PHARMACY

Gluten may not influence babies’ risk of developing Type 1 diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Introducing a gluten-free diet to an infant may not reduce its risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, according to a new study published in Diabetes Care.

German researchers analyzed data pooled from 150 infants with a first-degree family history of Type 1 diabetes and randomly exposed them to gluten at the age of 6 months (control group) or 12 months (late-exposure group). The infants then were followed until 3 years of age (and annually thereafter for safety purposes).

The researchers found that 70% of families followed the dietary-intervention protocol, and that only seven children developed diabetes: three from the early-exposure group and four in the late-exposure group.

The study authors concluded that while delaying gluten exposure until a child reaches 12 months of age is safe, doing so will not substantially reduce the risk of diabetes.

The study was submitted to the journal in late December 2010 and was published April 22.

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Study: CT scans could help predict early death among diabetes patients

BY Allison Cerra

WAKE FOREST, N.C. — A common test may help predict early death among diabetes patients, a new study found.

According to research lead by Donald Bowden, director of the Center for Diabetes Research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the examination of a patient’s coronary artery calcium score — which measures the amount of calcified plaque buildup in blood vessels — through a computed tomography scan, or CT scan, could indicate the patient’s risk of coronary heart disease, which can lead to premature death.

For the "Diabetes Heart Study," Bowden and colleagues followed nearly 1,500 patients with diabetes in North Carolina for about 13 years, gathering data on various aspects of the disease and how it affects individual health. The researchers separated the study participants into five groups, according to the amount of calcified plaque they had in their blood vessels at the beginning of the study. The health of those participants then was followed for an average of 7.4 years before researchers compared the data from those who died during the study with those who still were living.

"We saw a dramatic risk of dying earlier in the people with highest levels of calcified plaque in their blood vessels," Bowden and researchers said.

The new study appears in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

"People with diabetes are already at high risk of developing heart disease and experiencing an early death," Bowden said. "With this study, we’ve discovered that we can identify a subset of individuals within this high-risk group who are at even higher risk, and the means to do this is already widely available in the form of a CT scan — a relatively inexpensive and noninvasive test."

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American Diabetes Association announces new research grant for diabetes technology

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Diabetes Association announced that it will fund research that will examine the effectiveness of technology-based diabetes management devices.

The studies, funded by the American Diabetes Association/Medtronic Technology in Diabetes Fellowship, will utilize Medtronic’s CareLink database — a database of anonymous continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump-derived data — to assess, evaluate and correlate the application of this and similar technologies used by patients with insulin-treated diabetes.

"Research like this will help us better understand patient behavior," American Diabetes Association’s president of medicine and science Robert Henry said. "In the long run, this research can help influence future diabetes technology and shape how we educate people with diabetes."

Those interested in applying for the research grant can visit the website here.

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