MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A team of researchers in Boston says a simple blood test could help predict the onset of Type II diabetes up to 10 years ahead of any symptoms.
The team, which followed more than 2,400 patients for 12 years, reported that 201 of the subjects eventually developed diabetes, according to a report on their research in Nature Medicine. They found that five amino acids had "highly significant associations with future diabetes."
Patients with the highest levels of amino acids were five times as likely to develop diabetes, they reported.
"These findings underscore the potential key role of amino acid metabolism early in the pathogenesis of diabetes and suggest that amino acid profiles could aid in diabetes risk assessment," according to the report.
“These findings could provide insight into metabolic pathways that are altered very early in the process leading to diabetes,” added Dr. Thomas Wang of Mass. General Hospital’s Cardiovascular Research Center in prepared remarks. “They also raise the possibility that, in selected individuals, these measurements could identify those at highest risk of developing diabetes so that early preventive measures could be instituted.”
Boston hospital performs first full face transplant in the U.S.
Surgeons in at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital performed the first full face transplant in the U.S., giving a new nose, lips, facial skin, muscles and nerves to a Fort Worth, Texas, man last week.
A team of more than 30 doctors and nurses took 15 hours to "replace the facial area of patient Dallas Wiens," according to a press release.
It’s the second face transplant to be performed at the hospital.
Quality-of-life gap between bypass surgery and stenting narrows
Percutaneous coronary intervention — better known as stenting — is gaining on coronary bypass graft surgery when it comes to quality of life, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Results from a quality-of-life analysis of data from the Syntax trial comparing the two coronary artery disease treatments. Patients who underwent CABG reported slightly better relief from chest pain than those treated via PCI.
Lead author Dr. David Cohen of Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City told the heartwire (paid) blog that most patients would experience "comparable" levels of angina a year after undergoing either procedure, meaning that the "gap is narrowing."
"The main finding is that bypass surgery is still somewhat better at relieving angina than PCI, but the difference is quite small, and to most patients, it’s probably negligible. I think the clinical message here is that angioplasty with the introduction of drug-eluting stents has continued to get better," Cohen said.
Stem cell therapy for enlarged hearts
Researchers used stem cells to help restore hearts enlarged by heart attacks to their normal size, using cells from the patients’ own bone marrow for the procedures.
The small study, involving eight male patients, must still be confirmed in larger trials. But co-author D. Joshua Hare of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine says the study is "a big step forward" after 10 years of research into stem cells.
“We can’t say whether that’ll be in three or seven years down the road. It’s hard to speculate precisely. But we’re talking sometime this decade,” he said.
Health care reform roundup
- Newt Gingrich predicts health care law repeal in 2013:
Newt Gingrich thinks the health care reform law will be repealed after the presidential election in 2012.
“I think it will be repealed probably by March or April 2013,”
the former House speaker said, adding that it’s unlikely that court challenges will succeed in striking down the law. “I think we could guarantee that people would have access to care dramatically easier and with much less complexity than ObamaCare,” Gingrich said. “It is clearly an indefensible bill.”
- Legal challenges proceed in Florida, D.C.:
The federal government wants the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to deny a request for initial en banc review of a lawsuit seeking to block the health care reform law. The feds say the plaintiffs, including 26 states led by Florida, are in a hurry to get the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia fast-tracked its review of Judge Gladys Kessler’s February dismissal of another challenge to the law.
Lead plaintiff the American Center for Law and Justice and five individual plaintiffs appealed Kessler’s ruling.
- Rep. Charles Gonzalez says individual mandate is crucial to genetic testing:
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) says the health care reform law’s individual mandate is the key to ensuring access to the latest generation of genetic tests, because it creates a pool of patients large enough for insurers to profitably cover the tests.
“The thrust of our bill was prevention and wellness,”Gonzalez said. “And this ties right into that.”
- States look to cope with or escape health care reform:
Legislators in Texas are looking to exempt the Lone Star State from the health care law, but in California hospitals are trying to get ahead of the curve by adapting to the law’s new accountable care organization rules. In Indiana, two hospitals plan to merge to be able to better comply with the law, and in the Bay State the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation cites eight lessons to learn from the Commmonwealth’s pioneering health care reform effort. But in North Dakota they’re not having any of it — the Peace Garden State is asking the feds for a waiver from the law’s requirements.