Study: Blood markers may help determine Type 2 diabetes risk
DALLAS A new study published in Circulation Research, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that blood levels of some ribonucleic acids — known as microRNAs — vary among those with Type 2 diabetes or those who develop the disease, compared with healthy people.
MicroRNA comprises shorter molecular chains than so-called messenger RNA, which takes the genetic information contained within the DNA and allows it to be turned into proteins with various functions, and previously has been linked to numerous diseases, including diabetes.
Investigators analyzed microRNAs in blood samples of the Bruneck study — a large population-based survey of heart and other major diseases — and found that after analyzing initial blood-sample screens in 1995, 13 microRNAs found in diabetics had distinct differences than healthy controls’ blood samples. The scientists further analyzed these 13 microRNAs to identify the ones that showed the most variation between diabetics and healthy controls. Study participants underwent follow-up screening in 2000 and 2005. Of note, changes in five microRNAs occurred before the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
"We think that some of these microRNA changes may precede the onset of diabetes," said Manuel Mayr, corresponding author of the study. "Future studies will need to confirm whether these new markers can help to actually target therapies and assess patients."
The full study results can be accessed here.
White House continues health IT drive as CMS offers matching funds to states
WASHINGTON More money is flowing from the federal stimulus coffers to states as the White House continues its push to drive the healthcare system’s massive transformation to a digital and information technology-based platform.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is releasing another $6.9 million in federal matching funds for the effort, according to a report from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The money is going to four states –– Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Ohio –– to help pay for a conversion to electronic health records by Medicaid providers in those states, according to the society’s online newsletter, Government Health IT.
Similar matching grant programs already have gone to some other states –– including Delaware, Connecticut and West Virginia –– in line with the Obama administration’s plan to propel the nationwide adoption of health IT with some $20 billion in stimulus funds. According to the report, CMS is providing as much as 90% of the funds needed by state Medicaid administrators to provide incentive payments under the HITECH Act. States also can use some of the money to track the conversion to health IT, Government Health IT reported.
Milk drinkers maintain healthy weight, study finds
WASHINGTON Milk drinkers are more likely to lose weight than those who skip drinking milk when on a diet, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested.
In a two-year study, researchers observed 300 overweight or at-risk men and women ages 40 to 65 years. The participants were put on low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diets for two years, but regardless of diet, those that consumed 580 mg of milk per day (about two glasses), lost about 12 lbs., compared with those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging about 150 mg, or about half of a glass), in which participants lost just 7 lbs.
Beyond calcium, the researchers also found that vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success, and, in line with previous research, milk and milk products were the top contributors to vitamin D in the diets of the study participants.
The study, "Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D and successful weight loss," was published in the Sept. 1 edition of the journal.