Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Insight into Adiponectin, the 'Starvation Hormone'

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center revealed their findings surrounding the "starvation hormone" known as adiponectin in a paper published this week by Nature Medicine. The hormone seems to affect how the body stores fat and protects against future hunger.

"This paper shows that the common theme among all these different activities relies on adiponectin's interaction with a specific subset of lipids known as ceramides," said Dr. Philip Scherer (HealthDay), an author of the work.

In the News

Research in The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that coordinated care management of multiple conditions increases the effectiveness of treatment. The study focused on patients with both depression and a severe illness like coronary heart disease.

Another article in NJEM argues that general anesthesia should be described to patients as a temporary coma, not sleep.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Renew Your Membership Now and Win

It’s time to renew your membership to The Endocrine Society for 2011, and when you do, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win complimentary registration for ENDO 2011 in Boston! We will be giving away the Grand Prize on January 5th.

All Endocrine Society members that renew their 2011 membership by December 31, 2010 will be automatically entered into the drawing.

Pollutants Alter Cortisol Levels

Karin E. Zimmer studied the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on the adrenal cortex and found that exposure during the early stages of life disrupts hormone balance, especially levels of the stress hormone cortisol. "Zimmer concludes that cortisol synthesis appears to be a sensitive target for POPs and that efforts should be made to find out to what degree this may threaten human and animal health." (ScienceDaily)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Varying Quality of Dialysis Facilities Brought to Light

For over a year, the investigative journalism group, ProPublica, researched dialysis centers across the country. They discovered dire issues with the Medicare-covered treatment, which was meant to be an experiment in universal healthcare. "At clinics from coast to coast, patients commonly receive treatment in settings that are unsanitary and prone to perilous lapses in care," writes Robin Fields of ProPublica. "Regulators have few tools and little will to enforce quality standards. Industry consolidation has left patients with fewer choices of provider."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FDA Announces Recall of Abbott Glucose Test Strips

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that the agency is working with Abbott Diabetes Care to recall 359 different lots of glucose test strips that were sold between January and September 2010 and marketed under the following brand names: Precision Xceed Pro, Precision Xtra, Medisense Optium, Optium, OptiumEZ, and ReliOn Ultima.
    These test strips may give falsely low blood glucose results, which can lead patients to try to raise their blood glucose when it is unnecessary, or to fail to treat elevated blood glucose due to a falsely low reading.

    In the News

    Health insurance companies will be required to disclose any rate increases of 10% or more to the government. (New York Times)

    On Tuesday, the House approved the food safety bill that would increase the power of  the FDA and establish new regulations for domestic production and trading partners.(Los Angeles Times)

    Stem cells may provide advances in osteoporosis therapy.(MedWire)

    Psoriasis Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

    According to a the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), prevalence of metabolic syndrome among participants with psoriasis was 40% compared with 23% among control participants.The study encompasses the years 2003 to 2006, and details will be published in the April 2011 print issue of Archives of Dermatology.

    The study included 6,549 participants aged 20 to 59 years, and its limitations are small subgroup sizes, reliance on self-reported diagnosis of psoriasis not validated with an examination by a dermatologist, and inability to determine temporal relationships, as reported by Medscape. The research recommends that metabolic syndrome be taken into consideration in the long-term treatment of psoriasis.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Free Clinical Guideline Alert!

    The new clinical guideline for Endocrine & Nutritional Management of the Post-Bariatric Surgery Patient is now available on The Endocrine Society website. You can download a free PDF, or buy reprints for $15.00 each (member pricing). Some of the issues addressed in this guideline are prevention & treatment of weight regain, bone health & gout, and eating behavior considerations.

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Unlikely to Be Caused By XMRV

    New research published in Retrovirology shows that XMRV, a  Xenotropic Murine Leukemia-related Virus, is probably innocent in the case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Past tests appear to have been conducted with contaminated samples and laboratory supplies, according to NPR Health. Researchers agree that XMRV is unlikely to be the cause of CFS, but do not rule out the theory that a different virus could be the culprit. 

    The abstract for the report that found the XMRV tests to be contaminated is available online, and you can read the technical arguments on Neuroskeptic.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    The Hormone Foundation Launches New Homepage

    The new homepage for The Hormone Foundation is now live and fully functional. The website provides comprehensive resources for both patients and health professionals, including a database of Endocrine diseases and conditions and a physician referral directory.

    On the front page of the site you will find relevant news, fact sheets, and patient guides. Some pages are also available En EspaƱol with a simple click of the mouse

    In the News Today

    Carbohydrates are under attack as the source of American weight woes in a piece published by the Los Angeles Times, and a new study shows that meal replacements may not be effective in treating adolescent obesity.

    Health care law is still under fire, while a new law in Pennsylvania requires physicians to wear a photo ID that states their credentials, according to American Medical News.

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Endocrine Forecast

    The FDA wants to get rid of Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, as reported by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News. Mercury in silver dental fillings is another issue under evaluation by the FDA, which Mr. Williams also reported on. Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is reviewing growth hormone safety, as detailed by MedPage Today.

    Controversy about health care law continues to take headlines in the Washington Post and the New York Times.

    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism was referenced by MedWire in an article about Pancreatic Beta-Cell Function. 

    Patterns of alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease in culturally divergent countries: the Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction (PRIME)


    How can French men drink more than Irish men and yet maintain a much lower incidence of heart problems? A new study about the effects of alcohol consumption on heart disease in men from Northern Ireland and France provides fascinating insight to this question. Lifestyle, it appears, plays a major role. A glass of wine with lunch and dinner every day may increase heart health while pounding back pints of Guinness on the weekends seems to do the opposite.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Virginia Judge Rules Health Care Law Unconstitutional

    As announced in the New York Times, the ruling of Judge Henry E. Hudson came through today in the case of the Commonwealth of Virginia vs. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Hudson decreed that the law, which requires most Americans to obtain health insurance," exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution." Because the insurance requirement does not kick in until 2014, by which time the Supreme Court shall have ruled in regards to the law, this case is expected to have little immediate effect aside from a media flurry.