Diabetes Watch

Pharmacy Times
Volume 75
Issue 6

Aspirin May Lower Diabetes RiskResearchers have found a link between aspirin use and a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine (April 2009).

The researchers looked at data from the Physician's Health Study, which includes 22,071 healthy male physicians, and has gathered 22 years of follow-up data. The physicians provided self-reports of history of diabetes, aspirin use, and lifestyle factors at study onset and in yearly follow-up questionnaires. A total of 1719 cases of diabetes were reported at follow-up. The men who reported taking any aspirin were 14% less prone to develop diabetes, compared with the nonaspirin group.

CAD Screening Not Needed if AsymptomaticIn patients with type 2 diabetes with no symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD), routine screening of heart disease indicators does not appear to impact the overall cardiac outcome and is imprudent, according to research in the April 15, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings were based on the results of a study involving 1123 patients aged 50 to 65 with type 2 diabetes. The patients were randomly assigned to CAD screening using adenosinestress radionuclide myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).

The cumulative cardiac event rate was 2.9% over an average follow-up of 4.8 years for an average of 0.6% per year and was not considerably reduced by MPI screenings for signs of heart attack. During 5 years of follow-up, there were 7 nonfatal heart attacks and 8 cardiac-related deaths in the screening group, compared with 10 nonfatal heart attacks and 7 cardiac deaths in the nonscreening group.

Psoriasis Increases Diabetes OddsA new study reaffirms the connection between psoriasis, diabetes, and hypertension. The researchers said the link may have to do with chronic inflammation associated with the 3 conditions.

The research involved 78,061 women aged 27 to 44 who participated in the Nurses' Health Study. The women, who were followed for 14 years, did not have diabetes at study onset. The findings showed that the patients with psoriasis had a 63% increased risk of developing diabetes and a 17% increased risk of developing hypertension, compared to the group without the skin condition. The association between psoriasis and the other 2 conditions was independent of body mass index, excluding the possibility that obesity or metabolic syndrome might explain the relationship. The study was published in the April 2009 issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Lifestyle Factors into DiabetesResearchers found that 80% of new cases of diabetes are attributable to an unhealthy lifestyle. The study findings are based on the relationship between lifestyle factors and the incidence of diabetes over a 10-year period in 4883 participants aged 65 and older. The investigators said basic lifestyle factors strongly predicted diabetes incidences.

Reporting in the April 28, 2009, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers said. "Our results support the need for emphasizing healthy achievable physical activity and dietary goals among older adults, including moderate leisure time activity and walking pace, higher intake of dietary fiber and polyunsaturated fat, and the lower intake of trans fat and easily digestible carbohydrates."

Are Pancreatic Islets the Cure for Diabetes?Health care experts said pancreatic islets are in the forefront of diabetes research and could play a significant role in future treatment or a possible cure.

"Perhaps the most important clinical application of this research is currently in the form of cell replacement therapy," noted the researchers in the April 15, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. "With the exception of one report in a type 2 diabetes cohort, islet transplantation has been used exclusively for a subset of individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus and was shown, at least temporarily, to improve glucose control and, in a few cases, to lead to insulin independence."

Cell replacement therapy involves the transplantation of pancreatic islets from a donated pancreas to a patient with diabetes. The purpose is to restore function of beta cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of these cells.

FAST FACT: Diabetes contributes to the deaths of >230,000 Americans each year.

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