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Metformin OK for Patients with Diabetes and Heart Failure


A new study shows that metformin seems to be safe for use in diabetes patients with advanced heart failure (HF). According to Endocrine Today, the study followed 401 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and advanced systolic HF between 1994 and 2008. Participants were divided into 2 groups based on the presence or absence of metformin—25% of the patients (n = 99) were administered metformin therapy. Patients treated with metformin had higher body mass index, lower creatinine, and were administered insulin less often.

After following the subjects for 14 years, the metformin group had a survival rate of 91%; the patients not receiving metformin had a survival rate of 76% (relative risk = 0.37; 95% confidence interval, 0.18-0.76). Tamara B. Horwich, MD, MS, assistant professor of medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, explained, “Our analysis shows that using metformin to treat diabetes in patients with advanced systolic HF is not only safe but may also play a role in improving outcomes compared [with] conventional diabetes care.”


Lower Diabetes Risk in Healthier Neighborhoods?

Neighborhoods that are conducive to physical activity and convenient access to healthy foods may give residents a lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes. As reported in the October 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, Amy Auchincloss, associate professor at Drexel University School of Public Health, and colleagues studied 2285 adults aged 45 to 84 who were examined between 2000 and 2002.

The researchers obtained participants’ blood glucose levels at baseline and at 3 follow-up examinations. They also assessed diet, body mass index, physical activity levels, and other factors. A survey assessed the measures of healthful resources available in the neighborhood. Auchincloss and colleagues found that, over a median of 5 years of followup, 233 of the 2285 (10.2%) participants developed diabetes. The authors concluded, “better neighborhood resources, determined by a combined score for physical activity and healthy foods, were associated with a 38% lower incidence of type 2 diabetes.”


Fish May Not Be a Good Catch for Diabetes

Although the consumption of fish may lead to a decreased risk for developing heart disease, the same may not be true for diabetes. For the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (September 2009), researchers examined the links between fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake and the development of diabetes in 152,700 women who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and 42,504 men enrolled in the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study.

Frank B. Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, and colleagues found that the consumption of fish or omega-3 fatty acids did not reduce the risk of developing diabetes in adults. On the other hand, they found that eating 2 or more servings of fish per week may actually increase diabetes risk. The incidence of diabetes was 1.17 times greater among individuals who ate fish 2 to 4 times a week, and 1.22 times more likely among those who ate fish 5 or more times a week, compared with those who ate lesser amounts of fish. The authors of the study said that further study is needed to determine the “clinical relevance” of the current findings.


Diabetes Watch Scientists Find Genetic Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes

A study published in a recent issue of the journal Nature explained that scientists at deCODE genetics, Inc, found a version of a single-letter variant in the sequence of the human genome with a large impact on susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. If an individual inherits the variant from his or her father, it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 30%, compared with those who inherit the non–type 2 diabeteslinked version. If the variant is inherited maternally, the variant reduces the risk by more than 10%, compared with the non– type 2 diabetes-linked version. Because the risk is inherited and varies in this way, the sequence of the human genome located on chromosome 11 had never been linked to type 2 diabetes, even though it had been genotyped in large, traditional genome-wide association studies. ■



FAST FACT: The number of Americans with diabetes is expected to double in the next 25 years.



For pharmacist-recommended diabetes products, visit: www.OTCGuide.net/diabetes_care