Latinos at great risk of developing diabetes-related vision issues, study finds
BETHESDA, Md. Latinos have higher rates of developing visual impairment, blindness, diabetic eye disease and cataracts than non-Hispanic whites, researchers that were part of the "Los Angeles Latino Eye Study" have found. According to a press release issued by the National Eye Institute on Saturday, these are the first estimates of visual impairment and eye disease development in Latinos.
"This study showed that Latinos develop certain vision conditions at different rates than other ethnic groups," stated Rohit Varma, principal investigator of LALES and director of the Ocular Epidemiology Center at the Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California. "The burden of vision loss and eye disease on the Latino community is increasing as the population ages, and many eye diseases are becoming more common."
LALES began in 2000 as the nation’s largest and most comprehensive study of vision in Latinos. In the current phase of LALES, researchers examined more than 4,600 Latinos four years after they initially enrolled in the study to determine the development of new eye disease and the progression of existing conditions, including visual impairment, blindness, diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Participants were mainly of Mexican descent, age 40 years and older, and living in the city of La Puente, Los Angeles County, Calif. Study results were published in four papers in the May issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.
"These data have significant public health implications and present a challenge for eye care providers to develop programs to address the burden of eye disease in Latinos," stated NEI director Paul Sieving. "NEI has a strong record of commitment to educating the Latino community and healthcare providers about eye diseases through its National Eye Health Education Program, and will continue to make this a priority."
LALES researchers found that over the four-year interval, Latinos developed visual impairment and blindness at the highest rate of any ethnic group in the country, when compared with estimates from other U.S. population-based studies. Overall, nearly 3% of Latinos developed visual impairment and 0.3% developed blindness in both eyes, with older adults impacted more frequently. Of Latinos age 80 years and older, 19.4% became visually impaired, and 3.8% became blind in both eyes.
U.S. Latinos also were more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy than non-Hispanic whites. Over the four-year period, 34% of Latinos who had diabetes developed diabetic retinopathy, with Latinos ages 40 to 59 years having the highest rate. Though increasing age did not play a role, Latinos with a longer duration of diabetes were more likely to develop the disease. In fact, 42% of Latinos with diabetes for more than 15 years developed diabetic retinopathy. Also, among participants who had diabetic retinopathy at the beginning of the study, 39% showed worsening of the disease four years later.
Researchers found that Latinos who already had visual impairment, blindness, or diabetic retinopathy in one eye when they began the study had very high rates of developing the condition in the other eye during the study. More than half of participants who already had diabetic retinopathy in one eye developed it in the other eye.
"These results underscore the importance of Latinos, especially those with diabetes, getting regular, dilated eye exams to monitor their eye health," Varma said. "Eye care professionals should closely monitor Latinos who have eye disease in one eye because their quality of life can be dramatically impacted if they develop the condition in both eyes."
CRN honors Mason, Chen for safety, efficacy research of bioactive compounds
WASHINGTON Joel Mason and Hong Chen were both honored earlier this week by the Council for Responsible Nutrition with the Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award and the Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award, respectively, during the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2010 in Anaheim, Calif.
The awards, jointly presented by ASN and the CRN, are given with the intent to recognize outstanding research on the safety and efficacy of bioactive compounds for human health.
“It is gratifying to partner with ASN to honor scientists for their work, and it is a particular privilege to present the 2010 Mary Swartz Rose awards to both Dr. Mason and Dr. Chen as their work is critical for further understanding the role of nutrition in colon cancer,” stated Andrew Shao, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN.
Mason, of Tufts University, first began studying how the intake of folate and other 1-carbon nutrients modulate the risk of developing cancer in the 1980s, helping turn the field of which he was a pioneer into one of the more popular fields in nutrition research. His laboratory’s clinical trials were among the first to define how folate supplementation impacts on molecular events in the colon. More recently, he has been a proponent of the “duel” effect of folate on cancer, hypothesizing that the rise in colorectal cancer rates in North America in the mid-1990’s was related to excessive amounts of folic acid in the foodstream. Mason currently serves on the Professional Education Committee of the American Society for Nutrition and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.
Chen, assistant professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana, has established herself as an important contributor to the understanding of the role of epigenetic modifications on colon cancer and prevention, as well as how they are regulated by dietary components in colon tumor cells and animal models. In the future, Chen’s current hypothesis which is under investigation could help in the understanding of soy bioactives and their effects on the epigenome and may, ultimately, aid in the development of efficacious dietary interventions for colon cancer prevention.
These awards are named in honor of the late Mary Swartz Rose (1874–1941), a founder and president of the American Institute of Nutrition (now known as ASN). The Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award is given to an investigator with 10 years or more of postgraduate training, for outstanding preclinical and/or clinical research on the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements as well as essential nutrients and other biologically active food components that might be distributed as supplements or components in functional foods. The Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award is based on the same research qualifications, but is given to an investigator with 10 or less years of postgraduate training.
Child’s weight may cause drugs to metabolize differently, study suggests
ANAHEIM, Calif. Researchers from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy have provided the first evidence-based data on changes in drug metabolism in obese children as compared with healthy-weight children.
The study, conducted by L’Aurelle Johnson and Manoj Chiney in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacy, evaluated drug metabolism in 16 healthy weight children and nine obese children.
“We have known for years that drugs metabolize differently in obese adults as compared to healthy weight adults,” stated Johnson. “But, there has been very little, if any, information available that specifically addresses the consequences of obesity on drug metabolism in children. Without this information, our ability to identify optimal drug dosing in children often relies on trial and error approaches.”
In the study, Johnson and Chiney examined drug metabolizing enzyme activity in healthy weight and obese children, ages 6 to 10 years old. Specifically, they looked at how the children metabolized caffeine and dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter cough suppressant.
They found that obese children metabolized both drugs at different rates than healthy-weight children.
Johnson said this finding is the first of many steps in determining the overall effect of obesity on drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination in children. She plans to conduct additional research to define the activity of other drug metabolizing enzymes that may also be altered in the pediatric population as a result of obesity.
“Collectively, such knowledge concerning key factors that impact activity of drug metabolizing enzymes in children will have a significant positive impact on the development of optimal drug dosing regiments in children in order to maximize efficacy, while minimizing potential adverse drug effects, in the treatment of serious diseases such as cancer,” Johnson said.