of Michigan Health System

For some people with diabetes, there may be such a thing as too much care.

Traditional treatment to reduce risks of heart disease among patients with diabetes has focused on lowering all patients’ blood cholesterol to a specific, standard level. But this practice may prompt the over-use of high-dose medications for patients who don’t need them, according to new research from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS) and the University of Michigan Health System.

The study encourages a more individualized approach to treatment that adjusts treatment according to the patient in order to improve the quality of care. The findings appear in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Authors also suggest that blanket goals routinely used to lower heart attack risks may unnecessarily expose some patients to potential adverse side effects of high-dose medications. Researchers also note that when these standard goals are used to assess whether a health provider delivered high quality care, they may encourage overly aggressive treatment.

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Future Wellness Efforts May Include Advice Based on Genes

Captured by the Los Angeles Times

As medical advances continue to deliver ever-more effective treatments for symptoms and diseases, some doctors say it’s time to focus on keeping people from getting sick in the first place. In other words: Prevention needs to be the priority of the future.

Money is a major motivator. Americans spend more than $2.6 trillion on healthcare every year. That’s twice as much as other developed countries, says Dr. James Marks, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Group in Princeton, N.J. Yet the U.S. ranks dismally low on measures of longevity, infant mortality and other health outcomes.

“The amount of money we spend on illnesses we know how to prevent is staggering,” says Dr. Lloyd Michener, a family physician and community health researcher at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

In every demographic category, research suggests, we can do better at keeping people well. A study published this spring by the Urban Institute Health Policy Center in Washington, D.C., for instance, found that nearly a quarter of healthcare costs spent on state employees in California went toward treating preventable diseases.

A focus on prevention could also allow the healthcare system to deliver better and more personalized care to people who need it most.

“It’s about broadening our perspective to realize that what has the biggest potential to really impact our health is not just about treating a body part after it gets sick,” says Dr. Denise Koo, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Here’s a look at some of the ways preventive care will improve in the future.

Making better choices

Most efforts at prevention will be focused on real-world choices that can help keep us healthy. If we can change our habits, rethink our communities and revamp our relationships with our doctors, some experts say, we could be entering a new era of health.

Close to half of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and about half of all cancers are preventable, says Christina Clarke, an epidemiologist at Stanford University and a research scientist with the Cancer Prevention Institute of California.

Tobacco use accounts for a major chunk of those cases — it contributes to 10 types of cancer, along with cardiovascular disease, lung disease, low bone density and other problems, according to a recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths in this country, and quitting reduces risks substantially.

Beyond cigarettes, diet and exercise are the next frontier. More than one-third of American adults and more than 15% of kids are obese, and they face an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, various cancers and type 2 diabetes.

If all Americans stopped smoking, exercised more and ate better, RWJF estimates, we could eliminate 80% of cases of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancers.

“We can help engineer our communities to help people make healthy choices,” Marks says. “If we do that, we can have a profound effect.” Read more…

Video Game Players Advancing Genetic Research

Source: McGill University

Thousands of video game players have helped significantly advance our understanding of the genetic basis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer over the past year. They are the users of a web-based video game developed by Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl of the McGill School of Computer Science and collaborator Mathieu Blanchette. Phylo is designed to allow casual game players to contribute to scientific research by arranging multiple sequences of coloured blocks that represent human DNA. By looking at the similarities and differences between these DNA sequences, scientists are able to gain new insight into a variety of genetically-based diseases.

The researchers are releasing the results computed from the solutions collected over the last year today, together with an improved version of Phylo for tablets.

Over the past year, Phylo’s 17,000 registered users have been able to simply play the game for fun or choose to help decode a particular genetic disease. “A lot of people said they enjoyed playing a game which could help to trace the origin of a specific disease like epilepsy,” said Waldispuhl. “There’s a lot of excitement in the idea of playing a game and contributing to science at the same time,” Blanchette agreed. ”It’s guilt-free playing; now you can tell yourself it’s not just wasted time.”

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Study Shows Diabetes Medication Can Reduce Atherosclerosis

There’s new hope for people with diabetes and heart disease, the two most common diseases in the U.S. Doctors are developing a promising new drug that could treat both diseases. doctors at Ohio State University Medical Center may be on the verge of treating both diabetes and heart disease, with one single drug.
In lab tests, researchers found the drug, known as alogliptin not only lowered blood sugar, but also lowered blood pressure. It cut cholesterol by 30% and inflammation by 50%. It even cut down on the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. Sanjay Rajagopalan was interviewed.
This coverage resulted from a multimedia release distributed by OSU Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, available online at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/mediaroom/releases/Pages/Study-Shows-Diabetes-Medication-Can-Reduce-Atherosclerosis.aspx
Broadcast quality video and soundbites available at http://go.osu.edu/HJg

ASU, Pfizer Partner on $5M Type 2 Diabetes Biomarker Project

Captured by Arizona State University

Arizona State University will lead a four-year, $5 million expanded initiative sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to discover proteins, or biomarkers, to help predict cardiovascular disease and to assess potential new treatments in people with type 2 diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. The disease is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation. The national cost of diabetes was an estimated $174 billion in 2007, the majority for direct medical costs.

Controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels is vital for treating diabetes and preventing or slowing complications. However, heart attack and stroke remain leading causes of death in diabetes.

“There are no standard biomarkers to identify people with type 2 diabetes who are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. We assembled a highly integrated, multidisciplinary research team to discover, validate and translate novel protein biomarkers for cardiovascular complications in type 2 diabetes and their use in drug development,” said project leader Randy Nelson, director of the Molecular Biosignatures Analysis Unit at ASU’s Biodesign Institute. Nelson is an expert in proteomics, a scientific discipline that studies the structure and function of the proteins that constitute an organism.

The project is supported under an NIH program that encourages scientists from different disciplines to collaborate on a single, critically important research problem that has the potential to advance clinical research.

“Identifying markers to predict heart and blood vessel diseases in people with type 2 diabetes is challenging but important,” said Salvatore Sechi, Ph.D., who oversees the project for the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  “We are looking to the project’s team of experts in proteomics, drug development, biostatistics and clinical studies to advance the difficult search for markers that may be useful for both diagnosis and for assessing potential new drug therapies.” Read more…

Natural Compound Helps Reverse Diabetes in Mice

Captured by Washington University in St. Louis 

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have restored normal blood sugar metabolism in diabetic mice using a compound the body makes naturally. The finding suggests that it may one day be possible for people to take the compound much like a daily vitamin as a way to treat or even prevent type 2 diabetes.

This naturally occurring compound is called nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN, and it plays a vital role in how cells use energy.

“After giving NMN, glucose tolerance goes completely back to normal in female diabetic mice,” says Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, associate professor of developmental biology. “In males, we see a milder effect compared to females, but we still see an effect. These are really remarkable results. NMN improves diabetic symptoms, at least in mice.”

The research appeared recently online in Cell Metabolism.

Imai says this discovery holds promise for people because the mechanisms that NMN influences are largely the same in mice and humans.

“But whether this mechanism is equally compromised in human patients with type 2 diabetes is something we have to check,” Imai says. “We have plans to do this in the very near future.”

All cells in the body make NMN in a chain of reactions leading to production of NAD, a vital molecule that harvests energy from nutrients and puts it into a form cells can use. Among other things, NAD activates a protein called SIRT1 that has been shown to promote healthy metabolism throughout the body, from the pancreas to the liver to muscle and fat tissue.

According to the study, aging and eating a high-fat diet reduce production of NMN, slowing the body’s production of NAD and leading to abnormal metabolic conditions such as diabetes. NAD cannot be given to the mice directly because of toxic effects. But after administering NMN, levels of NAD rise and the diabetic mice show dramatically improved responses to glucose. In some cases, they return to normal. Read more…

Ancestry Plays Vital Role in Nutrition and Disease, Study Shows

Captured by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Over the past decade, much progress has been made regarding the understanding and promise of personalized medicine. Scientists are just beginning to consider the impact of gene-diet interactions in different populations in regards to disease prevention and treatment.

The latest research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the laboratories of Floyd H. “Ski” Chilton, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology and director of the Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention, and Rasika Mathias, Sc.D, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, reveals how humans of different ancestry process a certain type of fat called polyunsaturated (PUFA) fat.

Importantly, this work suggests that the dramatic increase in a particular type of fatty acid, omega-6 PUFAs, in the American diet, together with a genetic propensity, causes individuals of African descent to more efficiently convert these dietary PUFAs to long chain PUFAs in the human body. Long chain PUFA can then, in turn, be converted to inflammatory messengers. Increased inflammatory messengers have been associated with a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergies and asthma, and diabetes.

The research, described in a manuscript that appears online this month in BMC Genetics, with upcoming publication in The British Journal of Nutrition, finds that populations of African descent have a much higher frequency of the gene variants associated with the conversion of dietary, medium chain omega-6 PUFAs to long chain omega-6 PUFAs that then have the potential to increase inflammation. Medium chain omega-6 PUFAs are found in the American diet in very high concentrations in margarine, vegetable oils, animal fats and processed foods. Read more…

New Research Shows Dramatic Shift in Understanding of Personalized Medicine

Captured by Mount Sinai Medical Center

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in collaboration with researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, have made a critical discovery that may lead scientists to abandon the use of broad conventional ethnic labels—African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian—to estimate a patient’s genetic risk for disease. This first-of-its kind study conducted with diverse patients receiving care at a single urban academic medical center, marks an important step in the clinical application of personalized medicine. The data are published online in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

The Mount Sinai Biobank, a program of the Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, enrolls consented patients representing the diverse communities surrounding The Mount Sinai Medical Center, who confidentially provide DNA and plasma samples to aid in genomic and personalized medicine research. Researchers used state-of-the-art genomic technology to determine the genetic make-up, or genotype, of nearly 1,000 local Biobank participants who self-identified as European American, African-American, or Hispanic. They found that there was a continuum in ancestral genetic heritage at the individual level of African-American and Hispanic patients receiving care at Mount Sinai—meaning considerable fractions of their genome came from mixed European or African ancestry, respectively—and with it genetic variants that indicate risk for developing disease.

“Our data indicate that historical population labels may not be helpful in predicting disease risk or guiding how a patient will respond to certain medications,” said Erwin Bottinger, MD, Director of the Bronfman Institute, and the Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg Professor of Medicine. “Rather, a spectrum of mixed ancestry is emerging in the largest U.S. minority groups. These findings further validate the importance of considering the unique genotype of the individual patient rather than grouping patients by self-reported ethnicity.” Read more…

Treating High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Diabetes May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Captured by the American Academy of Neurology

Treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and other vascular risk factors may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people who already show signs of declining thinking skills or memory problems. The research is published in the April 13, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers followed 837 people with mild cognitive impairment, the stage of memory loss that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Of the group, 414 had at least one vascular risk factor. Participants were given blood tests and a medical history questionnaire and also underwent other tests that measured blood pressure, body mass, memory and thinking skills.

Participants who had vascular risk factors were placed into three groups: those with no risk factors treated, those with some risk factors treated and those with all risk factors treated. Treatment of risk factors included using high blood pressure medicines, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and diet control. Smoking and drinking were considered treated if the person stopped smoking or drinking at the start of the study. Read more…