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Diabetes Updates: Today's News About Type-2 & Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus

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Merck Patent on Mevacor Lovastatin Ending, Asks FDA to Permit Sales Over-the-Counter Without Prescriptions

FDA - Jan. 19, 2008 WASHINGTON (AP By Lauran Neergaard) - The government is questioning if too many of the wrong people will take cholesterol-lowering Mevacor if it's sold without a prescription, days before Merck & Co. (MRK) makes its third try to move the drug over the counter. Merck says selling a low dose of this long-used medication on drugstore shelves, next to the aspirin, could get millions of people at moderate risk of heart disease important treatment that they otherwise may miss. A preliminary Food and Drug Administration review released Tuesday agreed that nonprescription Mevacor would be "a reasonably safe and effective" option - if consumers used it as directed. But when Merck tested if consumers could judge who was a proper Mevacor candidate, only 20 percent answered all the questions completely correctly - 50 percent if researchers counted people who said they'd check some things with their doctor before purchasing, concluded FDA's lead medical reviewer. Moreover, about 30 percent of people who already were diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or had had a stroke wanted to purchase over-the-counter Mevacor, people who need a doctor's care, the FDA documents say. The studies "have not convinced this reviewer that there is adequate consumer comprehension of the proposed product label to ensure safe and effective use of this product," the preliminary assessment concluded. Merck argues that most people made the right decision on whether they should buy OTC Mevacor even if they missed some answers. On Thursday, Merck will present its case to the FDA's independent scientific advisers ... More »
Merck & Co.'s patent protection for its lovastatin anti-cholesterol product Mevacor was published on Nov. 4, 1980. The active ingredient was derived from cultivation of batches of the fungus Aspergillus and extracting lovastatin from it. While many other patents followed over the years relating to variations of the methods for extraction, and combinations of the drug with other drugs, the basic protection has ended or is now ending around the world for Mevacor and many of its statin competitors. Lovastatin (Merck, Mevacor) expired on June 15, 2001 in the USA, and in 2003 in Europe. Atorvastatin (Pfizer, Lipitor) extended to March 24, 2010 in the USA, and in November, 2011 in Europe. Pravastatin (Sankyo, Pravachol) expired in the USA on April 20, 2006, and on August 9, 2004 in Europe. Simvastatin (Merck) expired in the USA on June 23, 2006 and in June 2004 in Europe.

Diabetes Costs to Be Examined in Congressional Hearing on January 23rd

American Diabetes Association - Jan. 18, 2008

Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death by disease in the United States. Since 1987, the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined. The American Diabetes Association (ADA), members of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus and diabetes experts, will host a congressional briefing, Wednesday, January 23 at 1 p.m. in 2218 Rayburn House Office Building to discuss the annual diabetes cost estimates for 2007, which were compiled in a study by the Lewin Group on behalf of the ADA. During this briefing, speakers will release staggering new figures about the direct and indirect costs of the disease, and reveal the devastating expense incurred by Americans. Invited speakers include leaders from the Congressional Diabetes Caucus: Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Mike Castle (R-DE), Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL); Stewart Perry, Chairman of the Board, ADA; Ann L. Albright, PhD, RD, President, Health Care & Education, ADA; Griffin Rodgers, MD, MACP, Director, National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and Ed Gregg, PhD, Chief, Epidemiology and Statistics Branch, Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... More »

Hot Spots Warn of Diabetic Foot Ulcers

American Diabetes Association AP New Release - Jan. 14, 2008
By LAURAN NEERGAARD WASHINGTON (AP) - Diabetics, watch out: A hot spot on your foot can signal an ulcer is brewing, a wound that could cost your limb. New research shows that using a special thermometer to measure the temperature of their soles can give patients enough early warning to avoid one of diabetes' most intractable complications. It's a simple-sounding protection for such a huge problem. Foot ulcers each year strike 600,000 U.S. diabetics, people slow to notice they even have a wound because diabetes has numbed their feet. "They've lost the gift of pain," says Dr. David Armstrong of Chicago's Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a diabetic foot specialist. Worse, foot ulcers are so slow-healing and vulnerable to infection that they're to blame for most of the roughly 80,000 amputations of toes, feet and lower legs that diabetics undergo each year. So word that an easy-to-use gadget could help is generating excitement. Using the thermometer reduced by nearly two-thirds the number of high-risk patients who got foot ulcers, Armstrong found in a study of 225 diabetic veterans, the third in a series of government-funded research to back the approach. How does it work? Inflammation goes along with tissue injury, and inflammation can be measured by a bump in temperature. It's subtle - a minimum 4-degree difference between, say, your right big toe and your left one that can occur days before the skin breaks. "A wound really will heat up before it breaks down," Armstrong explains. Patients measure half a dozen spots on each foot. When the thermometer signals a hot spot, they put up their feet for a day or so until the temperature normalizes. Easing pressure before the skin cracks lets the body heal more easily than it can with a full-blown wound. "Heat is one of the most sensitive things, one of the first things that happens when we begin to have tissue breakdown," says Dr. Crystal Holmes, a University of Michigan podiatrist who has begun prescribing the thermometers. "It's looking positive that this sort of testing could be quite useful," adds Dr. Theresa Jones, who oversees research on diabetes complications at the National Institutes of Health. "There isn't any other treatment one knows about to (help) at that point before there's an ulcer." This isn't a standard thermometer, but a $150 infrared one with a tip that digitally measures skin temperature ... More »

Lack of Deep Sleep May Lead to Insulin Resistance and Increase Diabetes Risks

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Reuters News Release - Jan. 1, 2008)
CHICAGO (Reuters, By Julie Steenhuysen) - Deep, restful sleep may be important for keeping type 2 diabetes at bay, U.S. researchers said on Monday. [Ed. In research study called "Slow-wave sleep and the risk of type 2 diabetes in humans", published at http://www.pnas.org/, the scientists concluded that the effect was similar to a rapid weight gain of about to 10-15% body weight; for average-sized, 175-lb men.] They said slim, healthy young adults who were deprived of the deepest stage of sleep known as slow-wave sleep developed insulin resistance -- a trait linked to type 2 diabetes -- after just three nights. The effect was comparable to gaining 20 to 30 pounds. "It demonstrates the importance of deep sleep not only for the brain, but for the rest of the body," said Eve Van Cauter, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Earlier studies have shown deep sleep is important for memory and other brain functions, she said in a telephone interview. "It turns out deep sleep also has implications for glucose metabolism and diabetes risk," said Van Cauter, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Type 2 diabetes is associated with excess body weight, a rich diet and a sedentary lifestyle. And poor sleep quality has been linked with changes in appetite and metabolism. Van Cauter's team wanted to see if a disruption in deep sleep could increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Her team studied nine adults between the ages of 20 and 31, who spent two consecutive nights in a sleep lab where they slept undisturbed for 8.5 hours each night. Then, for three nights, the researchers disrupted their sleep with noise just as brain wave activity indicated they were drifting off into deep sleep. The sounds were loud enough to disturb deep sleep, but subtle enough not to wake the study participants. The effect was to reduce slow-wave deep sleep by about 90 percent without altering total sleep time. At the end of each study, the researchers injected a sugar or glucose solution into each subject and measured their blood sugar and response to insulin, the hormone that regulates the glucose. After three nights of disturbed sleep, eight of the nine volunteers had become less sensitive to insulin, without increasing the production of insulin. Since insulin tells the body it has consumed energy, this deficiency can lead to weight gain and diabetes. Reduced sleep often results from obesity and age. While most young adults spend 80 to 100 minutes per night in slow-wave sleep, this decreases to just 20 minutes for adults over 60. "Any condition that involves a decrease in deep sleep is linked to an increase in diabetes risk. That is the case for aging and sleep apnea. This study really demonstrates a causal link," Van Cauter said. At least 194 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the World Health Organization expects the number to rise to more than 300 million by 2025. Most have type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, in which insulin production decreases or the body is becomes less able to use it. ... More »

FDA Allows Corn Oil Containing Products to Claim That Replacing Saturated Fats with Corn Oil May Reduce Risks for Heart Disease. (Could bottled water makers make the same claim?)

FDA.gov - March 26, 2007
[Editorial] In an amazing twist of logic, the FDA has allowed corn oil product makers to print health claims on their labels. The federal agency says that the claim for reducing heart disease risks must include wording that says that the oil would have to replace saturated fats in the diet in order to improve health. The agency said the wording of the health claim should be something like: "Scientific evidence establishes that including corn oil-containing foods in your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease. To achieve such benefits, include slightly less than 1 tablespoon (12 grams) of corn oil per day in your diet while not increasing calories, saturated fat or cholesterol. One serving of this product contains x grams of corn oil. Although there is scientific evidence supporting the claim, the evidence is not conclusive." Other wordings allowed by the FDA letter were: "Substituting corn oil for solid fats may reduce your risk of heart disease." or "Substituting corn oil for fats high in saturated fat may reduce your risk of heart disease." Using this logic, adding a tablespoonful of pure water would reduce risks of heart disease. Could water bottling companies print a claim that their water reduces risks of heart disease? Not likely. That would be probably even too rediculous for the FDA to allow. In fact, the high omega-6 fatty acid content of most vegetable oils, including corn oil -- as well as peanut oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oils, and most other cooking oils -- increases inflammation in the body, leading to higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases associated with inflammation. As we've explained here at Level1Diet.com, eating more oils high in omega-6 fats raises the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats, which blocks the creation of type-1 and type-3 anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, while encouraging the creation of pro-inflammatory type-2 prostaglandins. This leads to persistent low-level inflammation, which leads to most of our degenerative diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke and many others. Instead of discouraging the consumption of corn and other high omega-6 oils, the FDA is cooperating with the corn industry by releasing this fatuous and misleading statement. While technically true, it results in the impression that corn oil is "heart healthy", which is in fact certainly NOT true. Olive oil is healthy. Corn oil is not. America is not covered with vast forests of olive oil trees, but it is covered with fields of corn that are heavily subsidized by the U.S. Treasury. Billions of dollars in tax payer subsidies keep the price of corn artificially low, so that it appears cheaper than imported olive oil. We buy high omega-6 vegetable oils like corn oil instead of olive oil, and save money at the grocery store's cash register only to spend much more later in the hospital, the doctor's office and pharmacy. Is this a corn-spiracy? You be the judge... Read this amazing FDA letter ... More »

Merck's Net Profit Increases to $1.52 Billion from $5.77 Billion in Total Sales - New Profitable Drugs for Cancer, Diabetes and Athsma Raise Revenues

Bloomberg.com - April 20, 2007
Merck & Co.'s first-quarter profit rose 12 percent as demand for asthma and cholesterol drugs along with the cancer vaccine Gardasil made up for the loss of sales of older medicines to generic competition. Net income climbed to $1.7 billion, or 78 cents a share, from $1.52 billion, or 69 cents, a year earlier, Merck said today in a statement. Profit excluding costs from plant closings and job cuts was 84 cents, beating the average estimate of analysts before Merck gave an earnings preview late last week. Sales of the cholesterol pills Vytorin and Zetia, the asthma drug Singulair and Gardasil, which protects against cervical cancer, added to earnings. The new diabetes pill Januvia also contributed. Chief Executive Officer Richard Clark has fired workers and shut plants to help offset the loss of $800 million in revenue from the cholesterol drug Zocor after patent protection ended last year. 'Merck's strong performance is being driven by cost-cutting via restructuring and strong sales of new products, namely Gardasil and Januvia, both of which have $2 billion peak annual sales potential,' said Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan in a research report today. Earnings were also helped by a $188 million gain from selling some of its smaller drugs to Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC. Total revenue increased 6.7 percent to $5.77 billion ... More »

Your Dog or Cat May Be Diabetic: Signs to Look For...

TheAdvertiser.com - April 20, 2007
Many dogs and cats are affected by and diagnosed with diabetes, and it is important to know some of the warning signs to look for in your pet. Most often, the specific disease diagnosed is diabetes mellitus. In dogs the main clinical signs noticed by owners are drinking excessively (polydipsia) and urinating more frequently (polyuria). In more significant cases, the dogs have noticeable weight loss, may appear to have loss of vision and loss of appetite. In cats, the symptoms may be similar, with the increased drinking, urinating, weight loss or weakness/lethargy. Usually, the blood glucose is checked and is higher than 200mg/dL in the dog, and higher than 300mg/dL in the ca,t before they are symptomatic. These blood levels alarm the veterinarian to make a diagnosis. A very important test that is done is a urinalysis. This tests to see if there is actual glucose (sugar) in the urine and if ketones are present in the urine. Glucose normally is lowered by insulin produced by the pancreas; therefore, it must be significantly high for it to spill over into the urine. The urinalysis also tests for ketones in the urine, which would indicate a severe case of diabetes called ketoacidosis and the dog or cat is in a state of shock and toxicity ... More »

About 70% of Americans Are Dieting: Diet Market Sector Expanding to $58 Billion in 2007

PRWeb.com - April 19, 2007
Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., (www.marketdataenterprises.com) a leading market research publisher of service industry studies, has released a new 393-page study entitled: "The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market (9th edition)". This is a complete analysis of the ten major segments of the U.S. diet "industry". "With no end in sight for America's obesity problem, demand remains strong for all kinds of weight loss programs, fueling a $55 billion U.S. industry. America's estimated 72 million dieters—about 70% of whom try to lose weight by themselves, are fickle and shift from fad to fad diet, as evidenced by the Atkins low-carb mania of 2003-2005. These shifts in dieter preferences spells boom or bust for diet companies," according to Research Director, John LaRosa. The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market (9th edition) 2010 Forecast: Marketdata projects 6.0% annual growth for the total U.S. weight loss market, to $68.7 billion by 2010, with growth rates for individual market segments ranging from zero to 16% per year. Marketdata sees somewhat lower growth overall due to the strong probability of a recession by 2009, if not sooner. This will hurt discretionary income and enrollments in structured programs, and dieters will shift to less costly retail and do-it-yourself options such as: meal replacements, OTC diet pills, mail order plans, diet websites, and fad diet books. In addition, there WILL be competition from at least one and probably several new prescription diet drugs that are likely to be approved for sale in the U.S. Major Findings: 1) Marketdata estimates that the total U.S. weight loss market was worth $55.4 billion in 2006. The market should reach $58.7 billion this year and $68.7 bill. by 2010 (see attachment, table). 2) Retail meal replacements… were hit hard by the low-carb craze, but have shown signs of growing once again. We estimate that sales were $1.17 billion in 2006. 3) OTC diet pills market… is in turmoil as the FTC fines marketers $25 million and many brands fight for market share and tinker with non-ephedra ingredients. 4) In 2006, 68% of dieters preferred a diet program they could access from home/online/by phone, and 56% want a plan based on regular (not diet) food. 5) Bariatric surgeries… reached record levels of 177,000 in 2006, representing a $4.4 billion market. However, major insurers still don't cover these surgeries and growth slowed to only 4%. More obese Americans are having the procedure done in Latin America, where the cost is substantially less. 6) Diet food home delivery… grows into an $800 million market segment, fueled by NutriSystem, Jenny Direct, Medifast and a few dozen others. Not all companies provide national delivery. Many only cater to local markets in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York, delivering premium priced gourmet fresh food. The average monthly cost for consumers is $725. 7) Diet soft drinks… Diet sodas' share of all soft drinks has risen to 29.5%, almost the historical peak, and this is forecast to rise to 31%. This segment was worth $19 billion in 2006. 8) Diet drugs… The prescription $459 million diet drugs market did grow somewhat in 2006, but still awaits the FDA's approval of Rimonabant (Acomplia). 9) Market leaders… Weight Watchers ($1.2 bill.), NutriSystem ($568 mill.), LA Weight Loss ($500 mill.), Jenny Craig ($462 mill.), Slim-Fast ($310 mill.), Herbalife ($271 mill. – U.S. diet prods. sales). "Americans are still patronizing scam artists and rip-off weight loss companies as much as they ever have, as they desperately search for the magic formula or plan that makes weight loss effortless," according to Mr. LaRosa ... More »

Germans and Britons Unite to Produce New T-cell Drugs to Prevent Destruction of Pancreas Cells (the Cause of Type-1 Diabetes)

ScienceBusiness.net - April 17, 2007
MediGene AG, through its wholly owned UK subsidiary in Oxford (formerly called Avidex), has announced a funded collaborative research programme with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Through its Industry Discovery and Development Partnership Programme, the JDRF is providing financial support for the advancement of monoclonal T cell receptor (mTCR) therapeutics that aim to prevent the destruction of insulin producing beta cells that occurs with the onset of Type I diabetes. The JDRF will collaborate with MediGene over the next two years to accelerate ongoing proof-of-concept studies into the clinic. "Preventing the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells is a major hurdle in treating type I diabetes," said Ulrich Delvos, MediGene's Chief Operating Officer. "Provided autoimmune destruction can be tamed, both the early diagnosis of pre-diabetic individuals and the recent advances in islet transplantation therapy offer the prospect of patients being able to maintain endogenous insulin production, with consequent improvements in quality of life. MediGene's mTCR technology holds the promise of tackling the underlying cause of this autoimmune disease." MediGene's mTCR therapeutics are based on engineering T-cell receptors into antibody-like proteins that can be used to actively target marketed drugs to target tissues. For its Type I diabetes programme, MediGene is developing specific mTCRs which will be used to both competitively block autoreactive T-cell engagement to beta cells and to selectively target known immunosuppressive agents to the beta cell's local environment. "Targeted delivery of therapeutics is an attractive prospect" ... More »

DNA-Based Test For Assessing Inherited Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

eMaxHealth.com - April 17, 2007
deCODE genetics announced the launch of deCODE T2(TM), a novel DNA-based reference laboratory test for the first common and well-validated genetic risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D). deCODE believes this test may provide an important means to better gauge individual risk of type 2 diabetes and in that help to guide prevention and treatment strategies. The sequence variant detected by deCODE T2(TM) is a single SNP (a one letter variation in the sequence of the genome) in the TCF7L2 gene on chromosome 10. In deCODE's original findings published last year, and in published replications by independent researchers in studies of tens of thousands of people from populations around the globe, between 8-11% of the general population have been shown to carry two copies of the risk variant, but roughly twice that number of type 2 diabetics. In other words, having two copies of the risk variant - a positive result for the deCODE T2(TM) test - has been shown to correspond to an approximate doubling of the likelihood of T2D. Published studies have also demonstrated that testing for the variant detected by deCODE T2(TM) can be used to identify prediabetics at higher than average risk of progressing to full-blown diabetes, and that these same individuals can effectively counteract this added risk through weight loss and through the use of certain medications. "Understanding one's risk of type 2 diabetes is the first step toward enabling more effective prevention. The principal risk factors for type 2 diabetes are well known - obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise - and by addressing these individuals can reduce their risk of becoming diabetic. Family history, part of which involves genetic risk factors, also plays a part. deCODE T2(TM) offers a new tool to help individuals and their doctors bring an understanding of inherited risk into the picture. deCODE T2(TM) is but the first of several DNA-based predisposition tests we have in development for common diseases. We believe that as individuals, doctors and healthcare providers begin to integrate these tests as a part of everyday healthcare - much as cholesterol screening has become a part of understanding and reducing risk of heart disease - these tests may provide major benefit to public health," said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE. deCODE T2(TM) is performed in deCODE's Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory, and must be authorized by a qualified physician. If you are a doctor interested in learning more about deCODE T2(TM) for your patients, or an individual who would like more information to discuss with your doctor, we invite you to visit our website, at http://www.decodediagnostics.com. Individuals can also go to the website of our partner, DNA Direct, at http://www.dnadirect.com, where you will be provided you with all the professional services needed to obtain the test ... More »

New Study Claims That Ethnic Groups and Genes Are Not to Blame For Diabetes

KeepTheDoctorAway.co.uk - April 17, 2007
[Editor's Note: This claim is very controversial, and may result from an improper analysis of the data that claims particular genes are associated with racial groupings. Many scientists report very new research in fact proves that certain genes do pre-dispose an individual to higher risks of developing diabetes (see the story about deCODE above). Broad population studies like this one may not be specific enough to evaluate whether any particular gene is associated with increased diabetic risks. This study below may in fact prove only that specific genes are not associated with any particular race or ethnic group, and that these groups are themselves not well defined. The idea of "race" may be itself a false idea, poorly established in scientific, genetic fact. Type-2 Diabetes does, however, appear to be associated with particular genes, irrespective of ethnicity. An association may also extend to Type-1 Diabetes, perhaps with different genes.] The theory that certain ethnic groups are genetically prone to diabetes is a myth, according to a new international study. The study found no evidence to support the widely held "thrifty genotype theory", which suggests that cycles of feast and famine early in human history created a gene that helps the body use scarce nutrients – a gene that leads to obesity and diabetes in comfortable, inactive modern lifestyles. "Our study challenges the presumption that Native American, Mexican American, African American, Australian Aborigine, or other indigenous groups are genetically prone to diabetes," said anthropologist Michael Montoya. "The evidence demonstrates that higher rates of diabetes across population groups can be explained by non-genetic factors alone." The study helps explain why more than 250 genes have been studied as possible causes of type-2 diabetes, but together these genes explain less than 1 percent of diabetes prevalence worldwide. "When it comes to diabetes, we're finding that genes are no more important for ethnic minorities than for anyone else," said Stephanie Fullerton, a population geneticist at the US University of Washington. Looking at the impact of social and environmental issues, the researchers noted that factors like poverty, housing segregation or poor diet were stronger indicators of diabetes than genes. "Our study shows that by focusing on genes, researchers miss the more significant and alterable environmental causes of diabetes," Montoya said. He added that future research efforts will require interdisciplinary teams that assess social, historical and environmental factors as carefully as researchers have studied the genetic factors. "Poor diet, reduced physical activity, stress, low birth weight and other factors associated with poverty all contribute to the high rate of diabetes in these groups" ... More »

State of Mississippi May Pay for Gastric Weight Reduction Anti-Obesity Surgery for Needy Citizens

Reflector-Online.com - April 17, 2007
Government officials are considering providing funding to citizens who need weight-loss surgeries to decrease obesity rates. According to the state Senate, Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the nation. The idea of funding these surgeries began when the Mississippi House and Senate investigated the State Board of Health and the medical situation in Mississippi, Sen. Steve Holland said. "There was a movement that started in August to fully review the State Board of Health," Holland said. "It was a Senate initiative that eventually made its way to the House of Representatives." The review showed the severity of flaws in Mississippi's health care program is currently in, he said. "The Senate did a review of the Board of Health and saw things that needed to be changed," Holland said. The review instigated a series of hearings which determined what would happen to Mississippi's health care system, he said. "We had to revamp it no matter what," he said. "Extensive hearings, even volumes of hearings, determined that the State Board of Health was in a state of disarray with problems ranging from West Nile, infant mortality and obesity," Holland said. Weight-loss procedures range from lap band reduction to gastric bypass surgery. "We are currently in the largest per-capita percent of our citizens that are morbidly obese," Holland said. A Senate press release states that more than 40 states have an obesity clause in their Medicaid programs. Holland said the Senate has taken the first big step in solving the state's obesity problem by ordering an investigation in which Medicaid would review the benefits of state-funded weight-loss procedures. "We just mandated that the division of Medicaid would bring us back a study on obesity as well as the economic effects of possibly funding weight-loss surgeries" ... More »

Merck restructures R&D as Diabetes drugs fail

In-PharmaTechnologist.com
Early stage testing disappointments of several new anti-diabetes drugs have caused Germany based Merck KGaA to launch a major restructuring of its research facilities, resulting in the closure of several locations. The failed drugs were identified by lab numbers; the insulin mimetic EML 16336 and IDD 676 which was an aldose reductase inhibitor. Previously, another diabetic drug called EML 16257, which was an insulin secretagogue, was dropped from their line-up. Merck sources report that it will turn away from further research for Diabetes drugs, and instead focus on more promising lines of research for the treatment of cancer and other diseases ... More »

Nanogen wins patents for diabetes and Alzheimers biomarkers

SmallTimes.com - Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007
Diagnostic products developer Nanogen Inc. has been issued four patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for inventions related to diabetes and Alzheimers disease biomarkers. The current patents are the most recent in a series describing biomarkers associated with these diseases. U.S. Patent No. 7,179,610, "Complement C3 precursor biopolymer markers indicative of insulin resistance," and U.S. Patent No. 7,132,244, "Betaine/GABA transport protein biopolymer marker indicative of insulin resistance," describe the use of mass spectrometry and time-of-flight detection techniques to identify biopolymers that could potentially be used in the diagnosis of or development of therapeutics for the metabolic conditions Syndrome X and type II diabetes. U.S. Patent No. 7,179,605, "Fibronectin precursor biopolymer markers indicative of Alzheimer's disease," and U.S. Patent No. 7,179,606, "IG heavy chain, IG kappa, IF lambda biopolymer markers indicative of Alzheimer's disease," relate to the identification of protein biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease. Nanogen's ten years of nanotechnology research is ... More »

Diabetes Ranks among Top 5 Health Problems for Schoolchildren

Muncie Free Press - Muncie, IN, USA
Diabetes is the second most chronic disease affecting children, so Indiana's educators and youth workers must arm themselves with the information necessary to help spot children exhibiting symptoms of diabetes, work with parents to manage the condition while children are away from home, and provide nutrition and exercise programs designed to prevent cases of diabetes linked to obesity. That's according to the Indiana Youth Institute's Issue Alert, "A Top Health Concern for Indiana Kids: Know What to Look For; Know What to Do," which looks at a growing concern about the prevalence of diabetes and the high costs of managing the disease. Funding for the Issue Alert was made possible in part by Eli Lilly and Company. The American Diabetes Association estimates that one in three children born in the year 2000 eventually will live with diabetes, which is the single most costly chronic condition in the United States. Indiana faces several challenges in the care and management of diabetes, such as: (1) tests for pre-diabetes and diabetes not being part of the routine physicals given to students entering school or participating in sports because of cost, time constraints and the need for fasting, (2) Indiana's youth obesity rates exceeding the national average, putting more children at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, also known as "adult onset diabetes" because it typically occurs in adults after age 40, (3) the lack of a statewide registry to track the prevalence of diabetes. "The issues raised by this report should not be viewed as an indictment of Indiana's school systems ... More »

Diabetes Risk Factors Develop Earlier In Women Than Men

Full results of the study appear in the February 2007 issue of Diabetes Care, "Sex Differences in Enothelial Function Markers Before Conversion to Pre-Diabetes: Does the Clock Start Ticking Earlier Among Women?"

ScienceDaily.com - Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007
The "diabetes clock" may start ticking in women years in advance of a medical diagnosis of the disease, new research has shown. Epidemiologists at the University at Buffalo have found that newly identified risk factors for diabetes found in the blood, such as markers of endothelial dysfunction, chronic sub-acute inflammation and blood clotting factors, are present early on in women who eventually progress from normal glucose status to the pre-diabetic condition. Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when blood sugar levels are higher than normal (between 100-125 mg/deciliter of blood), but not high enough to indicate full-blown diabetes (over 125 mg/deciliter of blood). The markers weren't associated with progression from normal to pre-diabetic status in men. Results of the study appear in the February 2007 issue of Diabetes Care. "This is one of the first reports to show that otherwise healthy women are more likely than men to show elevated levels of endothelial factors and other markers of progression to pre-diabetes," said lead author Richard Donahue, Ph.D., professor of social and preventive medicine and associate dean for research in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions. "Because these pre-diabetic markers are not routinely assessed, and because diabetes is strongly linked with coronary heart disease, the study may help explain why the decline in death rates for heart disease in diabetic women lags behind that of diabetic men," he said. "Previous research had shown that hypertension and cholesterol were elevated among women who later developed diabetes. However, current findings that these novel risk factors [markers of endothelial dysfunction, chronic sub-acute inflammation and blood clotting factors] are elevated among women even earlier than previously recognized does suggest that the 'diabetes clock' starts ticking sooner for women than for men." The study involved 1,455 healthy participants originally enrolled in the Western New York Study, a case-control investigation of patterns of alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease conducted from 1996-2001. In the current study all participants were free of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and known cardiovascular disease. They received a physical examination when they entered the study and again for this six-year follow-up. Standard measures -- height, weight, waist girth, blood pressure -- were taken, plus blood samples to determine concentrations of fasting glucose and insulin, specific proinflammatory markers, C-reactive protein and markers of dysfunction in the endothelial tissue, the tissue lining blood vessels. Results showed that 52 women and 39 men had progressed from normal blood glucose levels to pre-diabetic status during the previous six years. Donahue said the question of what explains the sex difference remains to be determined ... More »

"Let's Ban Big Macs" Says Prince Charles, But His Duchy Originals Cornish Pastys Are Even More "Pro-Diabetic" Than McDonald's Burger

DailyMail.co.uk - Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007
He's a tireless champion of organic farming and healthy eating. So it was perhaps no surprise when Prince Charles launched an attack on the fast-food industry. But when he went as far as suggesting that McDonald's should be banned, it seemed that the prince had bitten off far more than he could chew. He immediately laid himself open to charges of hypocrisy after it was pointed out that the company's signature Big Mac contains fewer calories, fats and salt than some products in his own organic Duchy Originals food range. His Cornish pasty contains 264 calories per 100g compared to the burger's 229 calories, and 5.5g of saturated fat as opposed to the Big Mac's 4.14g. The prince's comments regarding McDonald's, the world's biggest fastfood chain, came during an event to promote better public health on the penultimate day of his tour of the Gulf. Charles met nutritionist Nadine Tayara at a new centre to combat diabetes in Abu Dhabi set up by Imperial College London. Miss Tayara was showing him how local schoolchildren were being encouraged to put fresh fruit and salads in their lunch-boxes each day instead of eating fast food, when he remarked: "Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That is the key." His off-the-cuff remark immediately put him on collision course with the company, which has not shied away from issuing lawsuits against critics in recent years. A McDonald's spokesman said the company was "disappointed" at the prince's remarks and pointed out that several members of his family have been regular customers over the years.

The Unhealthy "Pro-Diabetic" Details
A Side-by-Side Comparison

Neither is healthy, but His is worse!
Not as sweet, but higher in Saturated Fats, Salt & Calories
McDonald's
Big Mac
 Prince Charles'
Cornish Pasty
  Calories: 229     Calories: 264 -> 15% Higher
  Sugar: 4.17g     Sugar: 2g -> 52% Lower
  Fat: 11.12g     Fat: 13.6g -> 22% Higher
  Sat. Fat: 4.17g     Sat. Fat: 5.5g -> 31% Higher
  Salt: 0.93g     Salt: 1.25g -> 25% Higher


The spokesman declined to comment on the relative "healthiness" gap between the royal pasty and the company burger. Prince Harry was recently photographed nipping off from a polo match to buy a burger and some chicken nuggets and, as a boy, was a regular visitor to the fast food outlet with his mother, the late Princess of Wales, and brother William. The Prince was accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, to the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre. The facility opened in June last year with mainly British medical staff and specialises in the treatment of diabetes as well as research and education. A Clarence House spokesman said after the visit: "The Prince of Wales believes very strongly in the importance of a balanced diet for everyone, especially children. "In visiting the diabetes centre today, he was keen to draw attention to this very important issue, particularly the need for children to enjoy the widest possible variety of food and not eat any particular food to excess." But the spokesman declined to discuss claims that a Big Mac was, in fact, healthier than one of the Prince's own Cornish pasties, saying that the Duchy Originals brand openly recorded the nutritional content of its products. "It is up to consumers to decide whether to buy them," he said. Diabetes has become a huge problem in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, in recent years with 25 per cent of the population suffering from the disease. Doctors believe this is due to the population switching from a traditional diet to a Western one, high in saturated fats and sugar. Penny Mordaunt, director of nations, regions and campaigning at Diabetes UK, said of the prince's comments: "Diabetes UK does not believe that banning fast food is the answer to improving people's diets and in turn reducing obesity and diabetes. "Realistically, it is not practically possible to prevent people from getting hold of any sort of food. Good education about the damage a diet high in sugar, fat and salt can do is the best way to encourage people to change their eating habits." A spokesman for McDonald's said of the prince's comments: "In our opinion they appear to be off-the-cuff remarks that do not reflect either our menu or where we are as a business. Other family members have visited us and they obviously have a more up-to- date picture of us." The spokesman pointed out at the fast-food chain had, in recent years, introduced new choices such as salads, semiskimmed organic milk, fruit and carrot sticks as well as reducing the levels of salt in its meals. She added: "We have also improved the nutritional information we provide." Daily Mail nutritionist Jane Clarke said: "While I would prefer to eat one of Prince Charles's cornish pasties because the meat is far superior to a fast food giant, it doesn't surprise me that the actual fat and calorie levels are higher than most people realise." More »

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