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More Research of Note

Here's another quick round up of recently published research. Click on the link to see the journal article abstract.

1. Exercise does not change metabolic parameters associated with weight gain or insulin resistance. Birth weight has long been known to correlate with weight gain, and in the case of low birth weight, with increased insulin resistance. The European Youth Heart Study, a population-based study of 9 and 15 year olds (n = 1,254)

...did not find any evidence that physical activity or aerobic fitness can moderate the associations among higher birth weight and increased fat mass and greater waist circumference or between lower birth weight and insulin resistance in healthy children and adolescents.
2. More Evidence of the Desirability of an A1c under 5.7% and the dangers of one over 6.5%. Fourteen years of follow-up of 11,357 participants (773 with a history of diagnosed diabetes) from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study found that the risk for kidney disease and retinopathy rise significantly as A1c goes over 5.7% and dramatically increases when it is 6.5% or higher.

Compared to that of A1c of 5.7% or less, the risk of chronic kidney disease in this population was: 1.12 (0.94–1.34) at A1c 5.7-6.4%. and 1.39 (1.04–1.85) for A1c over ≥6.5%,

Compared to the A1c of 5.7 or less, the risk of End Stage Renal Disease (i.e. Kidney failure) was 1.51 (0.82–2.76)--about 50% higher to almost 3 times higher--for A1c 5.7-6.4%.and 1.98 (0.83–4.73)--twice to almost five times as high--for A1c of 6.5% or higher.

In the absence of diagnosed diabetes, A1c was cross associated with the presence of moderate/severe retinopathy (diabetic retinal damage leading to blindness), with adjusted odds ratios of 1.42 (0.69–2.92) for A1c between 5.8% and 6.4%--averaging about 60% higher but ranging to three times higher. But it was three to seven times as high--risk ratio of 2.91 (1.19–7.11)--3 to 7 times as high for A1c of 6.5% or higher.

3. Higher Levels of Cholesterol of ALL Types Correlates with LESS Likelihood of Alzheimers. It has long been known--though doctors have been brainwashed into ignoring it--that statins can cause permanent dementia, especially in older patients. Could it be because cholesterol is protective to the brain? This study would make you wonder.

It followed 1,130 adults 65 or older in New York City with no history of dementia or cognitive impairment.

Higher levels of HDL-C (>55 mg/dL) were associated with a decreased risk of both probable and possible A[lzheimers] D[isease] and probable AD compared with lower HDL-C levels (hazard ratio, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2-0.9; P = .03 and hazard ratio, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2-0.9; P = .03). In addition, higher levels of total and non–HDL-C were associated with a decreased risk of AD in analyses adjusting for age, sex, education, ethnic group, and APOE e4 genotype.

4. Educational Level Predicts Diagnosis of LADA vs. Type 2. This Norweigian study is titled "High Levels of Education Are Associated With an Increased Risk of Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults", which makes it sound as if somehow the education is raising the risk of this late onset form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes.

However, the result they found might also point to the likelihood that the college educated people, who they mention were also thinner, were more likely to get a correct diagnosis from their doctors because the doctors had more respect for them, and were more willing to put time into getting a correct diagnosis. When doctors see what they perceive as a lower class patient who is overweight, their prejudices (shared with society at large) may make them assume "Type 2" and fail to run the tests that would reveal LADA.

In fact, there are a significant number of overweight and obese people with LADA--all of the ones I've heard from report having a terribly tough time getting the tests that provide the correct diagnosis. Less educated people may be more cowed by doctors' authority and may never get that diagnosis.

5. Yet Another Study Finds Metformin Appears to Fight Cancer. If you've been putting off taking metformin out of fear of pharmaceutical drugs, get over it. The accumulating evidence about Metformin just keeps getting better and better. It's a cheap generic drug that is not making anyone rich, so the chances that this data have been skewed to sell the drug is low.

6. Byetta Slightly Reduces the Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Stenting. Analyzing a large database of insurance claims and prescribing information, it was determined that people prescribed Byetta were sicker to start with--fatter and with pre-existing heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, but they had fewer cardiovascular "events" than controls who didn't take Byetta.

7. The Diabetic Alelles of the TCF7L2 Gene--the One Most Strongly Associated with Diabetes in Western Europeans--Damage Insulin Production, But Have No Effect on Insulin Sensitivity. Other studies have already documented this, but this study in newly diagnosed people with Type 2 diabetes should drive home the message that the old saw that people with Type 2 produce lots of insulin is just plain not true.

That's it for now. I'll be doing further updates each month as the new journals come up.


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