PHARMACY

Study finds that low body fat may not reduce risk of diabetes, heart disease

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON — People with lower percentages of body fat are not necessarily at lower risk for diabetes and heart disease, according to a new international study.

The study identified a gene that is linked with having less body fat but also with having an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The investigators examined the genomes of more than 75,000 people and found that the gene, IRS1, was linked to less body fat, but also to unhealthy levels of cholesterol and blood glucose.

“We’ve uncovered a truly fascinating genetic story. … When we found the effect of this gene, we were very intrigued by the unexpected finding,” said study researcher Douglas Kiel, a professor at the Harvard Medical School and researcher at the Institute for Aging Research at HMS affiliate Hebrew SeniorLife. “People, particularly men, with a specific form of the gene are both more likely to have lower percent body fat [and] to develop heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. In simple terms, it is not only overweight individuals who can be predisposed for these metabolic diseases.”

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MannKind: Patients have better view of insulin therapy when using Afrezza

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO — Patients with Type 1 diabetes using an insulin product made by MannKind expressed a better opinion about insulin therapy than those taking the standard treatment, according to a study presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 71st Scientific Sessions.

MannKind said that patients taking the investigational inhaled insulin Afrezza (insulin human [rDNA origin]) with basal insulin came to view insulin therapy more positively during the 16-week study than those taking Eli Lilly’s injected Humalog (insulin lispro [rDNA origin]) with basal insulin.

“The challenge of diabetes and its treatment can have a profound psychosocial impact on the patient, which must be addressed as part of managing the condition,” lead study investigator and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor Richard Rubin said. “Current mealtime insulin therapy regimens require patients to titrate their insulin and use injections, both of which can negatively affect their perceptions of therapy and their long-term compliance.”

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Incorporating nuts into diet may help diabetics with blood-sugar control, cholesterol

BY Allison Cerra

FRESNO, Calif. — Consuming nuts in place of carbohydrates may help improve long-term blood-sugar control and lower cholesterol levels among Type 2 diabetics, according to a new study.

Researchers from University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital studied 117 Type 2 diabetes patients over the course of three months who were randomized to 1-of-3 treatments. Groups were given either about 2 oz. of mixed nuts, a healthy muffin control or half portions of both at about 450 calories per 2,000-calorie diet. The diabetics that consumed the mixed nuts had a better handle on their blood-sugar control, based on HbA1C readings, and also saw a reduction in "bad" cholesterol levels.

"There are two important factors in caring for diabetes: blood-sugar control and heart health," said Cyril WC Kendall, study co-investigator. "This study found that eating 2 oz. of nuts, such as pistachios, daily as a replacement for carbohydrates improved both blood sugar (glycemic control) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) in people with Type 2 diabetes. This is a very exciting and promising finding about the treatment of the disease."

The study was published in the June 29 edition of Diabetes Care.

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