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Study finds cholesterol drug torcetrapib may help control diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A drug designed to boost high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels also may improve blood-sugar control for diabetics, according to a new analysis of a discontinued study.

Australian researchers found that torcetrapib, a cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitor, could improve HDL or "good" cholesterol levels while improving blood-sugar control among diabetics.

Among 6,661 diabetes patients in the Illuminate trial, those that were assigned to take a combination of torcetrapib and a statin saw average blood-sugar control levels of 7.06%, compared with those that received just the statin (7.29%). These figures were recorded during a six-month follow-up. The effects were apparent for up to 12 months, study authors noted.

What’s more, torcetrapib also lowered both glucose and insulin levels in the participants without diabetes, although the effects were not as great as in those with diabetes.

“The possibility that CETP inhibitor drugs may not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but may also improve the control of blood sugar in people with diabetes, is an exciting prospect that may translate into real health benefits for people with diabetes,” said the study’s lead author, Philip Barter, a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Research Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia.

It is important to note, however, that torcetrapib touts a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular problems and death, which is why the Illiminate trial was discontinued.

The research was published in the July 18 online issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

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Study: Metformin use during adolescence may help girls delay, prevent PCOS

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A study slated to appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, a publication of the Endocrine Society, found that adolescent girls that take the diabetes drug metformin may prevent or delay the development of polycystic ovary syndrome, a common cause of infertility.

The study, led by Lourdes Ibáñez, professor of pediatrics at the University of Barcelona, noted that PCOS typically develops during adolescence and compared the efficacy of early versus late metformin treatment to prevent adolescent PCOS. Among 38 girls with low birth weight and early puberty, 19 of them that were 8 years of age were treated with daily doses of metformin for four years, while the other half of subjects began receiving daily doses of metformin at age 13 and continued treatment for just one year.

Researchers found that early metformin therapy prevented or delayed the development of hirsutism, androgen excess and PCOS more effectively than late metformin treatment. Ibáñez and colleagues said that excessive weight gain that occurs in adolescence may overexpose the ovaries to insulin, thus boosting the PCOS risk among female adolescents.

“Metformin, when given across the potentially critical window of puberty, may have the capacity to reprogram metabolism toward less abdominal and liver fat,” Ibáñez said. “In the years ahead, the focus of attention should shift from late treatment of PCOS and its complications, toward the early and large-scale prevention of PCOS, with measures such as diet, exercise and metformin in young girls.”

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New fitness DVD from Tracey Mallett launches

BY Allison Cerra

LOS ANGELES — A new workout DVD from fitness and lifestyle expert Tracey Mallett has hit retail.

New "Booty Barre Plus Abs & Arms" is an 80-minute fitness DVD that combines the toning benefits of yoga, pilates, ballet and dance to strengthen and stretch the body. In this DVD, Mallett shows viewers how to firm, tighten and tone their bodies, as well as streamline their arms and core muscles. Viewers will need a sturdy chair or ballet barre, in addition to a set of 3-lb. to 5-lb. dumbbells to get started.

"Booty Barre Plus Abs & Arms" will retail for $19.95.

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