Author Interviews, Diabetes, Genetic Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Weight Research / 24.05.2016 Interview with: Prof-Dr. Annette Schürmann Department of Experimental Diabetology German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke Nuthetal, Germany What is the background for this study? Dr. Schürmann: The aim of our study was to clarify why genetically identical mice respond very different to a high fat diet. Some of the mice react with an elevated body weight, others not. We analyzed the expression pattern of liver at two time points, at the age of 6 weeks, (the earliest time point to distinguish between those that respond to the diet (responder mice) and those that did not (non-responders)), and at the age of 20 weeks. One transcript that was significantly reduced in the liver of responder mice at both time points was Igfbp2. The reason for the reduced expression was an elevated DNA-methylation at a position that is conserved in the mouse and human sequence. The elevated DNA-methylation of this specific site in human was recently described to associate with elevated fat storage (hepatosteatosis) and NASH. However, as 6 weeks old mice did not show differences in liver fat content between responder and non-responder mice we conclude that the alteration of Igfbp2 expression and DNA methylation occurs before the development of fatty liver. Our data furthermore showed that the epigenetic inhibition of Igfbp2 expression was associated with elevated blood glucose and insulin resistance but not with fatty liver. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Environmental Risks / 19.05.2016 Interview with: Kathryn Reid PhD Research associate Professor of Neurology Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Reid: There is increasing evidence that light and dark exposure patterns over time impact health outcomes such as body weight and food intake. This study found that bright light exposure increased insulin resistance compared to dim light exposure in both the morning and the evening. In the evening, bright light also caused higher peak glucose (blood sugar) levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia, Exercise - Fitness / 17.05.2016 Interview with: Dr Lisa Chow MD MS University of Minnesota, Minnesota, MI What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chow: A number of previous studies have shown people who maintain or increase their cardiac fitness (CRF) through adulthood have a lower risk of developing diabetes, abnormal metabolic measures, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality than those whose CRF declines. However, these previous studies are limited for several reasons, including use of a largely male population, measurement of fitness over a limited duration (5–7 years) or measurement of fitness at varying intervals prospectively. In this new research, the authors used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study to objectively and rigorously analyse the link between cardiac fitness and development of either prediabetes or diabetes over a 20-year period. The main finding is that higher cardiac fitness  is associated with lower risk for developing prediabetes and diabetes, even when adjusting for prospective changes in body mass index. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Diabetes, Genetic Research / 08.05.2016 Interview with: Wenpeng You, PhD student Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit University of Adelaide | School of Medicine Adelaide, Australia  Maciej Henneberg, PhD, DSc, FAIBiol Wood Jones Professor of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy University of Adelaide School of Medicine; Institute for Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich Editor in Chief, Journal of Comparative Human Biology HOMO What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Type 1 diabetes disease has very strong genetic background. Prevalence of type 1 diabetes has been increasing globally. Previous studies focusing on regional genetics and environmental factors cannot fully explain this phenomenon. Due to insufficient medical knowledge up until early 20th century, people with type 1 diabetes disease would most commonly die during their teens or early 20s. Therefore, they did not have the opportunity to pass on their genes providing background for the development of type 1 diabetes to their next generations. Since discovery and introduction of insulin to modern medicine in early 1920s, more and more type 1 diabetes patients have been able to survive their reproduction cycle (up until and past 50 years of age). This has made more and more genes related to type 1 diabetes to accumulate in human populations. We applied the Biological State Index which measures a probability to pass genes on to the next generation at population level.  We found that the rapid increase in type 1 diabetes over the last few decades was correlated with increases of the Biological State Index and its proxy, human life expectancy, especially in more developed world in which natural selection has been relaxed most. This correlation was found after statistically excluding differences in countries income, levels of urbanization, sugar consumption and obesity prevalence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Pharmacology / 21.04.2016 Interview with: Pedro L. Herrera, PhD Professor Dept. Genetic Medicine & Development, room #F09.2770 Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva Geneva, Switzerland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Herrera: After meals, the digestion of food leads to an accumulation of sugar (glucose) in the blood (hyperglycemia). This triggers the release of the hormone insulin from the pancreas (beta-cells), which allows the tissues (liver, muscle and fat) to use and store it. Another pancreatic hormone, glucagon, is released by alpha-cells during fasting or exercising, and opposes the action of insulin: it tells the liver to release glucose, which increases blood sugar levels. The balance between insulin and glucagon keeps blood sugar levels steady. Persistent hyperglycemia due to insulin deficiency is diabetes. Glucagon production is exacerbated in diabetes, which aggravates hyperglycemia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, University Texas, Weight Research / 21.04.2016 Interview with: Antonio Saad, MD Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine & Critical Care Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Saad: Recently the WHO announced an alarming news, the prevalence of diabetes has increased four fold in the past quarter-century. The major factors attributed for this increase included excessive weight, and obesity. In the US alone, two thirds of people are either overweight or obese. There are shocking numbers that should alert physicians, patients and government officials for awareness and interventions that we can alter the path away from this drastic epidemic. In light of recent events, our group strongly believes that poor diet during pregnancy predisposes offspring in adult life to develop obesity and diabetes through fetal programming. High fructose introduction into our food chain has coincided with the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Hence, we designed an animal study where we fed pregnant mice with either regular diet or high fructose diet until delivery. Then we looked at the offspring, at 12 months of age. We looked at  their blood pressure, glucose tolerance tests, insulin resistance,  and weights. We also tested for serum marker of metabolic dysfunction and used computed tomography imaging to assess for liver fat infiltration and percent visceral adipose tissue. To our surprise, these offspring (mothers were fed high fructose diet) developed several features of metabolic syndrome.  Female offspring’s cardiovascular and metabolic function at one year of age (adulthood) had increased weight, blood pressure, visceral adiposity, liver fat infiltrates and  insulin resistance with impaired glucose tolerance).  The  male counterparts were limited to high blood pressure  and glucose intolerance. Keeping in mind that the amount of fructose given to these animals were equivalent to daily soda cans consumption in humans. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Annemarie G. Hirsch, PhD, MPH Center for Health Research Geisinger Health System Danville, Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective treatment in reversing insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, the likelihood of remission or cure after surgery varies tremendously based on certain patient characteristics. The DiaRem score provides patients with a personalized prediction of whether or not they can expect long-term remission of their disease if they choose to have surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Exercise - Fitness, Lifestyle & Health / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Paddy Dempsey MPhEd, PhD in Medicine (expected June 2016) Physical Physical Activity and Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne VIC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In addition to too little physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior – defined as any waking sitting or reclining behavior with low energy expenditure – has emerged as a ubiquitous and significant population-wide influence on cardiometabolic health outcomes, with potentially distinct and modifiable environmental and social determinants. There is now a consistent base of epidemiologic evidence reporting deleterious associations of excessive sedentary behaviors (e.g. TV viewing, car use, and desk work) with mortality and cardiometabolic morbidity, independent of moderate-vigorous PA. To date, efforts to influence participation in moderate-to-vigorous exercise (i.e. 30 min a day of ‘exercise’ on most days a week for health) at the population level, such as through large-scale campaigns to promote walking, and other initiatives to encourage people to exercise during their leisure time have achieved only modest success. There may, however, be untapped preventive-health and clinical management potential through shifting the high volume of time spent sedentary to light-intensity physical activity interspersed throughout the day. As such, sedentary behavior represents a potentially feasible and therapeutic target, particularly in the promotion of metabolic health. We posited that people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) were likely to derive the greatest benefits from interrupting their sitting time. However, until now the contributions of prolonged sitting and/or interrupting prolonged sitting with very-brief bouts of light-intensity PA had never been experimentally tested in patients with T2D. Moreover, this study for the first time moved beyond interrupting sitting with standing or ambulatory bouts (although walking bouts were also examined), which may have differing levels of metabolic stimulus (i.e. not physiologically taxing the body enough), practicality, or health efficacy, to examine a potential addition/alternative: simple resistance activities (SRA). A key premise behind these SRA bouts (half-squats, calf raises, gluteal contractions, and knee raises) were that they required no specialized equipment, only small amounts of space, and could be easily performed in a fixed position behind a work desk or at home with minimal disruption to work tasks or leisure pursuits. In addition, they also markedly increase muscle activity, and may also have other longer-term benefits (for example physical function, muscle strength, bone density), however we can only speculate on these aspects at present. In this study in men and women with type 2 diabetes, plasma glucose, insulin and C-peptide (marker of insulin secretion and pancreatic beta cell function) levels following standardized breakfast and lunch meals were all markedly attenuated when prolonged sitting was regularly interrupted with light walking or resistance activities (3 min every 30 min) over an 8 hour day. Plasma triglyceride levels were also reduced for both types of activity bout; however, the reduction was only significant for the SRAs. Interestingly, the magnitude of glucose reduction for the walking bouts was greater in women for glucose levels. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Diabetes, NIH, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Rockville, MD 20852 What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhang: Hypertension is one of the most prevalent and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular and kidney diseases, and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. We have previously reported that the cumulative incidence of hypertension for women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) was 26% higher than those who did not have GDM even 16 years after the index pregnancy. Thus, women with a history of GDM represent a high-risk population for hypertension that could benefit from early prevention. While there is extensive literature on how lifestyle factors may influence blood pressure in the general population, no information is currently available on the role of diet and lifestyle in the development of hypertension specifically in this susceptible population. To address these gaps, we prospectively examined the associations between long-term adherence to three healthy diets with subsequent risk of hypertension among women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus, specifically the DASH diet, the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED), and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Kidney Disease / 17.04.2016 Interview with: Axel C. Carlsson, PhD Department of Medical Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University Uppsala Sweden What is the background for this study? Dr. Carlsson: Circulating endostatin levels has been shown to be associated with duration of hypertension and cardiovascular events. Moreover, endostatin levels were recently shown to parallel kidney function decline, and has been associated with increased mortality risk in different settings. However, less is known of circulating endostatin in patients with type 2 diabetes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Exercise - Fitness, UCSD / 12.04.2016 Interview with: Britta Larsen, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Family Medicine & Public Health University of California, San Diego Medical Teaching Facility La Jolla, CA 92093-0628 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Larsen: We know that muscle is important for metabolic processes, but there has been very little research on the role muscle may play in the development of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. While excess fat can increase the risk of metabolic disease, there are people who are normal weight who still develop diabetes, and it’s possible that this could be due to low muscle mass. Our main findings were that, in normal weight women, women with more abdominal, thigh, and overall muscle were less likely to develop diabetes over a 13-year period.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Pharmacology / 12.04.2016 Interview with: Christopher Sorli, MD SUSTAIN 1 investigator and Chair of the Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Billings Clinic, Billings, Montana What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sorli: GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) have been found to be useful in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes with potent effects on blood glucose lowering while minimizing the risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain often seen with other classes of hypoglycemic agents. Semaglutide is a novel GLP-1RA that is currently in clinical development. The molecule shares 94% amino acid homology with native GLP-1 and has a half-life of approximately one week allowing for once weekly dosing. SUSTAIN 1 was designed to demonstrate superiority of semaglutide 0.5 mg and 1.0 mg once weekly over placebo in lowering HbA1c after 30 weeks of treatment. Additional secondary endpoints included weight loss versus placebo, percent of patients achieving HbA1c goals, percent of patients achieving 5% and 10% weight loss, and safety and tolerability. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia / 06.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Dennis James Petrie Melbourne School of Population and Global Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Petrie: Life expectancy estimates for those with type 1 diabetes allow gaps with the general population to be identified and improvements to be quantified. This research examined mortality for those with type 1 diabetes in Sweden from 2002 till 2011. The aim was to explore whether life expectancy of those with type 1 diabetes has improved in Sweden over the last decade and how any improvement compared with improvements seen in the general population. It found that for men with type 1 diabetes, the remaining life expectancy at age 20 increased significantly by about 2 years (from 47.7 in 2002–06 to 49.7 years in 2007–11) but for women with type 1 diabetes there was no significant change, with a life expectancy at age 20 of 51.7 years in 2002–06 and 51.9 years in 2007–11. There have been recent gains for both men and women from reductions in cardiovascular mortality however these gains were also seen in the general population which meant that the life expectancy gaps have stayed at about 11 years for men and 12 years for women over the last decade in Sweden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia / 04.04.2016 Interview with: Associate Professor Dianna Magliano BAppSci(Hon) MPH PhD Head, Diabetes and Population Health Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne. VIC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Magliano: This work shows  that Australians with type 1 diabetes had an estimated life loss of 11.6 years for men and 12.5 years for women compared with the general population. We saw no evidence of improvement in this over recent years. For those who are older with type 1, cardiovascular disease contributed substantially to the years of life lost in type 1 diabetes. Death before 60 years and mortality from endocrine and metabolic disease were also important contributors to the years of life lost in type 1 diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 04.04.2016 Interview with: Ana Priscila Soggia Sirio Libanes Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many years, bariatric surgery is performed to treat class II and III obesity with diabetes remission in 80-90% of cases, related to weight loss and change in the secretion of intestinal factors that control blood glucose, like GLP-1 and GIP. In 2010, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), proposed that diabetic patients with BMI between 30-35kg/m2 could be eligible, for bariatric surgery, in the case of no glycemic control with drug treatment. In this context, once glycemic control after bariatric surgery, was not related only to weight loss and also due to intestinal factors with physiological actions, the protocol was proposed. The objectives were to compare the clinical and surgical treatment in diabetics patients with class I obesity; and to compare the efficacy and security between two different surgical techniques. This study was developed and conducted by a research team from Sirio-Libanês Hospital in partnership with Ministry of Health through its philanthropic program PROADI. It is a clinical trial, with 42 class I obese diabetic type 2 patients with inadequate glycemic control that were randomized to tree arms: clinical treatment, gastric bypass surgery or sleeve with ileal transposition (sleeve-IT) surgery. The results showed that the sleeve-IT procedure is more effective for the treatment of diabetes in these patients compared with treatment with medication and with bypass surgery, currently considered the first choice of treatment. Among patients who underwent sleeve-IT, 100% achieved glycemic control after 1 year (HbA1c<6,5%) compared to 46% for bypass and 8% in the case of medication therapy. In addition, diabetes remission, that was defined as adequate glycemic control without any anti-diabetic medication, occured in 75% of sleeve-IT patients had versus 30% in bypass group. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Endocrinology / 03.04.2016 Interview with: Ken C. Chiu, MD, FACE, FACP Professor Endocrinology Fellowship Training Program Department of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute City of Hope National Medical Center Duarte, CA 91010-3000 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chiu: The benefit of moderate alcohol consumption is well established in cardiovascular disease. However, the role of alcohol consumption in type 2 diabetes is less clear. We examined the role of alcohol consumption in type 2 diabetes using the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-1012, which is a representative US population. In the rare alcohol consumption group (< 12 drinks per year), 24.04% were diabetic while only 14.67% were diabetic in the moderate alcohol consumption (1-4 drinks per day) group (P><0.000001). In contrast, 21.05% were diabetic in the heavy alcohol consumption (≥ 5 drinks/day) group (P=0.003) when compared to the rare alcohol consumption group. Thus, in compared to the rare alcohol consumption, moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of diabetes (OR: 0.72; 95%CI: 0.65-0.79) after adjustment for co-variates, while there was no benefit from heavy alcohol consumption (OR: 0.97; 95%CI: 0.90-1.05). Our study demonstrates that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of diabetes by 28%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Weight Research / 03.04.2016 Interview with: Olivia Farr, Ph.D. Instructor in Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 330 Brookline Ave, Stoneman 820B Boston, MA 02215 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farr: There are two main studies. In the first, we used immunohistochemistry to analyze 22 human brain tissue samples for the presence of GLP-1 receptors, which are protein molecules that respond to the GLP hormone’s signal. We found—for the first time—that GLP-1 receptors are expressed in the human brain, including the cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher thought. Our second study was performed in 18 adults with type 2 diabetes. Participants received 17 days of either liraglutide, up to 1.8 milligrams, or a placebo (dummy drug) in a random order. Then after a three-week “washout” of no medication, the same participants received 17 days of the opposite treatment. Participants and investigators were unaware which treatment they received. On day 17 of each treatment, participants underwent brain scanning with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). During fMRI, participants viewed images of different foods. In response to highly desirable foods such as cake, pastries and fried foods, liraglutide decreased reward- and salience-related brain activations in the cortex compared with images of less desirable foods, such as fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie, low-fat foods.​ (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE / 30.03.2016 Interview with: Eyal Sheiner, MD,PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Soroka University Medical Center Beer-Sheva Israel What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sheiner: The reported rates of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are constantly escalating and little is known about the long term complications in the offspring. Evidence from the field of epigenetics strongly advocated the need for research on the neuropsychiatric impact of being exposed prenatally to GDM. In our study, in utero exposure to  gestational diabetes mellitus was found to be an independent risk factor for long term neuropsychiatric morbidity of the offspring. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Diabetes, JAMA, Weight Research / 18.03.2016 Interview with: Debbie Lawlor PhD School of Social and Community Medicine University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol, UK and Rachel Freathy PhD, University of Exeter, Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital,  Exeter  UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A healthy birth weight is important for babies’ health and wellbeing in the first year of their life. It reflects how well the baby has grown and developed in the womb. The experience of fetuses in the womb and how well they grow and develop might also determine their future health, even into adulthood. Both being too light or too heavy at birth is not good for the baby. Lots of studies have shown that mothers who are fatter at the start of their pregnancy have babies who are more likely to be heavier. But is it not clear whether the mother being fatter causes their baby to be bigger at birth. If mothers’ fatness does cause their baby to be heavier at birth, why this happens is not clear. We used genes to find out whether being fatter in pregnancy causes babies to be born heavier. We also tested whether risk factors in the mother that are affected by her fatness, such as her blood pressure, and the level of glucose (sugar) and lipids (fats) in her blood stream affect how heavy her baby is. Our results showed that being fatter during pregnancy did cause a mothers’ baby to be born heavier. We also showed that having higher blood levels of glucose in pregnancy also caused a mothers’ baby to be heavier. But we did not find any effect of mothers’ blood levels of lipids in pregnancy on their baby’s weight. Whilst mothers who are heavier in pregnancy will tend to have higher blood pressure in pregnancy we found that higher blood pressure caused the women’s babies to be lighter. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Pulmonary Disease, Sleep Disorders / 15.03.2016 Interview with: Jonathan Shaw MD, FRACP, FRCP (UK), FAAHMS Associate Professor Domain Head, Population Health Research Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne VIC 3004 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shaw: Over the last decade or so, there has been a lot of research connecting obstructive sleep apnoea with type 2 diabetes. They co-exist very frequently in the same individual, they are both much more common in overweight and obese people than in people of healthy weights, both improve with weight loss, and both are associated with other conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. In addition, there has been evidence that some of the key abnormalities occurring in sleep apnoea (in particular, fragmented sleep and intermittent low oxygen levels) may have a direct effect on glucose metabolism, and increase blood sugar levels. This led many people to suspect that untreated sleep apnoea might be one reason that type 2 diabetes is hard to control, and that treating sleep apnoea in people with type 2 diabetes would improve their blood sugar control. We, therefore, undertook a large trial among people with type 2 diabetes, and previously unrecognised sleep apnoea, in which participants were randomised to either a group receiving specific treatment for sleep apnoea (continuous positive airways pressure, or CPAP, therapy at night) or to a control group. Over the six months of the trial, we saw no benefit of CPAP therapy in regard to blood sugar control (as measured by HbA1c). Even when we looked at sub-groups with worse blood sugar control at the start or worse sleep apnoea or who did the best in terms of using CPAP every night, there was still no sign of benefit on blood sugar control. We did, however, see some other benefits of CPAP therapy, with less daytime sleepiness, improvements in quality of life and lower diastolic blood pressure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis / 10.03.2016 Interview with: Jorge Correale MD Department of Neurology, Institute for Neurological Research Dr Raúl Carrea Buenos Aires, Argentina What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Correale: First it is now well known that in parallel to the specific treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, those comorbidities that worsen the course of the disease should be treated. For example, cardiovascular diseases. Moreover there are in vitro and in animal models evidence of an anti-inflammatory role of compounds investigated in this publication evidence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Diabetes / 09.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Zorana Andersen Department of Public Health Center for Epidemiology and Screening University of Copenhagen What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Andersen: Diabetes is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, but exact mechanisms are unknown. The role of insulin has been debated. High mammographic density (MD) is one of the strongest predictors and a biomarker of breast cancer risk. Few studies have linked diabetes to mammographic density, finding none or weak inverse associations, but none had data on diabetes treatment. We examined whether diabetes and diabetes treatment are associated with mammographic density in a prospective cohort study of Danish women above age of 50 years. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Andersen: Women with diabetes, as well as clinicians working with diabetes and breast cancer and breast cancer screening, would have interest to know how different diabetes treatment can affect breast density, and hereby possibly breast cancer risk. For example, diabetic women taking insulin may possibly benefit from informing radiologists at breast cancer screening about their insulin use, due to increased breast density and increased risk of masking bias. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Pharmacology / 01.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. John Buse MD Ph.D Professor, Medicine Director, Diabetes Care Center Chief, Division of Endocrinology Executive Associate Dean, Clinical Research University of North Carolina School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Buse: Degludec is an longer acting basal insulin analog recently approved in the US.  Liraglutide is a once-daily GLP-1 receptor agonist.  Both are among the most powerful glucose lowering drugs available in the setting of type 2 diabetes.  They have very different properties.  Degludec is best at lowering fasting glucose. Liraglutide has effects on postprandial glucose as well.  The major side effects of degludec are hypoglycemia and weight gain. Liraglutide on the other hand has not an inherent effect to cause hypoglycemia and does promote weight loss.  Liraglutide does cause nausea and in fewer patients vomiting in a dose dependent manner. In developing the fixed dose combination the idea was to amplify glucose lowering efficacy and minimize the adverse effects of both components.  Prior studies have basically shown that this has been accomplished.  In this study we looked at the very common clinical scenario of the patient with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled on basal insulin glargine and asked the question of whether switching from glargine to IDegLira (the combination product) would do better than continued titration of glargine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Diabetes, Diabetologia / 01.03.2016 Interview with: Bendix Carstensen Department of Clinical Epidemiology Steno Diabetes Center Gentofte Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It has long been known that all diabetes patients have elevated risk of cancer (10-15%). Patients on insulin slightly more (20-25%). Type 1 patients is only a small fraction (10%) of all diabetes patients, but they ALL take insulin. If insulin has a role in cancer occurrence it would be expected to be particularly pronounced in type 1 patients, and increasing by duration. But it is not, the risk of cancer is 15% elevated (if we disregard prostate, breast and other cancers only occurring in one of the sexes), and there is no increase in the excess risk by duration of insulin use. Breast cancer risk is 10% lower and prostate cancer risk some 40% lower. Overall there is very little increased cancer risk - 1% for men 7% for women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Ophthalmology / 01.03.2016 Interview with: Adam Glassman, M.S. Director, DRCRnet Coordinating Center Jaeb Center for Health Research Tampa, FL 33647 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Diabetic macular edema (DME) involves a build-up of blood and fluid in the macula, the part of the eye needed for sharp, straight-ahead vision. Diabetic macular edema can occur in people with diabetic retinopathy and is the most common cause of diabetes-related vision loss.  Anti-VEGF agents are the first line treatment for most U.S. retinal specialists to treat vision loss from DME.  There are three commonly used agents to treat DME, EYLEA, Avastin, and Lucentis.  Eylea and Lucentis are FDA approved for Diabetic macular edema treatment.  However, Avastin is used off-label in repacked aliquots containing approximately 1/500th of the systemic dose used in cancer therapy.  The costs of these agents vary substantially, with Eylea priced at $1,850 per injection, Lucentis at $1,170, and repackaged Avastin at $60.  Results of this study, conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network ( and funded by the NIH, found that all three agents are effective at improving vision and reducing DME over 2 years.  When vision loss is relatively mild at baseline (20/32-20/40), all three agents are similarly effective at improving visual acuity.  However, when vision loss at baseline is worse, Eylea outperforms Avastin at 2-years and also outperforms Lucentis at one year, but the difference between Eylea and Lucentis diminishes and is no longer statistically different at 2 years.  The percentage of participants that experienced a systemic adverse events such as heart attack, stroke, or death from an unknown cause was greater with Lucentis (12%) versus Eylea (5%) and Avastin (8%).  However, similar findings have not been seen in most previous studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, BMJ, Diabetes / 26.02.2016 Interview with: Mattias Brunström, MD PhD student Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine Umeå University Hospital Umeå, SE  Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Brunström: Current guidelines differ in their recommendations on blood pressure treatment targets for people with diabetes. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of 49 studies, including almost 74 000 patients, to investigate the effect of treatment at different blood pressure levels. We found that treatment reduced the risk of death, stroke, myocardial infarction and heart failure if systolic blood pressure before treatment was above 140 mm Hg. However, if systolic blood pressure was below 140 mm Hg, treatment increased the risk of cardiovascular death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Neurological Disorders, Yale / 26.02.2016 Interview with: Sabrina Diano, Ph.D. Professor, Depts. Ob/Gyn, Neuroscience and Comparative Medicine Associate Chair for Faculty Development Dept Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Sciences Program in Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism Yale University School of Medicine and Graduate School  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Diano: We have been studying the intracellular mechanisms that regulate glucose sensing by the brain. We found that in a specific area of the brain (called ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus) a small group of neurons (the brain cells) are able to sense increased glucose levels in the blood via their mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cells. This mitochondrial change enables these neurons to get activated, which in turn, results in a reduction of  glucose levels in the blood due to an increased muscles glucose utilization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Technology / 26.02.2016 Interview with: Professor Tilak Dias College of Art & Design and Built Environment, School of Art & Design and Dr. Pasindu Lugoda Industrial Design, Fashion Design, Experimental Physics Electronic and Communication Engineering Nottingham Trent University Medical Research: Why are diabetics more prone to foot ulcers?  How prevalent is the problem? Response: Diabetic neuropathy contributes to foot ulcers that increases the chances of amputations if not treated. Every 30 seconds a limb is lost to diabetics. Medical Research: What is the background for the Siren Smart Sock System? What information is transmitted via the socks? Does the information go to the patient or a health care provider? Response: The temperature difference in between different points of the two feet are transmitted from the sensors in the sock. The information can be sent to the doctor or the patient’s mobile phone depending on what is needed.   (more…)