Econstudentlog

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Real-World Costs of Continuous Insulin Pump Therapy and Multiple Daily Injections for Type 1 Diabetes: A Population-Based and Propensity-Matched Cohort From the Swedish National Diabetes Register.

“Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, or insulin pump, therapy for individuals with type 1 diabetes has increased gradually since the 1980s. Yet, a Cochrane review concluded in 2010 that although some evidence indicates that insulin pumps improve glycemic control compared with standard multiple daily injection (MDI) therapy, insufficient evidence exists regarding mortality, morbidity, and costs (1). A systematic review of cost-effectiveness studies summarized comparisons of insulin pump and MDI therapy using model analyses to describe the expected impact on long-term costs, development of complications, and quality of life (2). Five of the studies reported long-term discounted incremental costs of insulin pumps of $20,000–$40,000, whereas two studies reported lower and one higher additional costs for insulin pump therapy. However, real-world data on health care and societal costs of insulin pump therapy compared with MDI therapy are scarce. […] Data from the Swedish National Diabetes Register (NDR) have shown a lower incidence of some cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality for individuals with type 1 diabetes on insulin pump therapy in 2005–2012 (5). Registration of insulin pump therapy started in 2002 in the NDR, and use of pump therapy among individuals with type 1 diabetes increased from 10% in 2002 to 22% in 2015 (6). A relevant research question from a health care planning perspective is whether real-world data match earlier model-based predictions for differences in resource use and costs. We investigated from a societal perspective costs of continuous insulin pump and MDI therapy in clinical practice for individuals with type 1 diabetes using the NDR and a 9-year observational panel from national health and socioeconomic data registers.”

“The final analysis set included data in 2005–2013 for 14,238 individuals with type 1 diabetes, of whom 4,991 had insulin pump therapy (598 individuals switched to pump therapy in 2005 or later after original inclusion as control subjects with MDI). We had 73,920 person-years of observation with a mean follow-up of 5 years per subject. […] The distribution of annual costs was left-skewed with a tail of observations with high costs, although the most person-years incurred costs corresponding to typical insulin therapy and up to two regular follow-up appointments […] The difference in the annual total cost between the therapy groups was $3,923 (95% CI $3,703–$4,143). […] The difference in annual medication costs, including disposables, was $3,600, indicating that they contributed significantly to overall annual cost differences. Pump users had more outpatient appointments (3.8 vs. 3.5 per year; P < 0.001) and were less likely to have person-years without use of outpatient or inpatient care (9% vs. 12% of person-years). Even with a median duration of diabetes of 21 years at baseline, the mean cost per patient-year of cardiovascular comorbidities and diabetic complications was low because of the overall low rates of events. […] Total annual costs increased with age for both insulin therapies, and pump therapy was associated with higher costs across age-groups. However, the cost increments for insulin pump therapy decreased with age (differences ranging from 56% for those 18–27 years of age to 44% for those ≥48 years [reference: MDI 18–27 years]). Total costs were higher for women but decreased with years of education and disposable income. […] The level of HbA1c at baseline affected the differences in average annual cost between study groups: the smallest difference ($2,300) was observed for individuals with HbA1c ≥8.6% (≥70 mmol/mol) and the greatest difference for individuals with HbA1c 6.5–8.5% (48–69 mmol/mol) at baseline [pump $12,824 vs. MDI $8,083; P < 0.001, US].”

“The study cohort was young (mean baseline age 34 years) with relatively few diabetic complications in both study groups. For instance, 1.5% of person-years had a cardiovascular event, and 5% had at least one health care contact with a cardiovascular diagnosis.

Observational studies provide a better indication of what is achieved in daily medical practice than randomized controlled studies (12). The strength of this observational study is the size and completeness of the study population, with virtually all adults with type 1 diabetes in Sweden included, longitudinal national register data, and a matching technique that accounts for time-variant variables, including diabetes duration, diabetes-related conditions and comorbidities, and demographic and socioeconomic factors. With the use of time-varying propensity scores, we allowed selected MDI control subjects to switch to pump therapy rather than to condition their eligibility or noneligibility on a future therapeutic change. The plentiful data allowed us to match two control subjects to each pump user to account for the variance in cost variables and enabled extensive subgroup and sensitivity analyses.”

“We observed only a few deaths (n = 353 [2.5% main analysis sample], no difference pump vs. MDI [OR 0.98 (95% CI 0.79–1.23)]) and similar rates of cardiovascular disease for pump and MDI in this study, except for borderline significantly fewer events with angina in the pump group. A heterogeneous distribution of events was found across nontreatment characteristics: ∼70% of all cardiovascular events occurred among individuals 48 years of age or older, and >90% of the events occurred among individuals with diabetes duration ≥20 years at baseline.

A lack of comparable calculations of total costs of diabetes treatment has been published to date, but cost-effectiveness studies of pump and MDI therapy have predicted long-term costs for the two treatment methods. Roze et al. (2) performed a meta-review of model-based studies that compared pump therapy and MDI, concluding that pump therapy can be cost effective. Published models have identified change in HbA1c and reduction in number of hypoglycemic events as important drivers of costs. A Swedish health technology assessment review in 2013 did not find evidence for differences in severe hypoglycemia between pump therapy and MDI but identified indications of lower HbA1c (13). […] Subgroup analyses by age indicated that the value of improved prevention may take time to manifest. Approximately one-quarter of additional annual costs for individuals with type 1 diabetes age ≥48 years (∼25% of the cohort) could be prevented with insulin pump therapy.

Whether insulin pump therapy is cost efficient ultimately depends on therapeutic effects beyond resource use and costs as well as on how much the payer is prepared to invest in additional quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). If the payer’s cost-effectiveness threshold is $50,000 per QALY gained, treatment needs to provide an average annual additional 0.1 QALY or, on the basis of the subgroup analyses, gains in the range of 0.06–0.12 QALY. Similarly, with a threshold of $100,000, the required gain in annual QALYs would have to be between 0.03 and 0.06. The average cost difference between insulin therapies in this study and a 20-year time horizon roughly correspond to a discounted (3%) lifetime cost difference of $62,000. The corresponding cost for a 40-year time horizon is $95,000. Previous model-based cost-effectiveness analyses have reported expected discounted QALY gains for a lifetime in the range of 0.46–1.06 QALYs, whereas the estimates of the increase in discounted lifetime costs varied (2).”

ii. Cumulative Risk of End-Stage Renal Disease Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Nationwide Inception Cohort Study.

“One of the most devastating complications of diabetes is chronic kidney disease. Relative to the general population, persons with diabetes have a 5- to 13-fold risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (46). ESRD extensively increases risk of death among patients with diabetes (79), and diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD in most industrialized countries (10); a study of 18 European countries showed that type 2 diabetes was the most frequent renal disease leading to initiation of renal replacement therapy (11).

Most earlier studies of the incidence of ESRD in diabetes have used prevalence cohorts, which means that patients have not been followed since their diabetes diagnosis. Patients with all types of diabetes typically have been included, and the incidence rate of ESRD has been 1–9 per 1,000 patient-years (4,1214), with larger estimates among African Americans and those with a longer duration of diabetes. Notably, a prevalence cohort study from Italy including only patients with type 2 diabetes showed that only 10 of 1,408 patients developed ESRD over a 10-year follow-up (15). To our knowledge, only two inception cohort studies have addressed the incidence of ESRD. The UK Prospective Diabetes Study followed 5,097 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, only 14 of whom required renal replacement therapy during the median follow-up of 10.4 years (16). However, the cumulative risk was not computed, and any subgroup analyses would not have been possible because of the small number of patients who developed ESRD. A population-based study from Saskatchewan, Canada, included 90,429 incident cases of diabetes among the adult study population, and the results showed an almost threefold risk of ESRD among indigenous patients (17). Among nonindigenous patients, the cumulative incidence of ESRD was ∼1–2% at 20 years since the diabetes diagnosis.

We and others have estimated the cumulative risk of ESRD in inception cohorts of patients with type 1 diabetes (1821). Although type 2 diabetes is a major cause of ESRD, cumulative risk of ESRD after type 2 diabetes has been diagnosed is not well known. Here, we present the cumulative risk of ESRD during a 24-year follow-up of a nationwide population-based cohort of 421,429 patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990–2011.”

“Of 421,429 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990–2011, 1,516 developed ESRD and 150,524 died before the end of 2013. The total number of patient-years of type 2 diabetes was 3,458,797 […]. The median follow-up was 6.82 years. A sex difference was found for age distribution: 70% of women and 55% of men were 60 years or older when type 2 diabetes was diagnosed. […] The cumulative risk of ESRD was 0.29% at 10 years and 0.74% at 20 years since the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. […] Men had a 93% higher risk of ESRD than women. […] this male predominance is a common finding for all causes of ESRD (10). […] As an alternative analysis, the incidence rate of ESRD was calculated among all prevalent cases of type 2 diabetes in the time periods 1990–1999 and 2000–2011, thus including patients who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before 1990 but who contributed patient-years in 1990–2013 […]. During a total of 4,345,251 patient-years, 2,127 patients developed ESRD, resulting in an incidence rate of 0.49 per 1,000 patient-years (95% CI 0.47–0.51). The incidence rate was higher among men (0.66 [95% CI 0.63–0.70]) than among women (0.33 [95% CI 0.31–0.35]) and in 2000–2013 (0.53 [95% CI 0.51–0.56]) than in 1990–1999 (0.37 [95% CI 0.34–0.41]). The incidence rate of ESRD had increased most among men older than 70 years. For both men and women, the incidence rate of ESRD peaked among those aged 60–79 years.”

“Among patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 1990 and 2011, the cumulative risk of death was 34% at 10 years and 64% at 20 years since the diagnosis of diabetes. […] Patients aged 70–79 years when diabetes was diagnosed had an eightfold risk of death during the follow-up compared with those aged 40–49 years. When calculating HR for death, occurrence of ESRD was included in the multivariable model as a time-dependent variable […], and ESRD increased the risk of death 4.2-fold during follow-up. […] In the interaction analysis, sex modified the effects of age and ESRD on HR for death. Among men, ESRD increased risk of death 3.8-fold and among women, 5.6-fold. Age (70–79 vs. 40–49 years) showed an HR for death of 7.4 among men and 9.8 among women. Also, a statistically significant interaction occurred between age and ESRD during follow-up, showing a weaker association between ESRD and risk of death among those aged 70 years or older (HR 3) than among those younger than 60 years (HR 5).”

“Our study shows that risk of ESRD is small among people with type 2 diabetes. This may seem unexpected, because a substantial proportion of patients are entering early stages of chronic kidney disease, with 25% of patients having microalbuminuria and 5% having macroalbuminuria 10 years after their diabetes diagnosis (16). These early stages of kidney disease are associated with increased premature mortality; this contributes to the fact that relatively few patients develop ESRD, as death is a common competing risk event. However, diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD in most industrialized countries, and because of a high and increasing prevalence of diabetes among the general population, a considerable absolute number of patients with type 2 diabetes need dialysis therapy (10,11). Our findings are important for clinicians who inform patients with type 2 diabetes about the associated risks and complications. […] Notably, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at an older age have a lower risk of ESRD and a higher risk of death than those diagnosed at a younger age. The cumulative risk of ESRD and death has decreased since the early 1990s among people with type 2 diabetes.”

iii. Impact of Age of Onset, Puberty, and Glycemic Control Followed From Diagnosis on Incidence of Retinopathy in Type 1 Diabetes: The VISS Study.

“In a population-based observational study, HbA1c for 451 patients diagnosed with diabetes before 35 years of age during 1983–1987 in southeast Sweden was followed for up to 18–24 years from diagnosis. Long-term mean weighted HbA1c (wHbA1c) was calculated. Retinopathy was evaluated by fundus photography and analyzed in relation to wHbA1c levels.”

RESULTS Lower wHbA1c, diabetes onset ≤5 years of age, and diabetes onset before puberty, but not sex, were associated with longer time to appearance of simplex retinopathy. Proliferative retinopathy was associated only with wHbA1c. The time to first appearance of any retinopathy decreased with increasing wHbA1c. Lower wHbA1c after ≤5 years’ diabetes duration was associated with later onset of simplex retinopathy but not proliferative retinopathy. With time, most patients developed simplex retinopathy, except for those of the category wHbA1c ≤50 mmol/mol (6.7%), for which 20 of 36 patients were without any retinopathy at the end of the follow-up in contrast to none of 49 with wHbA1c >80 mmol/mol (9.5%). […] At the end of the follow-up only 54 patients (12.5%) had no signs of retinopathy and 145 (33.6%) had slight simplex, 175 (40.5%) moderate simplex, and 57 (13.2%) proliferative retinopathy.”

CONCLUSIONS Onset at ≤5 years of age and lower wHbA1c the first 5 years after diagnosis are associated with longer duration before development of simplex retinopathy. There is a strong positive association between long-term mean HbA1c measured from diagnosis and up to 20 years and appearance of both simplex and proliferative retinopathy.”

“Complete avoidance of retinopathy in patients with type 1 diabetes evidently requires a very tight glycemic control, which is very difficult to achieve with the treatment tools available today and is also dangerous because of the risk of severe hypoglycemia (27). […] In clinical practice, it is of great importance to find the balance between the risk of potentially dangerous hypoglycemic events and quality of life and the risk of severe microvascular complications to be able to recommend an evidence-based optimal level of HbA1c both in the short-term and in the long-term. The observation that wHbA1c before and during puberty did not influence the prevalence of proliferative retinopathy at 20 years’ diabetes duration is of clinical importance in the setting of targets for glycemic control in young children for whom severe hypoglycemia might be especially dangerous.

Simplex retinopathy is not sight threatening, even if advanced simplex retinopathy is a risk factor for proliferative retinopathy (13). However, simplex retinopathy may regress, and in our study simplex retinopathy regressed in a group of patients with mean wHbA1c 7.0% (SD 0.7%) (53 [8] mmol/mol). Proliferative retinopathy is clinically more relevant and should be avoided. We previously showed that the threshold for proliferative retinopathy is higher than for simplex retinopathy (28). Proliferative retinopathy did not occur in this material in patients with wHbA1c <7.6% (60 mmol/mol), which indicates what should be an important goal for glycemic control. This is in close agreement with the position statement for type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents recently issued by the American Diabetes Association recommending an HbA1c target of <7.5% (58 mmol/mol) (31).

In summary, after 20 years of diabetes duration, there is a strong positive association between long-term mean wHbA1c followed from diagnosis and appearance of both simplex and proliferative retinopathy. Diabetes onset at <5 years of age and lower wHbA1c the first 5 years after diagnosis are associated with longer duration before development of simplex retinopathy but not proliferative retinopathy. Proliferative retinopathy does not appear in patients with wHbA1c <7.6% (60 mmol/mol).”

iv. Association of Diabetes and Glycated Hemoglobin With the Risk of Intracerebral Hemorrhage: A Population-Based Cohort Study.

“Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating condition accounting for 10–15% of all stroke cases. It is associated with a dismal prognosis, as only 38% of affected patients survive the first year (1).

Type 2 diabetes affects more than 415 million adults worldwide and is a well-known contributor to cardiovascular morbidity, cognitive decline, and all-cause mortality (2). Although diabetes is an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke (3), as yet there is no conclusive evidence for the association between diabetes and ICH, as previous studies showed conflicting results (48). […] We sought to determine 1) the association of diabetes and ICH and 2) the relationship between HbA1c levels and ICH in a large nationwide population-based cohort. […] We sought to determine 1) the association of diabetes and ICH and 2) the relationship between HbA1c levels and ICH in a large nationwide population-based cohort.”

Do keep in mind in the following that although the link between hemorrhagic stroke and diabetes is somewhat unclear (…for example: “in the Copenhagen Stroke Registry, hemorrhagic stroke was even six times less frequent in diabetic patients than in non-diabetic subjects (102). […] However, in another prospective population-based study DM was associated with an increased risk of primary intracerebral hemorrhage (103).”), the link between ischemic stroke and diabetes is strong and well-established – see the link for more details.

“This study is based on data from the computerized database of Clalit Health Services (CHS), which provides inclusive health care for more than half of the Israeli population. […] 313,130 patients had a preexisting diagnosis of diabetes and 1,167,585 individuals were without diabetes. Patients with diabetes had to have at least one test result for HbA1c in the 2 years before cohort entry (n = 297,486). Cohort participants (n = 1,465,071) were followed-up until reaching the study outcome (ICH), death, loss to follow-up, or end of follow-up at 31 December 2017 — whichever came first. […] The outcome of interest was ICH, defined as primary discharge diagnosis with ICH (ICD-9 code 431). […] Overall 4,170 patients had incident ICH during a mean (SD) follow-up of 7.3 (1.8) years and 10,730,915 person-years, reflecting an ICH crude incidence rate of 38.8 per 100,000 person-years. […] The strongest risk factors for ICH were prior ICH, prior stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA), use of anticoagulation, hypertension, alcohol abuse, male sex, Arab ethnicity, chronic liver disease, and older age.”

“Because of the large number of potential confounders, we performed adjustment for a disease risk score (DRS), a summary measure of disease probability. The DRS was estimated using a Cox proportional hazards regression model for ICH outcome that included most clinically relevant ICH risk factors and other clinical covariates likely to be correlated with ICH […]. In comparison with conventional multivariate analyses, adjustment for the single variable DRS increases the efficiency of the analyses (16,17). It has been shown than the DRS and propensity score methods had comparable performance and that DRS has an advantage when multiple comparison groups are studied (16,17). […] The crude incidence rate of ICH was 78.9 per 100,000 person-years among patients with diabetes and 29.4 per 100,000 person-years among patients without diabetes (crude HR 2.69 [95% CI 2.53–2.87]) (Table 2). Diabetes remained significantly associated with ICH after adjustment for DRS (1.36 [1.27–1.45]). […] The results were unchanged after exclusion of new cases of diabetes and after censoring at the time of new diabetes diagnosis occurring during follow-up: DRS-adjusted HR 1.37 (95% CI 1.28–1.46) and 1.38 (1.29–1.47), respectively. […] The risk of ICH was directly associated with diabetes duration. Compared with the group without diabetes, the DRS-adjusted HR was 1.23 (95% CI 1.12–1.35) and 1.44 (1.34–1.56) for diabetes duration ≤5 years and >5 years, respectively. The corresponding HRs with adjustment for propensity score were 1.27 (1.15–1.41) and 1.65 (1.50–1.80), respectively […] HbA1c was significantly associated with ICH among patients with diabetes: adjusted HR 1.14 (95% CI 1.10–1.17) for each 1% increase in HbA1c […] HbA1c appears to have a nonlinear J-shaped relationship with ICH (Pnonlinearity = 0.0186), with the lowest risk observed at HbA1c of 6.5% (48 mmol/mol). […] The risk of ICH among patients with HbA1c of 6.5–6.7% (48–50 mmol/mol) was comparable with the risk in patients without diabetes, suggesting that albeit having diabetes, patients with good, but not extreme, diabetes control do not appear to have excess risk of ICH compared with patients without diabetes.”

“To date, the exact mechanisms underlying the association between diabetes, HbA1c, and ICH remain unknown. […] In summary, our study suggests that diabetes is associated with increased risk of ICH that is directly associated with diabetes duration. ICH and HbA1c appear to have a J-shaped relationship, suggesting that both poor control as well as extreme intensive diabetes control might be associated with increased risk.”

v. Nonproteinuric Versus Proteinuric Phenotypes in Diabetic Kidney Disease: A Propensity Score–Matched Analysis of a Nationwide, Biopsy-Based Cohort Study.

“Mainly based on the analysis of the data from patients with type 1 diabetes, in the clinical course of diabetic kidney disease it has long been considered that an increase of albuminuria, from normoalbuminuria (urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio ratio [UACR] <30 mg/g) to microalbuminuria (UACR 30–299 mg/g) to macroalbuminuria (UACR ≥300 mg/g), precedes the progression of renal decline (defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] <60 mL/min/1.73 m2) (13). Morphological changes known as nodular glomerular sclerosis (Kimmelstiel-Wilson nodule) have also been observed in patients with diabetes and loss of renal function (4,5). Therefore, patients with diabetes and reduced renal function are deemed to have overt proteinuria with nodular glomerular sclerosis. Recently, however, cumulative evidence from several cross-sectional studies revealed that a proportion of patients with type 2 diabetes develop progression of renal decline without proteinuria (macroalbuminuria) or even without microalbuminuria, suggesting the existence of a nonproteinuric phenotype of diabetic kidney disease defined as eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and UACR <300 mg/g (611). Despite increasing attention, few clinical trials and longitudinal studies in type 2 diabetes include individuals without proteinuria or individuals with biopsy-proven diabetic kidney disease, and therefore their clinicopathological characteristics, renal prognosis, and all-cause mortality are very limited.

Similar to the U.S. and most countries in Europe, Japan has been suffering from the expanding trend in the continued increase of the prevalence of diabetic kidney disease that leads to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and high mortality (1215). Commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development with a goal of better understanding and halting the pandemic of diabetic kidney disease, we established a nationwide biopsy-based cohort of diabetic kidney disease with followed-up data, including ESRD and death ascertainment. Using this nationwide cohort and propensity score–matching methods, we aimed to investigate clinicopathological characteristics, renal prognosis, and mortality in patients with the nonproteinuric phenotype of diabetic kidney disease compared with patients with the classical proteinuric phenotype of diabetic kidney disease.”

“This is a retrospective study of patients who underwent clinical renal biopsy performed from 1 January 1985 to 31 December 2016 and had a pathological diagnosis of diabetic kidney disease at [one of] 18 hospitals in Japan […] 895 patients underwent clinical renal biopsy and had a pathological diagnosis of diabetic kidney disease in our cohort […]. We identified 526 who had an eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 at the time of biopsy. Among them, 88 had nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease (UACR <300 mg/g), and 438 had proteinuric diabetic kidney disease (UACR ≥300 mg/g) at baseline. After propensity score matching, the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group comprised 82 patients and the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group comprised 164 patients […] In propensity score–matched cohorts, the blood pressure in patients with nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease was better controlled compared with patients with proteinuric diabetic kidney disease, although patients with nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease were less prescribed RAAS blockade. Patients with nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease had lower total cholesterol levels and higher hemoglobin levels. For pathological characteristics, there was a difference in classification assignment for diabetic kidney disease between the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group and proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group. […] Compared with the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group, the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group had less severe interstitial and vascular lesions. […] In a multivariable logistic regression model, older age, lower systolic blood pressure, higher hemoglobin level, and higher HbA1c were significantly associated with a higher odds of nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease.”

“After a median follow-up of 1.8 years (IQR 0.9–3.7) from the date of renal biopsy, 297 (56%) of the 526 patients had renal events. The 5-year CKD progression-free survival was 33.2% (95% CI 28.4–38.2%) for all patients, 86.9% (95% CI 73.1–93.9%) for the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group, and 24.5% (95% CI 19.8–29.5%) for the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group (log-rank test P < 0.001) […]. The same trend was seen in the propensity score–matched cohort: After a median follow-up of 1.9 years (IQR 0.9–5.0) from the date of renal biopsy, 124 (50%) of the 246 matched patients had renal events. The 5-year CKD progression-free survival was 46.4% (95% CI 38.7–53.6%) for all patients, 86.6% (95% CI 72.5–93.8%) for the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group, and 30.3% (95% CI 22.4–38.6%) for the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group (log-rank test P < 0.001) […]. Similarly, for the secondary outcome (all-cause mortality), after a median follow-up of 2.7 years (IQR 1.1–5.7) from the date of renal biopsy, 55 (10%) of the 526 patients had death events. The 5-year death-free survival was 89.7% (95% CI 85.6–92.7%) for all patients, 98.4% (95% CI 89.1–99.8%) for the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group, and 87.5% (95% CI 82.5–91.2%) for the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group (log-rank test P < 0.001) […]. The same trend was seen in the propensity matched cohort: After a median follow-up of 3.1 years (IQR 1.3–7.0) from the date of renal biopsy, 35 (14%) of the 246 matched patients had death events. The 5-year death-free survival was 88.2% (95% CI 82.0–92.3%) for all patients, 98.3% (95% CI 88.7–99.8%) for the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group, and 82.6% (95% CI 73.6–88.8%) for the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group (log-rank test P = 0.005) […] The overall CKD progression incidence was significantly lower in the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group (30 [95% CI 18–50] per 1,000 person-years) than in the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group (231 [95% CI 191–278] per 1,000 person-years; crude HR 0.15 [95% CI 0.08–0.26]). After adjustment for age, sex, known duration of diabetes, and baseline eGFR, the risk of CKD progression remained lower in the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease cohort than in the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease cohort (adjusted HR 0.13 [95% CI 0.08–0.24]). The risk of CKD progression was consistently lower in the nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease group than in the proteinuric diabetic kidney disease group when stratified by potential confounders such as age, sex, obesity, retinopathy, smoking status, use of RAAS blockade, hypertension, dyslipidemia, poor glycemic control, lower eGFR, and pathological findings.”

“In conclusion, in propensity score–matched cohorts of biopsy-proven nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease and proteinuric diabetic kidney disease, patients with nonproteinuric diabetic kidney disease had lower blood pressure with less frequent typical pathological lesions and were at lower risk of CKD progression and all-cause mortality. Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings in other cohorts.”

vi. Single herbal medicine for diabetic retinopathy (Cochrane).

“Diabetic retinopathy is one of the major causes of blindness and the number of cases has risen in recent years. Herbal medicine has been used to treat diabetes and its complications including diabetic retinopathy for thousands of years around the world. However, common practice is not always evidence‐based. Evidence is needed to help people with diabetic retinopathy or doctors to make judicious judgements about using herbal medicine as treatment.”

“We included 10 studies involving 754 participants, of which nine were conducted in China and one in Poland. In all studies, participants in both groups received conventional treatment for diabetic retinopathy which included maintaining blood glucose and lipids using medicines and keeping a stable diabetic diet. In three studies, the comparator group also received an additional potentially active comparator in the form of a vasoprotective drug. The single herbs or extracts included Ruscus extract tablet, Sanqi Tongshu capsule, tetramethylpyrazine injection, Xueshuantong injection, Puerarin injection and Xuesaitong injection. The Sanqi Tongshu capsule, Xueshuantong injection and Xuesaitong injection were all made from the extract of Radix Notoginseng (San qi) and the main ingredient was sanchinoside. The risk of bias was high in all included studies mainly due to lack of masking (blinding). None of the studies reported the primary outcome of this review, progression of retinopathy.

Combined analysis of herbal interventions suggested that people who took these herbs in combination with conventional treatment may have been more likely to gain 2 or more lines of visual acuity compared to people who did not take these herbs when compared to conventional intervention alone at the end of treatment (RR 1.26, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.48; 5 trials, 541 participants; low‐certainty evidence). Subgroup analyses based on the different single herbs found no evidence for different effects of different herbs, but the power of this analysis was low. […]

Authors’ conclusions

No conclusions could be drawn about the effect of any single herb or herbal extract on diabetic retinopathy from the current available evidence. It was difficult to exclude the placebo effect as a possible explanation for observed differences due to the lack of placebo control in the included studies. Further adequately designed trials are needed to establish the evidence.”

 

September 25, 2019 Posted by | Diabetes, Epidemiology, Health Economics, Medicine, Nephrology, Ophthalmology, Studies | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Identical and Nonidentical Twins: Risk and Factors Involved in Development of Islet Autoimmunity and Type 1 Diabetes.

Some observations from the paper:

“Type 1 diabetes is preceded by the presence of preclinical, persistent islet autoantibodies (1). Autoantibodies against insulin (IAA) (2), GAD (GADA), insulinoma-associated antigen 2 (IA-2A) (3), and/or zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8A) (4) are typically present prior to development of symptomatic hyperglycemia and progression to clinical disease. These autoantibodies may develop many years before onset of type 1 diabetes, and increasing autoantibody number and titers have been associated with increased risk of progression to disease (57).

Identical twins have an increased risk of progression of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes after one twin is diagnosed, although reported rates have been highly variable (30–70%) (811). This risk is increased if the proband twin develops diabetes at a young age (12). Concordance rates for type 1 diabetes in monozygotic twins with long-term follow-up is >50% (13). Risk for development of islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes for nonidentical twins is thought to be similar to non-twin siblings (risk of 6–10% for diabetes) (14). Full siblings who inherit both high-risk HLA (HLA DQA1*05:01 DR3/4*0302) haplotypes identical to their proband sibling with type 1 diabetes have a much higher risk for development of diabetes than those who share only one or zero haplotypes (55% vs. 5% by 12 years of age, respectively; P = 0.03) (15). Despite sharing both HLA haplotypes with their proband, siblings without the HLA DQA1*05:01 DR3/4*0302 genotype had only a 25% risk for type 1 diabetes by 12 years of age (15).”

“The TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study (previously the TrialNet Natural History Study; 16) has been screening relatives of patients with type 1 diabetes since 2004 and follows these subjects with serial autoantibody testing for the development of islet autoantibodies and type 1 diabetes. The study offers longitudinal monitoring for autoantibody-positive subjects through HbA1c testing and oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs).”

“The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of islet autoantibodies and analyze a logistic regression model to test the effects of genetic factors and common twin environment on the presence or absence of islet autoantibodies in identical twins, nonidentical twins, and full siblings screened in the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study. In addition, this study analyzed the presence of islet autoantibodies (GADA, IA-2A, and IAA) and risk of type 1 diabetes over time in identical twins, nonidentical twins, and full siblings followed in the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study. […] A total of 48,051 sibling subjects were initially screened (288 identical twins, 630 nonidentical twins, and 47,133 full siblings). Of these, 48,026 had an initial screening visit with GADA, IA2A, and IAA results (287 identical twins, 630 nonidentical twins, and 47,109 full siblings). A total of 17,226 participants (157 identical twins, 283 nonidentical twins and 16,786 full siblings) were followed for a median of 2.1 years (25th percentile 1.1 year and 75th percentile 4.0 years), with follow-up defined as at least ≥12 months follow-up after initial screening visit.”

“At the initial screening visit, GADA was present in 20.2% of identical twins (58 out of 287), 5.6% of nonidentical twins (35 out of 630), and 4.7% of full siblings (2,205 out of 47,109) (P < 0.0001). Additionally, IA-2A was present primarily in identical twins (9.4%; 27 out of 287) and less so in nonidentical twins (3.3%; 21 out of 630) and full siblings (2.2%; 1,042 out of 47,109) (P = 0.0001). Nearly 12% of identical twins (34 out of 287) were positive for IAA at initial screen, whereas 4.6% of nonidentical twins (29 out of 630) and 2.5% of full siblings (1,152 out of 47,109) were initially IAA positive (P < 0.0001).”

“At 3 years of follow-up, the risk for development of GADA was 16% for identical twins, 5% for nonidentical twins, and 4% for full siblings (P < 0.0001) (Fig. 1A). The risk for development of IA-2A by 3 years of follow-up was 7% for identical twins, 4% for nonidentical twins, and 2% for full siblings (P = 0.0005) (Fig. 1B). At 3 years of follow-up, the risk of development of IAA was 10% for identical twins, 5% for nonidentical twins, and 4% for full siblings (P = 0.006) […] In initially autoantibody-negative subjects, 1.5% of identical twins, 0% of nonidentical twins, and 0.5% of full siblings progressed to diabetes at 3 years of follow-up (P = 0.18) […] For initially single autoantibody–positive subjects, at 3 years of follow-up, 69% of identical twins, 13% of nonidentical twins, and 12% of full siblings developed type 1 diabetes (P < 0.0001) […] Subjects who were positive for multiple autoantibodies at screening had a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes at 3 years of follow-up with 69% of identical twins, 72% of nonidentical twins, and 47% of full siblings developing type 1 diabetes (P = 0.079)”

“Because TrialNet is not a birth cohort and the median age at screening visit was 11 years overall, this study would not capture subjects who had initial seroconversion at a young age and then progressed through the intermediate stage of multiple antibody positivity before developing diabetes.”

“This study of >48,000 siblings of patients with type 1 diabetes shows that at initial screening, identical twins were more likely to have at least one positive autoantibody and be positive for GADA, IA-2A, and IAA than either nonidentical twins or full siblings. […] risk for development of type 1 diabetes at 3 years of follow-up was high for both single and multiple autoantibody–positive identical twins (62–69%) and multiple autoantibody–positive nonidentical twins (72%) compared with 47% for initially multiple autoantibody–positive full siblings and 12–13% for initially single autoantibody–positive nonidentical twins and full siblings. To our knowledge, this is the largest prediagnosis study to evaluate the effects of genetic factors and common twin environment on the presence or absence of islet autoantibodies.

In this study, younger age, male sex, and genetic factors were significantly associated with expression of IA-2A, IAA, more than one autoantibody, and more than two autoantibodies, whereas only genetic factors were significant for GADA. An influence of common twin environment (E) was not seen. […] Previous studies have shown that identical twin siblings of patients with type 1 diabetes have a higher concordance rate for development of type 1 diabetes compared with nonidentical twins, although reported rates for identical twins have been highly variable (30–70%) […]. Studies from various countries (Australia, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, and U.S.) have reported concordance rates for nonidentical twins ∼5–15% […]. Concordance rates have been higher when the proband was diagnosed at a younger age (8), which may explain the variability in these reported rates. In this study, autoantibody-negative nonidentical and identical twins had a low risk of type 1 diabetes by 3 years of follow-up. In contrast, once twins developed autoantibodies, risk for type 1 diabetes was high for multiple autoantibody nonidentical twins and both single and multiple autoantibody identical twins.”

ii. A Type 1 Diabetes Genetic Risk Score Can Identify Patients With GAD65 Autoantibody–Positive Type 2 Diabetes Who Rapidly Progress to Insulin Therapy.

This is another paper in the ‘‘ segment from the February edition of Diabetes Care – multiple other papers on related topics were also included in that edition, so if you’re interested in the genetics of diabetes it may be worth checking out.

Some observations from the paper:

“Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease due to a gradual reduction in the capacity of the pancreatic islet cells (β-cells) to produce insulin (1). The clinical course of this progression is highly variable, with some patients progressing very rapidly to requiring insulin treatment, whereas others can be successfully treated with lifestyle changes or oral agents for many years (1,2). Being able to identify patients likely to rapidly progress may have clinical utility in prioritization monitoring and treatment escalation and in choice of therapy.

It has previously been shown that many patients with clinical features of type 2 diabetes have positive GAD65 autoantibodies (GADA) and that the presence of this autoantibody is associated with faster progression to insulin (3,4). This is often termed latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) (5,6). However, the predictive value of GADA testing is limited in a population with clinical type 2 diabetes, with many GADA-positive patients not requiring insulin treatment for many years (4,7). Previous research has suggested that genetic variants in the HLA region associated with type 1 diabetes are associated with more rapid progression to insulin in patients with clinically defined type 2 diabetes and positive GADA (8).

We have recently developed a type 1 diabetes genetic risk score (T1D GRS), which provides an inexpensive ($70 in our local clinical laboratory and <$20 where DNA has been previously extracted), integrated assessment of a person’s genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (9). The score is composed of 30 type 1 diabetes risk variants weighted for effect size and aids discrimination of type 1 diabetes from type 2 diabetes. […] We aimed to determine if the T1D GRS could predict rapid progression to insulin (within 5 years of diagnosis) over and above GADA testing in patients with a clinical diagnosis of type 2 diabetes treated without insulin at diagnosis.”

“We examined the relationship between GADA, T1D GRS, and progression to insulin therapy using survival analysis in 8,608 participants with clinical type 2 diabetes initially treated without insulin therapy. […] In this large study of participants with a clinical diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, we have found that type 1 genetic susceptibility alters the clinical implications of a positive GADA when predicting rapid time to insulin. GADA-positive participants with high T1D GRS were more likely to require insulin within 5 years of diagnosis, with 48% progressing to insulin in this time in contrast to only 18% in participants with low T1D GRS. The T1D GRS was independent of and additive to participant’s age of diagnosis and BMI. However, T1D GRS was not associated with rapid insulin requirement in participants who were GADA negative.”

“Our findings have clear implications for clinical practice. The T1D GRS represents a novel clinical test that can be used to enhance the prognostic value of GADA testing. For predicting future insulin requirement in patients with apparent type 2 diabetes who are GADA positive, T1D GRS may be clinically useful and can be used as an additional test in the screening process. However, in patients with type 2 diabetes who are GADA negative, there is no benefit gained from genetic testing. This is unsurprising, as the prevalence of underlying autoimmunity in patients with a clinical phenotype of type 2 diabetes who are GADA negative is likely to be extremely low; therefore, most GADA-negative participants with high T1D GRS will have nonautoimmune diabetes. The use of this two-step testing approach may facilitate a precision medicine approach to patients with apparent type 2 diabetes; patients who are likely to progress rapidly are identified for targeted management, which may include increased monitoring, early therapy intensification, and/or interventions aimed at slowing progression (36,37).

The costs of analyzing the T1D GRS are relatively modest and may fall further, as genetic testing is rapidly becoming less expensive (38). […] In conclusion, a T1D GRS alters the clinical implications of a positive GADA test in patients with clinical type 2 diabetes and is independent of and additive to clinical features. This therefore represents a novel test for identifying patients with rapid progression in this population.”

iii. Retinopathy and RAAS Activation: Results From the Canadian Study of Longevity in Type 1 Diabetes.

“Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of preventable blindness in individuals ages 20–74 years and is the most common vascular complication in type 1 and type 2 diabetes (13). On the basis of increasing severity, diabetic retinopathy is classified into nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), defined in early stages by the presence of microaneurysms, retinal vascular closure, and alteration, or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), defined by the growth of new aberrant blood vessels (neovascularization) susceptible to hemorrhage, leakage, and fibrosis (4). Diabetic macular edema (DME) can be present at any stage of retinopathy and is characterized by increased vascular permeability leading to retinal thickening.

Important risk factors for the development of retinopathy continue to be chronic hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes duration (5,6). Given the systemic nature of these risk factors, cooccurrence of retinopathy with other vascular complications is common in patients with diabetes.”

“A key pathway implicated in diabetes-related small-vessel disease is overactivation of neurohormones. Activation of the neurohormonal renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) pathway predominates in diabetes in response to hyperglycemia and sodium retention. The RAAS plays a pivotal role in regulating systemic BP through vasoconstriction and fluid-electrolyte homeostasis. At the tissue level, angiotensin II (ANGII), the principal mediator of the RAAS, is implicated in fibrosis, oxidative stress, endothelial damage, thrombosis, inflammation, and vascular remodeling. Of note, systemic RAAS blockers reduce the risk of progression of eye disease but not DKD [Diabetic Kidney Disease, US] in adults with type 1 diabetes with normoalbuminuria (12).

Several longitudinal epidemiologic studies of diabetic retinopathy have been completed in type 1 diabetes; however, few have studied the relationships between eye, nerve, and renal complications and the influence of RAAS activation after prolonged duration (≥50 years) in adults with type 1 diabetes. As a result, less is known about mechanisms that persist in diabetes-related microvascular complications after long-standing diabetes. Accordingly, in this cross-sectional analysis from the Canadian Study of Longevity in Type 1 Diabetes involving adults with type 1 diabetes for ≥50 years, our aims were to phenotype retinopathy stage and determine associations between the presence of retinopathy and other vascular complications. In addition, we examined the relationship between retinopathy stage and renal and systemic hemodynamic function, including arterial stiffness, at baseline and dynamically after RAAS activation with an infusion of exogenous ANGII.”

“Of the 75 participants, 12 (16%) had NDR [no diabetic retinopathy], 24 (32%) had NPDR, and 39 (52%) had PDR […]. At baseline, those with NDR had lower mean HbA1c compared with those with NPDR and PDR (7.4 ± 0.7% and 7.5 ± 0.9%, respectively; P for trend = 0.019). Of note, those with more severe eye disease (PDR) had lower systolic and diastolic BP values but a significantly higher urine albumin-to-creatine ratio (UACR) […] compared with those with less severe eye disease (NPDR) or with NDR despite higher use of RAAS inhibitors among those with PDR compared with NPDR or NDR. History of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease history was significantly higher in participants with PDR (33.3%) than in those with NPDR (8.3%) or NDR (0%). Diabetic sensory polyneuropathy was prevalent across all groups irrespective of retinopathy status but was numerically higher in the PDR group (95%) than in the NPDR (86%) or NDR (75%) groups. No significant differences were observed in retinal thickness across the three groups.”

One quick note: This was mainly an eye study, but some of the other figures here are well worth taking note of. 3 out of 4 people in the supposedly low-risk group without eye complications had sensory polyneuropathy after 50 years of diabetes.

Conclusions

Hyperglycemia contributes to the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy through multiple interactive pathways, including increased production of advanced glycation end products, IGF-I, vascular endothelial growth factor, endothelin, nitric oxide, oxidative damage, and proinflammatory cytokines (2933). Overactivation of the RAAS in response to hyperglycemia also is implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetes-related complications in the retina, nerves, and kidney and is an important therapeutic target in type 1 diabetes. Despite what is known about these underlying pathogenic mechanisms in the early development of diabetes-related complications, whether the same mechanisms are active in the setting of long-standing type 1 diabetes is not known. […] In this study, we observed that participants with PDR were more likely to be taking RAAS inhibitors, to have a higher frequency of cardiovascular or peripheral vascular disease, and to have higher UACR levels, likely reflecting the higher overall risk profile of this group. Although it is not possible to determine why some patients in this cohort developed PDR while others did not after similar durations of type 1 diabetes, it seems unlikely that glycemic control alone is sufficient to fully explain the observed between-group differences and differing vascular risk profiles. Whereas the NDR group had significantly lower mean HbA1c levels than the NPDR and PDR groups, differences between participants with NPDR and those with PDR were modest. Accordingly, other factors, such as differences in vascular function, neurohormones, growth factors, genetics, and lifestyle, may play a role in determining retinopathy severity at the individual level.

The association between retinopathy and risk for DKD is well established in diabetes (34). In the setting of type 2 diabetes, patients with high levels of UACR have twice the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy than those with normal UACR levels. For example, Rodríguez-Poncelas et al. (35) demonstrated that impaired renal function is linked with increased diabetic retinopathy risk. Consistent with these studies and others, the PDR group in this Canadian Study of Longevity in Type 1 Diabetes demonstrated significantly higher UACR, which is associated with an increased risk of DKD progression, illustrating that the interaction between eye and kidney disease progression also may exist in patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes. […] In conclusion, retinopathy was prevalent after prolonged type 1 diabetes duration, and retinopathy severity associated with several measures of neuropathy and with higher UACR. Differential exaggerated responses to RAAS activation in the peripheral vasculature of the PDR group highlights that even in the absence of DKD, neurohormonal abnormalities are likely still operant, and perhaps accentuated, in patients with PDR even after long-standing type 1 diabetes duration.”

iv. Clinical and MRI Features of Cerebral Small-Vessel Disease in Type 1 Diabetes.

“Type 1 diabetes is associated with a fivefold increased risk of stroke (1), with cerebral small-vessel disease (SVD) as the most common etiology (2). Cerebral SVD in type 1 diabetes, however, remains scarcely investigated and is challenging to study in vivo per se owing to the size of affected vasculature (3); instead, MRI signs of SVD are studied. In this study, we aimed to assess the prevalence of cerebral SVD in subjects with type 1 diabetes compared with healthy control subjects and to characterize diabetes-related variables associated with SVD in stroke-free people with type 1 diabetes.”

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS This substudy was cross-sectional in design and included 191 participants with type 1 diabetes and median age 40.0 years (interquartile range 33.0–45.1) and 30 healthy age- and sex-matched control subjects. All participants underwent clinical investigation and brain MRIs, assessed for cerebral SVD.

RESULTS Cerebral SVD was more common in participants with type 1 diabetes than in healthy control subjects: any marker 35% vs. 10% (P = 0.005), cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) 24% vs. 3.3% (P = 0.008), white matter hyperintensities 17% vs. 6.7% (P = 0.182), and lacunes 2.1% vs. 0% (P = 1.000). Presence of CMBs was independently associated with systolic blood pressure (odds ratio 1.03 [95% CI 1.00–1.05], P = 0.035).”

Conclusions

Cerebral SVD is more common in participants with type 1 diabetes than in healthy control subjects. CMBs especially are more prevalent and are independently associated with hypertension. Our results indicate that cerebral SVD starts early in type 1 diabetes but is not explained solely by diabetes-related vascular risk factors or the generalized microvascular disease that takes place in diabetes (7).

There are only small-scale studies on cerebral SVD, especially CMBs, in type 1 diabetes. Compared with the current study, one study with similar diabetes characteristics (i.e., diabetes duration, glycemic control, and blood pressure levels) as in the current study, but lacking a control population, showed a higher prevalence of WMHs, with more than half of the participants affected, but similar prevalence of lacunes and lower prevalence of CMBs (8). In another study, including 67 participants with type 1 diabetes and 33 control subjects, there was no difference in WMH prevalence but a higher prevalence of CMBs in participants with type 1 diabetes and retinopathy compared with control subjects (9). […] In type 1 diabetes, albuminuria and systolic blood pressure independently increase the risk for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke (12). […] We conclude that cerebral SVD is more common in subjects with type 1 diabetes than in healthy control subjects. Future studies will focus on longitudinal development of SVD in type 1 diabetes and the associations with brain health and cognition.”

v. The Legacy Effect in Type 2 Diabetes: Impact of Early Glycemic Control on Future Complications (The Diabetes & Aging Study).

“In the U.S., an estimated 1.4 million adults are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year and present an important intervention opportunity for health care systems. In patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the benefits of maintaining an HbA1c <7.0% (<53 mmol/mol) are well established. The UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) found that a mean HbA1c of 7.0% (53 mmol/mol) lowers the risk of diabetes-related end points by 12–32% compared with a mean HbA1c of 7.9% (63 mmol/mol) (1,2). Long-term observational follow-up of this trial revealed that this early glycemic control has durable effects: Reductions in microvascular events persisted, reductions in cardiovascular events and mortality were observed 10 years after the trial ended, and HbA1c values converged (1). Similar findings were observed in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) in patients with type 1 diabetes (24). These posttrial observations have been called legacy effects (also metabolic memory) (5), and they suggest the importance of early glycemic control for the prevention of future complications of diabetes. Although these clinical trial long-term follow-up studies demonstrated legacy effects, whether legacy effects exist in real-world populations, how soon after diabetes diagnosis legacy effects may begin, or for what level of glycemic control legacy effects may exist are not known.

In a previous retrospective cohort study, we found that patients with newly diagnosed diabetes and an initial 10-year HbA1c trajectory that was unstable (i.e., changed substantially over time) had an increased risk for future microvascular events, even after adjusting for HbA1c exposure (6). In the same cohort population, this study evaluates associations between the duration and intensity of glycemic control immediately after diagnosis and the long-term incidence of future diabetic complications and mortality. We hypothesized that a glycemic legacy effect exists in real-world populations, begins as early as the 1st year after diabetes diagnosis, and depends on the level of glycemic exposure.”

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS This cohort study of managed care patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and 10 years of survival (1997–2013, average follow-up 13.0 years, N = 34,737) examined associations between HbA1c <6.5% (<48 mmol/mol), 6.5% to <7.0% (48 to <53 mmol/mol), 7.0% to <8.0% (53 to <64 mmol/mol), 8.0% to <9.0% (64 to <75 mmol/mol), or ≥9.0% (≥75 mmol/mol) for various periods of early exposure (0–1, 0–2, 0–3, 0–4, 0–5, 0–6, and 0–7 years) and incident future microvascular (end-stage renal disease, advanced eye disease, amputation) and macrovascular (stroke, heart disease/failure, vascular disease) events and death, adjusting for demographics, risk factors, comorbidities, and later HbA1c.

RESULTS Compared with HbA1c <6.5% (<48 mmol/mol) for the 0-to-1-year early exposure period, HbA1c levels ≥6.5% (≥48 mmol/mol) were associated with increased microvascular and macrovascular events (e.g., HbA1c 6.5% to <7.0% [48 to <53 mmol/mol] microvascular: hazard ratio 1.204 [95% CI 1.063–1.365]), and HbA1c levels ≥7.0% (≥53 mmol/mol) were associated with increased mortality (e.g., HbA1c 7.0% to <8.0% [53 to <64 mmol/mol]: 1.290 [1.104–1.507]). Longer periods of exposure to HbA1c levels ≥8.0% (≥64 mmol/mol) were associated with increasing microvascular event and mortality risk.

CONCLUSIONS Among patients with newly diagnosed diabetes and 10 years of survival, HbA1c levels ≥6.5% (≥48 mmol/mol) for the 1st year after diagnosis were associated with worse outcomes. Immediate, intensive treatment for newly diagnosed patients may be necessary to avoid irremediable long-term risk for diabetic complications and mortality.”

Do note that the effect sizes here are very large and this stuff seems really quite important. Judging from the results of this study, if you’re newly diagnosed and you only obtain a HbA1c of say, 7.3% in the first year, that may translate into a close to 30% increased risk of death more than 10 years into the future, compared to a scenario of an HbA1c of 6.3%. People who did not get their HbA1c measured within the first 3 months after diagnosis had a more than 20% increased risk of mortality during the study period. This seems like critical stuff to get right.

vi. Event Rates and Risk Factors for the Development of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Adult Patients With Type 1 Diabetes: Analysis From the DPV Registry Based on 46,966 Patients.

“Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) that results from absolute insulin deficiency and is marked by acidosis, ketosis, and hyperglycemia (1). Therefore, prevention of DKA is one goal in T1DM care, but recent data indicate increased incidence (2).

For adult patients, only limited data are available on rates and risk factors for development of DKA, and this complication remains epidemiologically poorly characterized. The Diabetes Prospective Follow-up Registry (DPV) has followed patients with diabetes from 1995. Data for this study were collected from 2000 to 2016. Inclusion criteria were diagnosis of T1DM, age at diabetes onset ≥6 months, patient age at follow-up ≥18 years, and diabetes duration ≥1 year to exclude DKA at manifestation. […] In total, 46,966 patients were included in this study (average age 38.5 years [median 21.2], 47.6% female). The median HbA1c was 7.7% (61 mmol/mol), median diabetes duration was 13.6 years, and 58.3% of the patients were treated in large diabetes centers.

On average, 2.5 DKA-related hospital admissions per 100 patient-years (PY) were observed (95% CI 2.1–3.0). The rate was highest in patients aged 18–30 years (4.03/100 PY) and gradually declined with increasing age […] No significant differences between males (2.46/100 PY) and females (2.59/100 PY) were found […] Patients with HbA1c levels <7% (53 mmol/mol) had significantly fewer DKA admissions than patients with HbA1c ≥9% (75 mmol/mol) (0.88/100 PY vs. 6.04/100 PY; P < 0.001)”

“Regarding therapy, use of an insulin pump (continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion [CSII]) was not associated with higher DKA rates […], while patients aged 31–50 years on CSII showed lower rates than patients using multiple daily injections (2.21 vs. 3.12/100 PY; adjusted P < 0.05) […]. Treatment in a large center was associated with lower DKA-related hospital admissions […] In both adults and children, poor metabolic control was the strongest predictor of hospital admission due to DKA. […] In conclusion, the results of this study identify patients with T1DM at risk for DKA (high HbA1c, diabetes duration 5–10 years, migrants, age 30 years and younger) in real-life diabetes care. These at-risk individuals may need specific attention since structured diabetes education has been demonstrated to specifically reduce and prevent this acute complication.”

August 13, 2019 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Genetics, Immunology, Medicine, Molecular biology, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Studies | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. The dynamic origins of type 1 diabetes.

“Over a century ago, there was diabetes and only diabetes. Subsequently, diabetes came to be much more discretely defined (1) by age at onset (childhood or adult onset), clinical phenotype (lean or obese), treatment (insulin dependent or not insulin dependent), and, more recently, immune genotype (type 1 or type 2 diabetes). Although these categories broadly describe groups, they are often insufficient to categorize specific individuals, such as children having non–insulin-dependent diabetes and adults having type 1 diabetes (T1D) even when not requiring insulin. Indeed, ketoacidosis at presentation can be a feature of either T1D or type 2 diabetes. That heterogeneity extends to the origins and character of both major types of diabetes. In this issue of Diabetes Care, Redondo et al. (2) leverage the TrialNet study of subjects with a single diabetes-associated autoantibody at screening in order to explore factors determining progression to multiple autoantibodies and, subsequently, the pathogenesis of T1D.

T1D is initiated by presumed nongenetic event(s) operating in children with potent genetic susceptibility. But there is substantial heterogeneity even within the origins of this disease. Those nongenetic events evoke different autoantibodies such that T1D patients with insulin autoantibodies (IAA) have different features from those with GAD autoantibodies (GADA) (3,4). The former, in contrast with the latter, are younger both at seroconversion and at development of clinical diabetes, the two groups having different genetic risk and those with IAA having greater insulin secretory loss […]. These observations hint at distinct disease-associated networks leading to T1D, perhaps induced by distinct nongenetic events. Such disease-associated pathways could operate in unison, especially in children with T1D, who often have multiple autoantibodies. […]

Genetic analyses of autoimmune diseases suggest that only a small number of pathways contribute to disease risk. These pathways include NF-κB signaling, T-cell costimulation, interleukin-2, and interleukin-21 pathways and type 1 interferon antiviral responses (5,6). T1D shares most risk loci with celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis (5), while paradoxically most risk loci shared with inflammatory bowel disease are protective or involve different haplotypes at the same locus. […] Events leading to islet autoimmunity may be encountered very early in life and invoke disease risk or disease protection (4,7) […]. Islet autoantibodies rarely appear before age 6 months, and among children with a family history of T1D there are two peaks for autoantibody seroconversion (3,4), the first for IAA at approximately age 1–2 years, while GADA-restricted autoimmunity develops after age 3 years up to adolescence, with a peak at about age 11 years”

“The precise nature of […] disease-associated nongenetic events remains unclear, but knowledge of the disease heterogeneity (1,9) has cast light on their character. Nongenetic events are implicated in increasing disease incidence, disease discordance even between identical twins, and geographical variation; e.g., Finland has 100-fold greater childhood T1D incidence than China (9,10). That effect likely increases with older age at onset […] disease incidence in Finland is sixfold greater than in an adjacent, relatively impoverished Russian province, despite similar racial origins and frequencies of high-risk HLA DQ genotypes […] Viruses, especially enteroviruses, and dietary factors have been invoked (1215). The former have been implicated because of the genetic association with antiviral interferon networks, seasonal pattern of autoantibody conversion, seroconversion being associated with enterovirus infections, and protection from seroconversion by maternal gestational respiratory infection, while respiratory infections even in the first year of life predispose to seroconversion (14) […]. Dietary factors also predispose to seroconversion and include the time of introduction of solid foods and the use of vitamin C and vitamin D (13,15). The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) found that early exposure to solid food (1–3 months of age) and vitamin C and late exposure to vitamin D and gluten (after 6 and 9 months of age, respectively) are T1D risk factors, leading the researchers to suggest that genetically at-risk children should have solid foods introduced at about 4 months of age with a diet high in dairy and fruit (13).” [my bold, US]

“This TCF7L2 locus is of particular interest in the context of T1D (9) as it is usually seen as the major type 2 diabetes signal worldwide. The rs7903146 SNP optimally captures that TCF7L2 disease association and is likely the causal variant. Intriguingly, this locus is associated, in some populations, with those adult-onset autoimmune diabetes patients with GADA alone who masquerade as having type 2 diabetes, since they initially do not require insulin therapy, and also markedly increases the diabetes risk in cystic fibrosis patients. One obvious explanation for these associations is that adult-onset autoimmune diabetes is simply a heterogeneous disease, an admixture of both T1D and type 2 diabetes (9), in which shared genes alter the threshold for diabetes. […] A high proportion of T1D cases present in adulthood (17,18), likely more than 50%, and many do not require insulin initially. The natural history, phenotype, and metabolic changes in adult-onset diabetes with GADA resemble a separate cluster of cases with type 2 diabetes but without GADA, which together constitute up to 24% of adult-onset diabetes (19). […] Knowledge of heterogeneity enables understanding of disease processes. In particular, identification of distinct pathways to clinical diabetes offers the possibility of defining distinct nongenetic events leading to T1D and, by implication, modulating those events could limit or eliminate disease progression. There is a growing appreciation that the two major types of diabetes may share common etiopathological factors. Just as there are a limited number of genes and pathways contributing to autoimmunity risk, there may also be a restricted number of pathways contributing to β-cell fragility.”

ii. The Association of Severe Diabetic Retinopathy With Cardiovascular Outcomes in Long-standing Type 1 Diabetes: A Longitudinal Follow-up.

OBJECTIVE It is well established that diabetic nephropathy increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but how severe diabetic retinopathy (SDR) impacts this risk has yet to be determined.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The cumulative incidence of various CVD events, including coronary heart disease (CHD), peripheral artery disease (PAD), and stroke, retrieved from registries, was evaluated in 1,683 individuals with at least a 30-year duration of type 1 diabetes drawn from the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy Study (FinnDiane).”

RESULTS During 12,872 person-years of follow-up, 416 incident CVD events occurred. Even in the absence of DKD [Diabetic Kidney Disease], SDR increased the risk of any CVD (hazard ratio 1.46 [95% CI 1.11–1.92]; P < 0.01), after adjustment for diabetes duration, age at diabetes onset, sex, smoking, blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, history of hypoglycemia, and serum lipids. In particular, SDR alone was associated with the risk of PAD (1.90 [1.13–3.17]; P < 0.05) and CHD (1.50 [1.09–2.07; P < 0.05) but not with any stroke. Moreover, DKD increased the CVD risk further (2.85 [2.13–3.81]; P < 0.001). […]

CONCLUSIONS SDR alone, even without DKD, increases cardiovascular risk, particularly for PAD, independently of common cardiovascular risk factors in long-standing type 1 diabetes. More remains to be done to fully understand the link between SDR and CVD. This knowledge could help combat the enhanced cardiovascular risk beyond currently available regimens.”

“The 15-year cumulative incidence of any CVD in patients with and without SDR was 36.8% (95% CI 33.4–40.1) and 27.3% (23.3–31.0), respectively (P = 0.0004 for log-rank test) […] Patients without DKD and SDR at baseline had 4.0-fold (95% CI 3.3–4.7) increased risk of CVD compared with control subjects without diabetes up to 70 years of age […]. Intriguingly, after this age, the CVD incidence was similar to that in the matched control subjects (SIR 0.9 [95% CI 0.3–1.9]) in this subgroup of patients with diabetes. However, in patients without DKD but with SDR, the CVD risk was still increased after the patients had reached 70 years of age (SIR 3.4 [95% CI 1.8–6.2]) […]. Of note, in patients with both DKD and SDR, the CVD burden was high already at young ages.”

“This study highlights the role of SDR on a complete range of CVD outcomes in a large sample of patients with long-standing T1D and longitudinal follow-up. We showed that SDR alone, without concomitant DKD, increases the risk of macrovascular disease, independently of the traditional risk factors. The risk is further increased in case of accompanying DKD, especially if SDR is present together with DKD. Findings from this large and well-characterized cohort of patients have a direct impact on clinical practice, emphasizing the importance of regular screening for SDR in individuals with T1D and intensive multifactorial interventions for CVD prevention throughout their life span.

This study also confirms and complements previous data on the continuum of diabetic vascular disease, by which microvascular and macrovascular disease do not seem to be separate diseases, but rather interconnected (10,12,18). The link is most obvious for DKD, which clearly emerges as a major predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (2,24,25). The association of SDR with CVD is less clear. However, our recent cross-sectional study with the Joslin Medalist Study showed that the CVD risk was in fact increased in patients with SDR on top of DKD compared with DKD alone (19). In the present longitudinal study, we were able to extend those results also to show that SDR alone, without DKD and after the adjustment for other traditional risk factors, increases CVD risk substantially. SDR further increases CVD risk in case DKD is present as well. In addition, the role of SDR as an independent CVD risk predictor is also supported by our data using albuminuria as a marker of DKD. This is important because albuminuria is a known predictor of diabetic retinopathy progression (26) as well as a recognized biomarker for CVD.”

“A novel finding is that, independently of any signs of DKD, the risk of PAD is increased twofold in the presence of SDR. Although this association has recently been highlighted in individuals with type 2 diabetes (10,29), the data in T1D are scarce (16,30). Notably, the previous studies mostly lack adjustments for DKD, the major predictor of mortality in patients with shorter diabetes duration. Both complications, besides sharing some conventional cardiovascular risk factors, may be linked by additional pathological processes involving changes in the microvasculature in both the retina and the vasa vasorum of the conductance vessels (31). […] Patients with T1D duration of >30 years face a continuously increased CVD risk that is further increased by the occurrence of advanced PDR. Therefore, by examining the retina, additional insight into individual CVD risk is gained and can guide the clinician to a more tailored approach to CVD prevention. Moreover, our findings suggest that the link between SDR and CVD is at least partially independent of traditional risk factors, and the mechanism behind the phenomenon warrants further research, aiming to find new therapies to alleviate the CVD burden more efficiently.”

The model selection method employed in the paper is far from optimal [“Variables for the model were chosen based on significant univariable associations.” – This is not the way to do things!], but regardless these are interesting results.

iii. Fasting Glucose Variability in Young Adulthood and Cognitive Function in Middle Age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.

“Individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) have 50% greater risk for the development of neurocognitive dysfunction relative to those without T2D (13). The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for the early detection of cognitive impairment for adults ≥65 years of age with diabetes (4). Coupled with the increasing prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes, this calls for better understanding of the impact of diabetes on cerebral structure and function (5,6). Among older individuals with diabetes, higher intraindividual variability in glucose levels around the mean is associated with worse cognition and the development of Alzheimer disease (AD) (7,8). […] Our objectives were to characterize fasting glucose (FG) variability during young adulthood before the onset of diabetes and to assess whether such variability in FG is associated with cognitive function in middle adulthood. We hypothesized that a higher variability of FG during young adulthood would be associated with a lower level of cognitive function in midlife compared with lower FG variability.”

“We studied 3,307 CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) Study participants (age range 18–30 years and enrolled in 1985–1986) at baseline and calculated two measures of long-term glucose variability: the coefficient of variation about the mean FG (CV-FG) and the absolute difference between successive FG measurements (average real variability [ARV-FG]) before the onset of diabetes over 25 and 30 years of follow-up. Cognitive function was assessed at years 25 (2010–2011) and 30 (2015–2016) with the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), Rey-Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), Stroop Test, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, and category and letter fluency tests. We estimated the association between glucose variability and cognitive function test score with adjustment for clinical and behavioral risk factors, mean FG level, change in FG level, and diabetes development, medication use, and duration.

RESULTS After multivariable adjustment, 1-SD increment of CV-FG was associated with worse cognitive scores at year 25: DSST, standardized regression coefficient −0.95 (95% CI −1.54, −0.36); RAVLT, −0.14 (95% CI −0.27, −0.02); and Stroop Test, 0.49 (95% CI 0.04, 0.94). […] We did not find evidence for effect modification by race or sex for any variability-cognitive function association”

CONCLUSIONS Higher intraindividual FG variability during young adulthood below the threshold of diabetes was associated with worse processing speed, memory, and language fluency in midlife independent of FG levels. […] In this cohort of black and white adults followed from young adulthood into middle age, we observed that greater intraindividual variability in FG below a diabetes threshold was associated with poorer cognitive function independent of behavioral and clinical risk factors. This association was observed above and beyond adjustment for concurrent glucose level; change in FG level during young adulthood; and diabetes status, duration, and medication use. Intraindividual glucose variability as determined by CV was more strongly associated with cognitive function than was absolute average glucose variability.”

iv. Maternal Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy and Type 1 Diabetes in Children — A National Prospective Cohort Study. It is important that papers like these get published and read, even if the results may not sound particularly exciting:

“Prenatal prescription of antibiotics is common but may perturb the composition of the intestinal microbiota in the offspring. In childhood the latter may alter the developing immune system to affect the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes (1). Previous epidemiological studies reported conflicting results regarding the association between early exposure to antibiotics and childhood type 1 diabetes (2,3). Here we investigated the association in a Danish register setting.

The Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) provided data from 100,418 pregnant women recruited between 1996 and 2002 and their children born between 1997 and 2003 (n = 96,840). The women provided information on exposures during and after pregnancy. Antibiotic prescription during pregnancy was obtained from the Danish National Prescription Registry (anatomical therapeutic chemical code J01) [it is important to note that: “In Denmark, purchasing antibiotics requires a prescription, and all purchases are registered at the Danish National Prescription Registry”], and type 1 diabetes diagnoses (diagnostic codes DE10 and DE14) during childhood and adolescence were obtained from the Danish National Patient Register. The children were followed until 2014 (mean follow-up time 14.3 years [range 11.5–18.4 years, SD 1.4]).”

“A total of 336 children developed type 1 diabetes during follow-up. Neither overall exposure (hazard ratio [HR] 0.90; 95% CI 0.68–1.18), number of courses (HR 0.36–0.97[…]), nor trimester-specific exposure (HR 0.81–0.89 […]) of antibiotics in utero was associated with childhood diabetes. Moreover, exposure to specific types of antibiotics in utero did not change the risk of childhood type 1 diabetes […] This large prospective Danish cohort study demonstrated that maternal use of antibiotics during pregnancy was not associated with childhood type 1 diabetes. Thus, the results from this study do not support a revision of the clinical recommendations on treatment with antibiotics during pregnancy.”

v. Decreasing Cumulative Incidence of End-Stage Renal Disease in Young Patients With Type 1 Diabetes in Sweden: A 38-Year Prospective Nationwide Study.

“Diabetic nephropathy is a devastating complication to diabetes. It can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which demands renal replacement therapy (RRT) with dialysis or kidney transplantation. In addition, diabetic nephropathy is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (1,2). As a nation, Sweden, next to Finland, has the highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in the world (3), and the incidence of childhood-onset diabetes is increasing globally (4,5). The incidence of ESRD caused by diabetic nephropathy in these Nordic countries is fairly low as shown in recent studies, 3–8% at maximum 30 years’ of diabetes duration (6,7). This is to be compared with studies from Denmark in the 1980s that showed a cumulative incidence of diabetic nephropathy of 41% at 40 years of diabetes duration. Older, hospital-based cohort studies found that the incidence of persistent proteinuria seemed to peak at 25 years of diabetes duration; after that, the incidence levels off (8,9). This implies the importance of genetic susceptibility as a risk factor for diabetic nephropathy, which has also been indicated in recent genome-wide scan studies (10,11). Still, modifiable factors such as metabolic control are clearly of major importance in the development of diabetic nephropathy (1215). Already in 1994, a decreasing incidence of diabetic nephropathy was seen in a hospital-based study in Sweden, and the authors concluded that this was mainly driven by better metabolic control (16). Young age at onset of diabetes has previously been found to protect, or postpone, the development of ESRD caused by diabetic nephropathy, while diabetes onset at older ages is associated with increased risk (7,9,17). In a previous study, we found that age at onset of diabetes affects men and women differently (7). Earlier studies have indicated a male predominance (8,18), while our previous study showed that the incidence of ESRD was similar in men and women with diabetes onset before 20 years of age, but with diabetes onset after 20 years of age, men had increased risk of developing ESRD compared with women. The current study analyzes the incidence of ESRD due to type 1 diabetes, and changes over time, in a large Swedish population-based cohort with a maximum follow-up of 38 years.”

“Earlier studies have shown that it takes ∼15 years to develop persistent proteinuria and another 10 to proceed to ESRD (9,25). In the current study population, no patients developed ESRD because of type 1 diabetes at a duration <14 years; thus only patients with diabetes duration of ≥14 years were included in the study. […] A total of 18,760 unique patients were included in the study: 10,560 (56%) men and 8,200 (44%) women. The mean age at the end of the study was somewhat lower for women, 38.9 years, compared with 40.2 years for men. Women tend to develop type 1 diabetes about a year earlier than men: mean age 15.0 years for women compared with 16.5 years for men. There was no difference regarding mean diabetes duration between men and women in the study (23.8 years for women and 23.7 years for men). A total of 317 patients had developed ESRD due to diabetes. The maximum diabetes duration was 38.1 years for patients in the SCDR and 32.6 years for the NDR and the DISS. The median time from onset of diabetes to ESRD was 22.9 years (minimum 14.1 and maximum 36.6). […] At follow-up, 77 patients with ESRD and 379 without ESRD had died […]. The risk of dying during the course of the study was almost 12 times higher among the ESRD patients (HR 11.9 [95% CI 9.3–15.2]) when adjusted for sex and age. Males had almost twice as high a risk of dying as female patients (HR 1.7 [95% CI 1.4–2.1]), adjusted for ESRD and age.”

“The overall incidence rate of ESRD during 445,483 person-years of follow-up was 0.71 per 1,000 person-years. […] The incidence rate increases with diabetes duration. For patients with diabetes onset at 0–9 and 10–19 years of age, there was an increase in incidence up to 36 years of duration; at longer durations, the number of cases is too small and results must be interpreted with caution. With diabetes onset at 20–34 years of age the incidence rate increases until 25 years of diabetes duration, and then a decrease can be observed […] In comparison of different time periods, the risk of developing ESRD was lower in patients with diabetes onset in 1991–2001 compared with onset in 1977–1984 (HR 3.5 [95% CI 2.3–5.3]) and 1985–1990 (HR 2.6 [95% CI 1.7–3.8]), adjusted for age at follow-up and sex. […] The lowest risk of developing ESRD was found in the group with onset of diabetes before the age of 10 years — both for males and females […]. With this group as reference, males diagnosed with diabetes at 10–19 or 20–34 years of age had increased risk of ESRD (HR 2.4 [95% CI 1.6–3.5] and HR 2.2 [95% CI 1.4–3.3]), respectively. For females, the risk of developing ESRD was also increased with diabetes onset at 10–19 years of age (HR 2.4 [95% CI 1.5–3.6]); however, when diabetes was diagnosed after the age of 20 years, the risk of developing ESRD was not increased compared with an early onset of diabetes (HR 1.4 [95% CI 0.8–3.4]).”

“By combining data from the SCDR, DISS, and NDR registers and identifying ESRD cases via the SRR, we have included close to all patients with type 1 diabetes in Sweden with diabetes duration >14 years who developed ESRD since 1991. The cumulative incidence of ESRD in this study is low: 5.6% (5.9% and 5.3% for males and females, respectively) at maximum 38 years of diabetes duration. For the first time, we could see a clear decrease in ESRD incidence in Sweden by calendar year of diabetes onset. The results are in line with a recent study from Norway that reported a modest incidence of 5.3% after 40 years of diabetes duration (27). In the current study, we found a decrease in the incidence rate after 25 years of diabetes duration in the group with diabetes onset at 20–34 years. With age at onset of diabetes 0–9 or 10–19 years, the ESRD incidence rate increases until 35 years of diabetes duration, but owing to the limited number of patients with longer duration we cannot determine whether the peak incidence has been reached or not. We can, however, conclude that the onset of ESRD has been postponed at least 10 years compared with that in older prospective cohort studies (8,9). […] In conclusion, this large population-based study shows a low incidence of ESRD in Swedish patients with onset of type 1 diabetes after 1977 and an encouraging decrease in risk of ESRD, which is probably an effect of improved diabetes care. We confirm that young age at onset of diabetes protects against, or prolongs, the time until development of severe complications.”

vi. Hypoglycemia and Incident Cognitive Dysfunction: A Post Hoc Analysis From the ORIGIN Trial. Another potentially important negative result, this one related to the link between hypoglycemia and cognitive impairment:

“Epidemiological studies have reported a relationship between severe hypoglycemia, cognitive dysfunction, and dementia in middle-aged and older people with type 2 diabetes. However, whether severe or nonsevere hypoglycemia precedes cognitive dysfunction is unclear. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between hypoglycemia and incident cognitive dysfunction in a group of carefully followed patients using prospectively collected data in the Outcome Reduction with Initial Glargine Intervention (ORIGIN) trial.”

“This prospective cohort analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial included individuals with dysglycemia who had additional cardiovascular risk factors and a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score ≥24 (N = 11,495). Severe and nonsevere hypoglycemic events were collected prospectively during a median follow-up time of 6.2 years. Incident cognitive dysfunction was defined as either reported dementia or an MMSE score of <24. The hazard of at least one episode of severe or nonsevere hypoglycemia for incident cognitive dysfunction (i.e., the dependent variable) from the time of randomization was estimated using a Cox proportional hazards model after adjusting for baseline cardiovascular disease, diabetes status, treatment allocation, and a propensity score for either form of hypoglycemia.

RESULTS This analysis did not demonstrate an association between severe hypoglycemia and incident cognitive impairment either before (hazard ratio [HR] 1.16; 95% CI 0.89, 1.52) or after (HR 1.00; 95% CI 0.76, 1.31) adjusting for the severe hypoglycemia propensities. Conversely, nonsevere hypoglycemia was inversely related to incident cognitive impairment both before (HR 0.59; 95% CI 0.52, 0.68) and after (HR 0.58; 95% CI 0.51, 0.67) adjustment.

CONCLUSIONS Hypoglycemia did not increase the risk of incident cognitive dysfunction in 11,495 middle-aged individuals with dysglycemia. […] These findings provide no support for the hypothesis that hypoglycemia causes long-term cognitive decline and are therefore reassuring for patients and their health care providers.”

vii. Effects of Severe Hypoglycemia on Cardiovascular Outcomes and Death in the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial.

“The VADT was a large randomized controlled trial aimed at determining the effects of intensive treatment of T2DM in U.S. veterans (9). In the current study, we examine predictors and consequences of severe hypoglycemia within the VADT and report several key findings. First, we identified risk factors for severe hypoglycemia that included intensive therapy, insulin use, proteinuria, and autonomic neuropathy. Consistent with prior reports in glucose-lowering studies, severe hypoglycemia occurred at a threefold significantly greater rate in those assigned to intensive glucose lowering. Second, severe hypoglycemia was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality in both the standard and the intensive treatment groups. Of importance, however, severe hypoglycemia was associated with an even greater risk of all-cause mortality in the standard compared with the intensive treatment group. Third, the association between severe hypoglycemia and serious cardiovascular events was greater in individuals with an elevated risk for CVD at baseline.”

“Mean participant characteristics were as follows: age, 60.4 years; duration of diabetes, 11.5 years; BMI, 31.3 kg/m2; and HbA1c, 9.4%. Seventy-two percent had hypertension, 40% had a previous cardiovascular event, 62% had a microvascular complication, and 52% had baseline insulin use. The standard and intensive treatment groups included 899 and 892 participants, respectively. […] During the study, the standard treatment group averaged 3.7 severe hypoglycemic events per 100 patient-years versus 10.3 events per 100 patient-years in the intensive treatment group (P < 0.001). Overall, the combined rate of severe hypoglycemia during follow-up in the VADT from both study arms was 7.0 per 100 patient-years. […] Severe hypoglycemia within the prior 3 months was associated with an increased risk for composite cardiovascular outcome (HR 1.9 [95% CI 1.1, 3.5]; P = 0.03), cardiovascular mortality (3.7 [1.3, 10.4]; P = 0.01), and all-cause mortality (2.4 [1.1, 5.1]; P = 0.02) […]. More distant hypoglycemia (4–6 months prior) had no independently associated increased risk with adverse events or death. The association of severe hypoglycemia with cardiovascular events or cardiovascular mortality were not significantly different between the intensive and standard treatment groups […]. In contrast, the association of severe hypoglycemia with all-cause mortality was significantly greater in the standard versus the intensive treatment group (6.7 [2.7, 16.6] vs. 0.92 [0.2, 3.8], respectively; P = 0.019 for interaction). Because of the relative paucity of repeated severe hypoglycemic events in either study group, there was insufficient power to determine whether more than one episode of severe hypoglycemia increased the risk of subsequent outcomes.”

“Although recent severe hypoglycemia increased the risk of major cardiovascular events for those with a 10-year cardiovascular risk score of 35% (HR 2.88 [95% CI 1.57, 5.29]; absolute risk increase per 10 episodes = 0.252; number needed to harm = 4), hypoglycemia was not significantly associated with increased major cardiovascular events for those with a risk score of ≤7.5%. The absolute associated risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality increased with higher CVD risk for all three outcomes […]. We were not able to identify, however, any group of patients in either treatment arm in which severe hypoglycemia did not increase the risk of CVD events and mortality at least to some degree.”

“Although the explanation for the relatively greater risk of serious adverse events after severe hypoglycemia in the standard treatment group is unknown, we agree with previous reports that milder episodes of hypoglycemia, which are more frequent in the intensive treatment group, may quantitatively blunt the release of neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system responses and their resultant metabolic and cardiovascular responses to hypoglycemia, thereby lessening the impact of subsequent severe hypoglycemic episodes (18,19). Episodes of prior hypoglycemia have rapid and significant effects on reducing (i.e., blunting) subsequent counterregulatory responses to a falling plasma glucose level (20,21). Thus, if one of the homeostatic counterregulatory responses (e.g., epinephrine) also can initiate unwanted intravascular atherothrombotic consequences, it may follow that severe hypoglycemia in a more intensively treated and metabolically well-controlled individual would provoke a reduced counterregulatory response. Although hypoglycemia frequency may be increased in these individuals, this may also lower unwanted and deleterious effects on the vasculature from counterregulatory responses. On the other hand, an isolated severe hypoglycemic event in a less well-controlled individual could provoke a relatively greater counterregulatory response with a proportionally attendant elevated risk for adverse vascular effects (22). In support of this, we previously reported in a subset of VADT participants that despite more frequent serious hypoglycemia in the intensive therapy group, progression of coronary artery calcium scores after severe hypoglycemia only occurred in the standard treatment group (23).”

“In the current study, we demonstrate that the association of severe hypoglycemia with subsequent serious adverse cardiovascular events and death occurred within the preceding 3 months but not beyond. The temporal relationship and proximity of severe hypoglycemia to a subsequent serious cardiovascular event and/or death has been investigated in a number of recent clinical trials in T2DM (25,13,14). All these trials consistently reported an association between severe hypoglycemic and subsequent serious adverse events. However, the proximity of severe hypoglycemic events to subsequent adverse events and death varies. In ADVANCE, a severe hypoglycemic episode increased the risk of major cardiovascular events for both the next 3 months and the following 6 months. In A Trial Comparing Cardiovascular Safety of Insulin Degludec Versus Insulin Glargine in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes at High Risk of Cardiovascular Events (DEVOTE) and the Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes: Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcome Results (LEADER) trial, there was an increased risk of either serious cardiovascular events or all-cause mortality starting 15 days and extending (albeit with decreasing risk) up to 1 year after severe hypoglycemia (13,14).”

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Genetics, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Studies | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Glycemic Control and Risk of Infections Among People With Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes in a Large Primary Care Cohort Study. From the paper:

“Infections are widely considered to be a source of significant health care costs and to reduce quality of life among people with diabetes mellitus (DM) (1). Nevertheless, relatively few, large, well-designed, epidemiological studies have explored relationships between poorer control of DM and infections; previous studies have important limitations (1). Most randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of DM control have not investigated the effect of improved glycemic control on infections and are unlikely to do so at present because of the high cost and lack of good-quality supporting observational evidence. […] A recent review of higher-quality population-based epidemiological studies found clinically important (∼1.5–3.5 times higher) infection risks associated with poorer DM control in some studies (usually defined as a glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c] level >7–8% [53–64 mmol/mol]) (1). However, the studies were inconsistent, generating uncertainty about the evidence.

A key concern with previous work is that the measurement of HbA1c usually was made at or near to the time of the infection, so any association could be explained by reverse causality. Any infectious disease episode can itself have an adverse effect on glycemic control, a process known as stress hyperglycemia (4); hence, blood glucose or HbA1c measurements near the time of an infection may be elevated, rendering determination of the chronology and relationship between the two difficult. Several studies with serial HbA1c measurements have shown that the stress hyperglycemia response can be substantial (46). Another important issue is that studies of incident DM often use measurements of HbA1c obtained during initial presentation, and these typically do not represent subsequent levels after initiation of treatment; use of such measurements may obscure associations between usual HbA1c level and infection risk. Other limitations of previous work include a lack of consideration of type of DM (especially T1DM) and fewer older people with DM. The current study uses a large English primary care database with repeated HbA1c measurements wherein we can classify individuals more precisely in terms of their baseline glycemic control as well as ensure that these HbA1c measurements were made before the infection episode.”

“With the use of English primary care data, average glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) during 2008–2009 was estimated for 85,312 patients with DM ages 40–89 years. Infection rates during 2010–2015 compiled from primary care, linked hospital, and mortality records were estimated across 18 infection categories and further summarized as any requiring a prescription or hospitalization or as cause of death. Poisson regression was used to estimate adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) by HbA1c categories across all DM, and type 1 and type 2 DM separately. IRRs also were compared with 153,341 age-sex-practice–matched controls without DM. Attributable fractions (AF%) among patients with DM were estimated for an optimal control scenario (HbA1c 6–7% [42–53 mmol/mol]).”

“Crude infection rates during 2010–2015 estimated across 18 different categories confirmed consistently higher rates among patients with DM […]. Long-term infection risk rose with increasing HbA1c for most outcomes. Compared with patients without DM, those with DM and optimal control (HbA1c 6–7% [42–53 mmol/mol], IRR 1.41 [95% CI 1.36–1.47]) and poor control (≥11% [97 mmol/mol], 4.70 [4.24–5.21]) had elevated hospitalization risks for infection. In patients with type 1 DM and poor control, this risk was even greater (IRR 8.47 [5.86–12.24]). Comparisons within patients with DM confirmed the risk of hospitalization with poor control (2.70 [2.43–3.00]) after adjustment for duration and other confounders. AF% of poor control were high for serious infections, particularly bone and joint (46%), endocarditis (26%), tuberculosis (24%), sepsis (21%), infection-related hospitalization (17%), and mortality (16%). […] even patients with DM with good control were at an increased risk compared with matched controls without DM. Thus, compared with patients without DM, patients with DM and good control (mean HbA1c 6–7%, IRR 1.41 [95% CI 1.36–1.47]) and those with poor control (≥11%, 4.70 [4.24–5.21]) had elevated hospitalization risks for infection. These risks were higher among patients with T1DM. For example, patients with T1DM with a mean HbA1c ≥11%, had more than eight times the risk of hospitalization than their matched controls without DM (IRR 8.47 [5.86–12.24]), whereas for T2DM, this was four times higher (4.31 [3.88–4.80]). […] Patients with T1DM […] had higher rates of hospitalization (1.12 [1.01–1.24]) and death as a result of infection (1.42 [1.03–1.96]) than patients with T2DM, even after accounting for duration of DM.”

“In terms of the overall population effect, almost one-half of bone and joint infections among patients with DM were attributed to poor control. […] The most novel and concerning finding is the substantial proportion of other serious infections statistically attributable to poor glycemic control, particularly endocarditis, tuberculosis, and sepsis. Between 20 and 30% of these infections in the English DM population could be attributed to poor control. […] [W]e estimated AF% for the three summary groupings […] plus individual infection types […] across HbA1c categories for patients with DM compared with the optimal control scenario of 6–7%. The largest AF% estimate was for bone and joint infections, with 46.0% of hospitalizations being attributed to HbA1c values outside of the range 6–7%. Other large AF% estimates were observed for endocarditis (26.2%) and tuberculosis (23.7%), but CIs were wide. Sepsis (20.8%), pneumonia (15.3%), skin infections (cellulitis 14.0%, other 12.1%), and candidiasis (16.5%) all produced AF% estimates of ≥10%. Overall, 15.7% of infection-related deaths, 16.5% of infection-related hospitalizations, and 6.8% of infections requiring a prescription were attributed to values of HbA1c outside the 6–7% range.”

“Prevalence of diagnosed T2DM has tripled in the U.K. over the past 20 years (17). Although some improvements in glycemic control also have been observed over this period, our analyses show that substantial numbers of patients still have very poor glycemic control (e.g., 16% of patients with T2DM and 41% of patients with T1DM had a mean HbA1c >9%). […] 14% of patients with DM in the current study were hospitalized for infection during follow-up […] The U.K. has a relatively low prevalence of DM and good control on the basis of international comparisons (18); therefore, in many low- and middle-income countries, the burden of infections attributable to poor glycemic control could be substantially higher (19).”

“A variety of mechanisms may link DM and hyperglycemia with infection response (1,2022). Diabetes progression itself is associated with immune dysfunction; autoimmunity in T1DM and low-grade chronic inflammation in T2DM (1). Hyperglycemia may also have adverse effects on several types of immune cells (19,23); alter cytokine and chemokine gene expression (24), and inhibit effects of complement (25). Other important mechanisms may include peripheral diabetic neuropathy because this results in a loss of sensation and reduced awareness of minor injuries (13). Alongside ischemia, often as a result of related peripheral arterial disease, neuropathy can result in impaired barrier defenses, skin ulcers, and lesions with poor wound healing and an increased risk of secondary infections (19). Although numerous mechanisms exist, nearly all involve poor glycemic control. Thus, that improved control would reduce infections seems likely […] Overall, the current analyses demonstrate a strong and likely causal association between hyperglycemia and infection risk for both T1DM and T2DM. DM duration and other markers of severity cannot explain the increased risk, nor can longer duration explain the increased risk for T1DM compared with T2DM. This remains the case in older people in whom infections are common and often severe and more uncertainty exists about the vascular benefits of improving DM control. Substantial proportions of serious infections can be attributed to poor control, even though DM is managed well in the U.K. by international standards. Interventions to reduce infection risk largely have been ignored by the DM community and should be a high priority for future research.”

ii. Poor Metabolic Control in Children and Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes and Psychiatric Comorbidity. Some observations from the paper:

“Type 1 diabetes in childhood has been found to be associated with an increased risk of psychiatric comorbidities (13), which might intensify the burden of disease and accelerate metabolic deterioration (46), subsequently increasing the risk of mortality and long-term complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy (79).

Metabolic dysregulation is closely linked to age and diabetes duration, showing a peak in adolescence and early adulthood (10,11). Early adolescence is also characterized as a time of psychological vulnerability (12), in which the incidence of major psychiatric disorders increases (13). A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in early adolescence seems to increase psychological distress (1,2), and three large population-based studies have shown higher rates of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes compared with the general population (13). In particular, increased risk was seen for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, where the pathogenesis is considered to involve reactive mechanisms and imbalances in the diathesis-stress system (13,14).”

“Despite clinical and research evidence that a child with type 1 diabetes often receives more than one psychiatric diagnosis (1,3), most studies evaluate one disorder at a time (46,1620). Motivated by findings that Danish children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder compared with the background population (2), we performed two studies based on the NPR and the Danish Registry of Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes (DanDiabKids). […] The NPR contains psychiatric and somatic diagnoses from all inpatient admissions to Danish public hospitals since 1977. […] The register has used the ICD-10 since 1994 (22,23). Data on registration of psychiatric and type 1 diabetes diagnoses were collected from the NPR, covering 1996 to April 2015. DanDiabKids collects information on all children and adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 15 years and monitors them until they are transferred to adult clinics at ∼18 years of age. All public hospital pediatric units must supply annual data on all patients with diabetes to DanDiabKids. […] DanDiabKids contains annual data on all registered patients since 1996, including information on quality indicators, demographic variables, associated conditions, diabetes classification, diabetes family history, growth, self-management, and treatment variables. DanDiabKids now covers 99% of all Danish children and adolescents diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 15 years. […] Our study population was generated by merging data from DanDiabKids and the NPR. The inclusion criteria were registration with type 1 diabetes in DanDiabKids, age at onset <15 years, year of onset 1995–2014, and year of birth after 1980.”

“After merging DanDiabKids with the NPR, 4,725 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes were identified […]. Characteristics for the included subjects were as follows: mean age at onset of diabetes was 8.98 years (SD 3.81), birth year ranged from 1980 to 2013, mean age at last visit was 14.6 years (3.7), 2,462 (52.1%) were boys, mean duration of diabetes at last visit was 5.65 years (3.7), 4,434 (93.8%) were of Danish origin, 254 (5.4%) were immigrants or offspring of immigrants, and 36 (0.8%) had unknown ethnicity. […] The observed number of SH [severe hypoglycemia, US] and DKA events per 100 person-years was respectively 10.7 (SH) and 3.2 (DKA) in patients with neurodevelopmental/constitutional psychiatric disorder, 12.1 (SH) and 3.7 (DKA) in patients with potentially reactive psychiatric disorder, 12.3 (SH) and 6.4 (DKA) in patients with both types of psychiatric disorders, and 8.1 (SH) and 1.8 (DKA) in patients without psychiatric disorder. […] Among the 4,725 children and adolescents included in the study, 1,035 were diagnosed with at least one psychiatric disorder at some point. Of these, a total of 175 received their first psychiatric diagnosis before the onset of type 1 diabetes, 575 during pediatric care, and 285 were diagnosed after referral to adult care. […] Anxiety disorders were the most common (n = 492), followed by “behavioral and emotional disorders” (n = 310), mood disorders (n = 205), psychoactive substance misuse disorders (n = 190), and disorders of inattention and hyperactivity (ADHD/attention-deficit disorder [ADD]) (n = 172). Of the 1,035 patients, 46% were diagnosed with two or more psychiatric disorders and 22.8% were diagnosed with three or more psychiatric disorders.”

“Shortly after type 1 diabetes diagnosis, a higher estimated risk of psychiatric disorders was evident among patients who were 10–15 years old at onset of type 1 diabetes. However, after 15–20 years with diabetes, the differences among the groups leveled out at a risk of ∼30% […] Children with high mean HbA1c levels (>8.5% [>70 mmol/mol]) during the first 2 years showed the highest estimated risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, although these differences also appear to level out after 15–20 years with type 1 diabetes. […] The mean HbA1c level was higher in children with a psychiatric disorder (0.22% [95% CI 0.15; 0.29]; 2.45 mmol/mol [1.67; 3.22]) compared with children with no psychiatric disorder (P < 0.001) […] High HbA1c levels in the early period after type 1 diabetes onset seem to be a possible indicator for subsequent psychiatric disorders, and having a psychiatric disorder was associated with higher HbA1c levels, especially in patients with disorders of putative reactive pathogenesis. Given that the Kaplan-Meier plots showed that the estimated risk of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within a period of 15–20 years of type 1 diabetes onset was close to 30% in most groups, our finding highlights an important clinical problem.”

“The estimated risk of developing a psychiatric disorder during the 15–20 years after type 1 diabetes diagnosis is high. The most vulnerable period appeared to be adolescence. Patients with poorly regulated diabetes shortly after onset had a higher estimated risk of developing psychiatric comorbidities. Young patients diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder had more episodes of DKA, and those diagnosed within the reactive spectrum had higher HbA1c levels. Children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, and in particular those who fail to reach treatment goals, should be systematically evaluated regarding psychological vulnerabilities.”

iii. Development of Microvascular Complications and Effect of Concurrent Risk Factors in Type 1 Diabetes: A Multistate Model From an Observational Clinical Cohort Study.

“The prevalence of type 1 diabetes has increased over the past decades (1,2). Increased life expectancy means that people live longer with diabetes (35); thus, potentially more years are lived with both macrovascular and microvascular complications (6,7). Type 1 diabetes is a complex disease, which develops in various complication states, and co-occurrence of multiple microvascular complications frequently is seen (8). So far, most studies are of a single complication, and the association between the worsening of one complication and the incidence of another is well described, although independently of other complications (9,10). At the same time, a sizeable group of individuals seems to be protected from microvascular complications (1114), and some live several decades with type 1 diabetes without developing complications. Advanced statistical models, such as multistate models, offer an opportunity to explore the transition through various disease states and to quantify progression rates while considering the concurrent complication burden (15,16), that is, the complication burden at a given time point in the observation window.

Strong evidence indicates that some risk factors play a role in all types of microvascular complications. For example, the effects of the duration of diabetes and poor glycemic control are well documented (1720). For other risk factors, such as hypertension, an association has been established mainly for retinopathy and diabetic kidney disease (21,22). Adverse cholesterol levels and previous cardiovascular disease (CVD) are indisputably associated with a higher risk of macrovascular complications (23) and may play a role in the development of microvascular complications (24). […] The complex interplay between microvascular complications and risk factors has been explored only to a limited extent. In this study, we developed a multistate model of microvascular complications to describe in detail complication development in type 1 diabetes. We describe the development of sequences of diabetes-related microvascular complications at various states and examine the associations between selected risk factors, both alone and combined with existing complication burden, and incidence of (further) microvascular complications.”

“In total, 5,031 individuals with type 1 diabetes were registered at the SDCC during the study period. We excluded 1,203 because of missing data for diabetic kidney disease, retinopathy, and/or neuropathy, which left 3,828 eligible individuals to be included in the study. Of these, 242 were first seen in the final state with three complications, which left 3,586 available for analysis, corresponding to 22,946 person-years (PY) […] The median follow-up time was 7.8 years (25th–75th percentile 3.3–10.7 years). HbA1c level at the end of follow-up was lower than at entry, whereas the levels of blood pressure, lipids, and BMI were unchanged. An increase in the use of all cardioprotective medications was observed.”

“We identified 523 individuals who developed diabetic kidney disease during the study. Of these, 84 events occurred in individuals with no complications (IR 12.9 per 1,000 PY), 221 in individuals with retinopathy (25.7 per 1,000 PY), 27 in individuals with neuropathy (36.6 per 1,000 PY), and 191 in individuals with both neuropathy and retinopathy (61.8 per 1,000 PY). […] In the adjusted model, individuals with both retinopathy and neuropathy had a threefold higher risk of diabetic kidney disease than individuals without complications. […] A total of 482 individuals developed neuropathy during follow-up. Of these, 75 incidents occurred in individuals with no complications (IR 11.5 per 1,000 PY), 14 in individuals with diabetic kidney disease (20.6 per 1,000 PY), 234 in individuals with retinopathy (27.2 per 1,000 PY), and 159 in individuals with both retinopathy and diabetic kidney disease (50.2 per 1,000 PY). Individuals with both retinopathy and diabetic kidney disease had a 70% higher risk of developing neuropathy than individuals without complications […] In total, we recorded 649 individuals with incident retinopathy from any previous complication state. Of these, 459 incidents occurred in individuals with no complications (IR 70.7 per 1,000 PY), 74 in individuals with diabetic kidney disease (109.1 per 1,000 PY), 71 in individuals with neuropathy (96.6 per 1,000 PY), and 45 in individuals with both neuropathy and diabetic kidney disease (224.7 per 1,000 PY). Individuals with both diabetic kidney disease and neuropathy had a twofold higher IRR of developing retinopathy than individuals without complications”.

“Baseline and concurrent values of HbA1c, systolic blood pressure, eGFR, and baseline CVD status were all strongly associated with a higher risk of developing diabetic kidney disease. […] The analysis that included complication state revealed that individuals without any other complications than CVD had an almost three times higher risk of diabetic kidney disease than individuals without either CVD or microvascular complications. […] Duration of diabetes, baseline and concurrent value of HbA1c, systolic blood pressure, and baseline LDL cholesterol values were all factors associated with a higher risk of developing retinopathy. None of the effects of the modifiable risk factors on retinopathy were modified by complication burden. […] men with diabetic kidney disease had a higher risk of developing retinopathy than women with diabetic kidney disease. […] All investigated risk factors, except LDL cholesterol, were associated with incidence of neuropathy at both baseline and concurrent levels.”

“[W]e conducted a sensitivity analysis with retinopathy defined as severe nonproliferative or proliferative retinopathy. The prevalence and incidence of retinopathy were much lower, but all associations were similar to the main analysis […]. We found no effect modification by lipid-lowering or antihypertensive treatment. […] We found a stepwise higher risk of any microvascular complication in individuals with higher concurrent complication burden. Baseline and concurrent HbA1c levels, systolic blood pressure, and duration of diabetes were associated with the development of all three microvascular complications. For most risk factors, we did not find evidence that concurrent complication burden modified the association with complication development. […] Concurrent HbA1c level was a strong risk factor for all microvascular complications, even when we adjusted for age, duration, and other traditional risk factors. The overall effects were of similar magnitude to the effect of baseline levels of HbA1c and to other reports (11,29).”

“The presented results are interpreted in the frame of a multistate model design, and the use of clinical data makes the results highly relevant in similar health care settings. However, because of the observational study design, we cannot draw conclusions about causality. The positive associations among complications might reflect that diabetic kidney disease takes the longest time to develop, whereas retinopathy and neuropathy develop faster. Associations of two disease complications to a third might not be causal. However, that the risk of a third complication, even after adjustment for multiple confounders, is higher regardless of the previous combination of complications indicates that an association cannot be explained by these risk factors alone. In addition, concurrent risk factor levels may be subject to reverse causality. The current results should be seen as a benchmark for others who aim to explore the occurrence of microvascular complications as a function of the concurrent total complication burden in individuals with type 1 diabetes. […] The findings demonstrate that high concurrent complication burden elevates the risk of all three investigated microvascular complications: diabetic kidney disease, retinopathy, and neuropathy. This means that if an individual develops a complication, the clinician should be aware of the increased risk of developing more complications. […] For most risk factors, including HbA1c, we found no evidence that the effect on the development of microvascular complications was modified by the burden of concurrent complications.”

iv. Long-term Glycemic Control and Dementia Risk in Type 1 Diabetes.

“[P]rior work has established type 1 diabetes as a risk factor for dementia (15). However, the relationship between glycemic control and subsequent risk of dementia in those with type 1 diabetes remains unclear. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is an established measure that integrates glucose control over the prior 2–3 months and is widely used to guide clinical management of type 1 diabetes (16,17). Cumulative glycemic exposure, as measured by multiple HbA1c measures over time, has previously been used to evaluate glycemic trajectories and their association with a number of diabetes complications (18,19). Electronic health records capture HbA1c values collected over time allowing for a more thorough long-term characterization of glycemic exposure than is reflected by a single HbA1c measure. In this study, we leverage data [from northern California, US] collected over a span of 19 years to examine the association of cumulative glycemic exposure, as measured by repeated HbA1c values, with incident dementia among older adults with type 1 diabetes. We also examine the potential for a threshold of glycemic exposure above or below which risk of dementia increases.”

“The final analytic cohort consisted of 3,433 individuals (mean age at cohort entry = 56.1 years old; 47.1% female) […]. On average, individuals who developed dementia during follow-up were older at cohort entry (64.4 vs. 55.7 years) and were more likely to have a history of stroke (7.7% compared with 3.5%) at baseline. The mean follow-up time was 6.3 years (median 4.8 years [interquartile range (IQR) 1.7, 9.9]), and the mean number of HbA1c measurements was 13.5 (median 9.0 [IQR 3.0, 20.00]). By the end of follow-up on 30 September 2015, 155 members (4.5%) were diagnosed with dementia, 860 (25.1%) had a lapse of at least 90 days in membership coverage, 519 (15.1%) died without a dementia diagnosis, and 1,899 (55.3%) were still alive without dementia diagnosis. Among the 155 members who developed dementia over follow-up, the mean age at dementia diagnosis was 64.6 years (median 63.6 years [IQR 56.1, 72.3]).”

“In Cox proportional hazards models, dementia risk was higher in those with increased exposure to HbA1c 8–8.9% (64–74 mmol/mol) and ≥9% (≥75 mmol/mol) and lower in those with HbA1c 6–6.9% (42–52 mmol/mol) and 7–7.9% (53–63 mmol/mol). In fully adjusted models, compared with those with minimal exposure (<10% of HbA1c measurements) to HbA1c 8–8.9% and ≥9%, those with prolonged exposure (≥75% of measurements) were 2.51 and 2.13 times more likely to develop dementia, respectively (HbA1c 8–8.9% fully adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.51 [95% CI 1.23, 5.11] and HbA1c ≥9% aHR 2.13 [95% CI 1.13, 4.01]) […]. In contrast, prolonged exposure to HbA1c 6–6.9 and 7–7.9% was associated with a 58% lower and 61% lower risk of dementia, respectively (HbA1c 6–6.9% aHR 0.42 [95% CI 0.21, 0.83] and HbA1c 7–7.9% aHR 0.39 [95% CI 0.18, 0.83]). […] Results were similar in Cox models examining cumulative glycemic exposure based on whether a majority (>50%) of an individual’s available HbA1c measurements fell into the following categories of HbA1c: <6, 6–6.9, 7–7.9, 8–8.9, and ≥9% […]. Majority exposure to HbA1c 8–8.9 and ≥9% was associated with an increased risk of dementia (HbA1c 8–8.9% aHR 1.65 [95% CI 1.06, 2.57] and HbA1c ≥9% aHR 1.79 [95% CI 1.11, 2.90]), while majority exposure to HbA1c 6–6.9 and 7–7.9% was associated with a reduced risk of dementia (HbA1c 6–6.9% aHR 0.55 [95% CI 0.34, 0.88] and HbA1c 7–7.9% aHR 0.55 [95% CI 0.37, 0.82]). Majority exposure to HbA1c <6% (<42 mmol/mol) was associated with increased dementia risk in age-adjusted models (HR 2.06 [95% CI 1.11, 3.82]), though findings did not remain significant in fully adjusted models (aHR 1.45 [95% CI 0.71, 2.92]). Findings were similar in sensitivity analyses among the subset of members who were ≥65 years of age at baseline (n = 1,082 [32% of the sample]), though the increased risk associated with majority time at HbA1c ≥9% was no longer statistically significant”.

“In this large sample of older adults with type 1 diabetes, we found that cumulative exposure to higher levels of HbA1c (8–8.9 and ≥9%) was associated with an increased risk of dementia, while cumulative exposure to well-controlled HbA1c (6–6.9 and 7–7.9%) was associated with a decreased risk of dementia. In fully adjusted models, compared with those with minimal exposure to HbA1c 8–8.9% and HbA1c ≥9%, those with prolonged exposure were more than twice as likely to develop dementia over the course of follow-up […]. By contrast, dementia risk was ∼60% lower among those with prolonged exposure to well-controlled HbA1c (6–6.9 and 7–7.9%) compared with those with minimal time at well-controlled levels of HbA1c.”

“Our results complement and extend previous studies that have reported an association between chronic hyperglycemia and decreased cognitive function in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes (25,26), as well as studies reporting an association between poor glycemic control and decreased cognitive functioning in middle-aged adults with type 1 diabetes and older adults with type 2 diabetes (711). Our findings are also consistent with previous studies that found an increased dementia risk associated with poorer glycemic control among adults with type 2 diabetes and adults without diabetes (1113). Whether these findings applied to dementia risk among older adults with type 1 diabetes was previously unknown.”

“In our study of 3,433 older adults with type 1 diabetes, 155 (4.5%) individuals developed dementia over an average of 6.3 years of follow-up. Among those who developed dementia, the average age at dementia diagnosis was 64.6 years. A large-scale study using administrative health data from 1998 to 2011 in England reported a similar incidence of dementia among a subset of adults aged ≥50 years with type 1 diabetes (3.99% developed dementia), though the average length of follow-up was not reported for this specific age-group (15). Prior studies have also found type 1 diabetes to be a risk factor for dementia (15) and have reported the average age at onset of dementia to be 2–5 years earlier in those with diabetes compared with those without diabetes (27,28). Taken together, these results provide further evidence that older adults with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk of developing dementia and may have increased risk at younger ages than the general population. Our results, however, suggest that effective glycemic control could be an important tool for reducing risk of dementia among older adults with type 1 diabetes.”

“Pathophysiological mechanisms by which glycemic control may affect dementia risk are still poorly understood but are hypothesized to result from structural brain abnormalities stemming from chronic exposure to hyperglycemia and/or recurrent severe hypoglycemia. Studies in adults and youth with type 1 diabetes have reported an association between chronic hyperglycemia (defined using lifetime HbA1c history and using retinopathy as an indicator of chronic exposure) and gray matter density loss (3537). Studies examining the association between severe hypoglycemic events and changes in brain structure have been less consistent, with some reporting increased gray matter density loss and a higher prevalence of cortical atrophy in those with a history of frequent exposure to severe hypoglycemia (36,38), while another study reported no association (37). In the ACCORD MIND (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Memory in Diabetes) trial, compared with standard glycemic control, intensive glycemic control was associated with greater total brain volume, suggesting that intensive glycemic control may reduce brain atrophy related to diabetes (39). […] Understanding why glycemic patterns are associated with dementia is a much-needed area for future study, particularly with regard of the potential role of intercurrent micro- and macrovascular complications.”

v. A Comparison of the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Blood Pressure Guideline and the 2017 American Diabetes Association Diabetes and Hypertension Position Statement for U.S. Adults With Diabetes.

“Hypertension is one of the most common comorbidities among adults with diabetes. Prior studies have estimated the prevalence of hypertension to be twice as high among adults with diabetes compared with age-matched control subjects without diabetes (1,2). Among adults with diabetes, the presence of hypertension has been associated with a two times higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events and mortality (3,4).

The 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults provides a comprehensive set of recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension among adults, including those with diabetes (5). This guideline defines hypertension in adults, including those with diabetes, as an average systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥80 mmHg […]. According to this guideline, pharmacological antihypertensive treatment should be initiated in adults with diabetes if they have an average SBP ≥130 mmHg or DBP ≥80 mmHg, and the treatment goal is SBP <130 mmHg and DBP <80 mmHg (5).

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) published a position statement on diabetes and hypertension in 2017 that recommends blood pressure (BP) levels different from the ACC/AHA guideline for defining hypertension and for initiating pharmacological antihypertensive treatment (for both, SBP ≥140 mmHg or DBP ≥90 mmHg) (6). The ADA position statement recommends that BP goals should be individualized based on patient priorities and clinician judgment. Treatment goals for those taking antihypertensive medication are SBP <140 mmHg and DBP <90 mmHg, with SBP <130 mmHg and DBP <80 mmHg to be considered for those with high CVD risk as long as these levels can be achieved without undo treatment burden.

The purpose of the current study was to estimate the impact of differences in the definition of hypertension and recommendations for pharmacological antihypertensive treatment initiation and intensification of therapy in U.S. adults with diabetes according to the ACC/AHA guideline and the ADA diabetes and hypertension position statement (5,6). To accomplish these goals, we analyzed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).”

“According to data from NHANES 2011–2016, 56.6% (95% CI 53.3, 59.9) of U.S. adults with diabetes were taking antihypertensive medication. Of U.S. adults with diabetes, 57.4% (53.1, 61.6) of those not taking and 80.2% (76.6, 83.4) of those taking antihypertensive medication had high CVD risk. Among U.S. adults with diabetes, those with high CVD risk (history of CVD or 10-year ASCVD risk ≥10%) were on average 15–20 years older and the prevalence of smoking and chronic kidney disease was 10–20% higher when compared with their counterparts without high CVD risk […]. Among U.S. adults with diabetes without high CVD risk, the mean 10-year and 30-year predicted CVD risks were 3.8% (3.5, 4.2) and 25.0% (23.4, 26.6), respectively, for those not taking antihypertensive medication and 5.8% (5.3, 6.4) and 37.4% (34.5, 40.3), respectively, for those taking antihypertensive medication.

The prevalence of hypertension was 77.1% (95% CI 73.9, 80.0) according to the ACC/AHA guideline and 66.3% (63.4, 69.1) according to the ADA position statement […]. Overall, 10.8% (9.0, 12.8) of U.S. adults with diabetes had hypertension according to the ACC/AHA guideline but not the ADA position statement. Among U.S. adults with diabetes not taking antihypertensive medication, 52.8% (47.7, 57.8), 24.8% (20.6, 29.6) and 22.4% (19.2, 25.9) were recommended antihypertensive medication initiation by neither document, by the 2017 ACC/AHA guideline only, and by both documents, respectively […]. Among U.S. adults with diabetes taking antihypertensive medication, 45.3% (41.3, 49.4), 4.3% (2.8, 6.6), and 50.4% (46.5, 54.2) had an average BP that met the goal in both documents, was above the ACC/AHA goal but not the ADA goal, and was above the goals in both documents, respectively […] The overall agreement between the ACC/AHA guideline and the ADA position statement was 89.2% (87.2, 91.0) for the presence of hypertension, 75.2% (70.4, 79.4) for the recommendation to initiate antihypertensive medication, and 95.7% (93.4, 97.2) for having a BP above the recommended treatment goal. “

“Based on both the ACC/AHA guideline and ADA position statement, 17.8 (95% CI 16.2, 19.3) million U.S. adults with diabetes had hypertension […]. An additional 2.9 (2.3, 3.5) million U.S. adults had hypertension based on the ACC/AHA guideline only. Among U.S. adults with diabetes not taking antihypertensive medication, 2.6 (2.1, 3.1) million were recommended to initiate antihypertensive medication by both the ACC/AHA guideline and the ADA position statement with an additional 2.9 (2.3, 3.5) million recommended to initiate antihypertensive medication by the ACC/AHA guideline only […]. Among U.S. adults with diabetes taking antihypertensive medication, 7.6 (6.8, 8.5) million had a BP above the goal in both documents, with an additional 700,000 (400,000, 900,000) having a BP above the goal recommended in the ACC/AHA guideline only […]. Among U.S. adults with diabetes not taking antihypertensive medication, the mean 10-year CVD risk was 10.7% (95% CI 9.4, 12.0) for those not recommended treatment initiation by either the ACC/AHA guideline or the ADA position statement, 14.6% (11.5, 17.6) for those recommended treatment initiation by the ACC/AHA guideline but not the ADA position statement, and 23.2% (19.5, 27.0) among those recommended treatment initiation by the ACC/AHA guideline and the ADA position statement […]. The mean 30-year CVD risk exceeded 25% in each of these groups. Among U.S. adults with diabetes taking antihypertensive medication, the mean 10-year CVD risk was 10.6% (9.4, 12.0), 6.5% (CI 5.6, 7.3), and 33.8% (32.1, 35.5) among those with above-goal BP according to neither document, the ACC/AHA guideline only, and both documents, respectively […]. The 30-year CVD risk exceeded 40% in each group.”

“In conclusion, the current study demonstrates a high degree of concordance between the 2017 ACC/AHA BP guideline and the 2017 ADA position statement on diabetes and hypertension. Using either document, the majority of U.S. adults with diabetes have hypertension. A substantial proportion of U.S. adults with diabetes not taking antihypertensive medication are recommended to initiate treatment by both documents […] Among U.S. adults with diabetes not taking antihypertensive medication, 75.2% had an identical recommendation for initiation of antihypertensive drug therapy according to the ACC/AHA guideline and the ADA position statement. The majority of those who were recommended to initiate pharmacological antihypertensive therapy according to the ACC/AHA guideline but not the ADA position statement had high CVD risk. […] At the population level, the ACC/AHA guideline and ADA position statement have more similarities than differences. However, at the individual level, some patients with diabetes will have fundamental changes in their care depending on which advice is followed. The decision to initiate and intensify antihypertensive medication should always be individualized, based on discussions between patients and their clinicians. Both the ACC/AHA BP guideline and ADA position statement acknowledge the need to individualize treatment decisions to align with patients’ interests.”

vi. Treatment-induced neuropathy of diabetes: an acute, iatrogenic complication of diabetes.

“Treatment-induced neuropathy in diabetes (also referred to as insulin neuritis) is considered a rare iatrogenic small fibre neuropathy caused by an abrupt improvement in glycaemic control in the setting of chronic hyperglycaemia. The prevalence and risk factors of this disorder are not known. In a retrospective review of all individuals referred to a tertiary care diabetic neuropathy clinic over 5 years, we define the proportion of individuals that present with and the risk factors for development of treatment-induced neuropathy in diabetes. Nine hundred and fifty-four individuals were evaluated for a possible diabetic neuropathy. Treatment-induced neuropathy in diabetes was defined as the acute onset of neuropathic pain and/or autonomic dysfunction within 8 weeks of a large improvement in glycaemic control—specified as a decrease in glycosylated haemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) of ≥2% points over 3 months. Detailed structured neurologic examinations, glucose control logs, pain scores, autonomic symptoms and other microvascular complications were measured every 3–6 months for the duration of follow-up. Of 954 patients evaluated for diabetic neuropathy, 104/954 subjects (10.9%) met criteria for treatment-induced neuropathy in diabetes with an acute increase in neuropathic or autonomic symptoms or signs coinciding with a substantial decrease in HbA1c. Individuals with a decrease in HbA1c had a much greater risk of developing a painful or autonomic neuropathy than those individuals with no change in HbA1c (P < 0.001), but also had a higher risk of developing retinopathy (P < 0.001) and microalbuminuria (P < 0.001). There was a strong correlation between the magnitude of decrease in HbA1c, the severity of neuropathic pain (R = 0.84, P < 0.001), the degree of parasympathetic dysfunction (R = −0.52, P < 0.01) and impairment of sympathetic adrenergic function as measured by fall in blood pressure on tilt-table testing (R = −0.63, P < 0.001). With a decrease in HbA1c of 2–3% points over 3 months there was a 20% absolute risk of developing treatment-induced neuropathy in diabetes, with a decrease in HbA1c of >4% points over 3 months the absolute risk of developing treatment-induced neuropathy in diabetes exceeded 80%. Treatment-induced neuropathy of diabetes is an underestimated iatrogenic disorder associated with diffuse microvascular complications. Rapid glycaemic change in patients with uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of this complication.”

“Typically, individuals with TIND reported the onset of severe burning pain (pain scores 4–10/10) within 2–6 weeks of the improvement in glucose control. Burning pain was present in all subjects with TIND. Paraesthesias were present in 93/104 subjects and shooting pain in 88/104 subjects. Hyperalgesia and allodynia were common in the distribution of the pain. […] Individuals with TIND all reported ongoing sleep disturbances typically described as difficulty with sleep initiation and sleep duration secondary to neuropathic pain. These individuals reported no record of sleep problems prior to the development of TIND. […] Erectile dysfunction was noted in 28/31 males with TIND, compared to 135/417 males without TIND (P < 0.001, X2). […] Seventy-three individuals completed autonomic testing within 2–5 months of the onset of neuropathic pain. […] The results for both groups, in all tests, were abnormal compared to age-related normative values. There were strong correlations between the magnitude of decrease in HbA1c over 3 months and worsening autonomic function. A greater change in HbA1c resulted in worsening parasympathetic function as determined by the expiratory to inspiratory ratio (R = −0.52, P < 0.01) and the Valsalva ratio (R = −0.55, P < 0.01). Greater sympathetic adrenergic dysfunction also correlated with a greater change in HbA1c over 3 months as determined by the fall in systolic blood pressure during tilt-table test (R = −0.63, P < 0.001), the fall in blood pressure during phase 2 of the Valsalva manoeuvre (R = 0.49, P < 0.001), and the diminished phase 4 blood pressure overshoot during the Valsalva manoeuvre (R = −0.59, P < 0.001). […] individuals with type 1 diabetes had greater autonomic dysfunction than those with type 2 diabetes across all tests. The slopes of the regression lines describing the correlation between the change in HbA1c and a particular autonomic test did not differ by the type of diabetes, or by the type of treatment used to control glucose.”

“Most patients with TIND had rapid progression of retinopathy that developed in conjunction with the onset of neuropathic pain […] Prior to development of TIND, 65/104 individuals had no retinopathy, 35/104 had non-proliferative retinopathy, whereas 4/104 had proliferative retinopathy. Twelve months after the development of TIND, 10/104 individuals had no retinopathy, 54/104 had non-proliferative retinopathy and 40/104 had proliferative retinopathy (P < 0.001, Fisher’s exact test). Prior to development of TIND, 18/104 had evidence of microalbuminuria, while 12 months after the development of TIND, 87/104 had evidence of microalbuminuria (P < 0.001, X2).”

“TIND is a small fibre and autonomic neuropathy that appears after rapid improvements in glucose control. In this manuscript, we demonstrate that: (i) there is an unexpectedly high proportion of individuals with TIND in a tertiary referral diabetic clinic; (ii) the risk of developing TIND is associated with the magnitude and rate of change in HbA1c; (iii) neuropathic pain and autonomic dysfunction severity correlate with the magnitude of change in HbA1c; (iv) patients with Type 1 diabetes and a history of eating disorders are at high risk for developing TIND; and (v) TIND can occur with use of insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents. […] TIND differs from the most prevalent generalized neuropathy of diabetes, the distal sensory-motor polyneuropathy, in several respects. The neuropathic pain has an acute onset, appearing within 8 weeks of glycaemic change, in contrast with the more insidious onset in the distal sensory-motor polyneuropathy […]. The pain in TIND is more severe, and poorly responsive to interventions including opioids, whereas most patients with distal sensory-motor polyneuropathy respond to non-opioid interventions […]. Although the distribution of the pain is length-dependent in individuals with TIND, it is frequently far more extensive than in distal sensory-motor polyneuropathy and the associated allodynia and hyperalgesia are much more prevalent […]. Autonomic symptoms and signs are common, prominent and appear acutely, in contrast to the relatively lower prevalence, gradual onset and slow progression in distal sensory-motor polyneuropathy […]. Finally, both the pain and autonomic features may be reversible in some patients […].

Our data indicate that the severity of TIND is associated with the magnitude of the change of HbA1c, however, it is also clear that the rate of change is important (e.g. a 4% point fall in the HbA1c will have a greater impact if occurring over 3 months than over 6 months). The pathogenic mechanisms whereby this change in glucose results in nerve damage and/or dysfunction are not known. Proposed mechanisms include endoneurial ischaemia due to epineurial arterio-venous shunts […], apoptosis due to glucose deprivation […], microvascular neuronal damage due to recurrent hypoglycaemia […], and ectopic firing of regenerating axon sprouts, but these possibilities are unproven. […] Additional mechanistic studies are necessary to determine the underlying pathophysiology.”

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Immunology, Medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Studies | Leave a comment

Perception (I)

Here’s my short goodreads review of the book. In this post I’ll include some observations and links related to the first half of the book’s coverage.

“Since the 1960s, there have been many attempts to model the perceptual processes using computer algorithms, and the most influential figure of the last forty years has been David Marr, working at MIT. […] Marr and his colleagues were responsible for developing detailed algorithms for extracting (i) low-level information about the location of contours in the visual image, (ii) the motion of those contours, and (iii) the 3-D structure of objects in the world from binocular disparities and optic flow. In addition, one of his lasting achievements was to encourage researchers to be more rigorous in the way that perceptual tasks are described, analysed, and formulated and to use computer models to test the predictions of those models against human performance. […] Over the past fifteen years, many researchers in the field of perception have characterized perception as a Bayesian process […] According to Bayesian theory, what we perceive is a consequence of probabilistic processes that depend on the likelihood of certain events occurring in the particular world we live in. Moreover, most Bayesian models of perceptual processes assume that there is noise in the sensory signals and the amount of noise affects the reliability of those signals – the more noise, the less reliable the signal. Over the past fifteen years, Bayes theory has been used extensively to model the interaction between different discrepant cues, such as binocular disparity and texture gradients to specify the slant of an inclined surface.”

“All surfaces have the property of reflectance — that is, the extent to which they reflect (rather than absorb) the incident illumination — and those reflectances can vary between 0 per cent and 100 per cent. Surfaces can also be selective in the particular wavelengths they reflect or absorb. Our colour vision depends on these selective reflectance properties […]. Reflectance characteristics describe the physical properties of surfaces. The lightness of a surface refers to a perceptual judgement of a surface’s reflectance characteristic — whether it appears as black or white or some grey level in between. Note that we are talking about the perception of lightness — rather than brightness — which refers to our estimate of how much light is coming from a particular surface or is emitted by a source of illumination. The perception of surface lightness is one of the most fundamental perceptual abilities because it allows us not only to differentiate one surface from another but also to identify the real-world properties of a particular surface. Many textbooks start with the observation that lightness perception is a difficult task because the amount of light reflected from a particular surface depends on both the reflectance characteristic of the surface and the intensity of the incident illumination. For example, a piece of black paper under high illumination will reflect back more light to the eye than a piece of white paper under dim illumination. As a consequence, lightness constancy — the ability to correctly judge the lightness of a surface under different illumination conditions — is often considered to be an ‘achievement’ of the perceptual system. […] The alternative starting point for understanding lightness perception is to ask whether there is something that remains constant or invariant in the patterns of light reaching the eye with changes of illumination. In this case, it is the relative amount of light reflected off different surfaces. Consider two surfaces that have different reflectances—two shades of grey. The actual amount of light reflected off each of the surfaces will vary with changes in the illumination but the relative amount of light reflected off the two surfaces remains the same. This shows that lightness perception is necessarily a spatial task and hence a task that cannot be solved by considering one particular surface alone. Note that the relative amount of light reflected off different surfaces does not tell us about the absolute lightnesses of different surfaces—only their relative lightnesses […] Can our perception of lightness be fooled? Yes, of course it can and the ways in which we make mistakes in our perception of the lightnesses of surfaces can tell us much about the characteristics of the underlying processes.”

“From a survival point of view, the ability to differentiate objects and surfaces in the world by their ‘colours’ (spectral reflectance characteristics) can be extremely useful […] Most species of mammals, birds, fish, and insects possess several different types of receptor, each of which has a a different spectral sensitivity function […] having two types of receptor with different spectral sensitivities is the minimum necessary for colour vision. This is referred to as dicromacy and the majority of mammals are dichromats with the exception of the old world monkeys and humans. […] The only difference between lightness and colour perception is that in the latter case we have to consider the way a surface selectively reflects (and absorbs) different wavelengths, rather than just a surface’s average reflectance over all wavelengths. […] The similarities between the tasks of extracting lightness and colour information mean that we can ask a similar question about colour perception [as we did about lightness perception] – what is the invariant information that could specify the reflectance characteristic of a surface? […] The information that is invariant under changes of spectral illumination is the relative amounts of long, medium, and short wavelength light reaching our eyes from different surfaces in the scene. […] the successful identification and discrimination of coloured surfaces is dependent on making spatial comparisons between the amounts of short, medium, and long wavelength light reaching our eyes from different surfaces. As with lightness perception, colour perception is necessarily a spatial task. It follows that if a scene is illuminated by the light of just a single wavelength, the appropriate spatial comparisons cannot be made. This can be demonstrated by illuminating a real-world scene containing many different coloured objects with yellow, sodium light that contains only a single wavelength. All objects, whatever their ‘colours’, will only reflect back to the eye different intensities of that sodium light and hence there will only be absolute but no relative differences between the short, medium, and long wavelength lightness records. There is a similar, but less dramatic, effect on our perception of colour when the spectral characteristics of the illumination are restricted to just a few wavelengths, as is the case with fluorescent lighting.”

“Consider a single receptor mechanism, such as a rod receptor in the human visual system, that responds to a limited range of wavelengths—referred to as the receptor’s spectral sensitivity function […]. This hypothetical receptor is more sensitive to some wavelengths (around 550 nm) than others and we might be tempted to think that a single type of receptor could provide information about the wavelength of the light reaching the receptor. This is not the case, however, because an increase or decrease in the response of that receptor could be due to either a change in the wavelength or an increase or decrease in the amount of light reaching the receptor. In other words, the output of a given receptor or receptor type perfectly confounds changes in wavelength with changes in intensity because it has only one way of responding — that is, more or less. This is Rushton’s Principle of Univariance — there is only one way of varying or one degree of freedom. […] On the other hand, if we consider a visual system with two different receptor types, one more sensitive to longer wavelengths (L) and the other more sensitive to shorter wavelengths (S), there are two degrees of freedom in the system and thus the possibility of signalling our two independent variables — wavelength and intensity […] it is quite possible to have a colour visual system that is based on just two receptor types. Such a colour visual system is referred to as dichromatic.”

“So why is the human visual system trichromatic? The answer can be found in a phenomenon known as metamerism. So far, we have restricted our discussion to the effect of a single wavelength on our dichromatic visual system: for example, a single wavelength of around 550 nm that stimulated both the long and short receptor types about equally […]. But what would happen if we stimulated our dichromatic system with light of two different wavelengths at the same time — one long wavelength and one short wavelength? With a suitable choice of wavelengths, this combination of wavelengths would also have the effect of stimulating the two receptor types about equally […] As a consequence, the output of the system […] with this particular mixture of wavelengths would be indistinguishable from that created by the single wavelength of 550 nm. These two indistinguishable stimulus situations are referred to as metamers and a little thought shows that there would be many thousands of combinations of wavelength that produce the same activity […] in a dichromatic visual system. As a consequence, all these different combinations of wavelengths would be indistinguishable to a dichromatic observer, even though they were produced by very different combinations of wavelengths. […] Is there any way of avoiding the problem of metamerism? The answer is no but we can make things better. If a visual system had three receptor types rather than two, then many of the combinations of wavelengths that produce an identical pattern of activity in two of the mechanisms (L and S) would create a different amount of activity in our third receptor type (M) that is maximally sensitive to medium wavelengths. Hence the number of indistinguishable metameric matches would be significantly reduced but they would never be eliminated. Using the same logic, it follows that a further increase in the number of receptor types (beyond three) would reduce the problem of metamerism even more […]. There would, however, also be a cost. Having more distinct receptor types in a finite-sized retina would increase the average spacing between the receptors of the same type and thus make our acuity for fine detail significantly poorer. There are many species, such as dragonflies, with more than three receptor types in their eyes but the larger number of receptor types typically serves to increase the range of wavelengths to which the animal is sensitive into the infra-red or ultra-violet parts of the spectrum, rather than to reduce the number of metamers. […] the sensitivity of the short wavelength receptors in the human eye only extends to ~540 nm — the S receptors are insensitive to longer wavelengths. This means that human colour vision is effectively dichromatic for combinations of wavelengths above 540 nm. In addition, there are no short wavelength cones in the central fovea of the human retina, which means that we are also dichromatic in the central part of our visual field. The fact that we are unaware of this lack of colour vision is probably due to the fact that our eyes are constantly moving. […] It is […] important to appreciate that the description of the human colour visual system as trichromatic is not a description of the number of different receptor types in the retina – it is a property of the whole visual system.”

“Recent research has shown that although the majority of humans are trichromatic there can be significant differences in the precise matches that individuals make when matching colour patches […] the absence of one receptor type will result in a greater number of colour confusions than normal and this does have a significant effect on an observer’s colour vision. Protanopia is the absence of long wavelength receptors, deuteranopia the absence of medium wavelength receptors, and tritanopia the absence of short wavelength receptors. These three conditions are often described as ‘colour blindness’ but this is a misnomer. We are all colour blind to some extent because we all suffer from colour metamerism and fail to make discriminations that would be very apparent to any biological or machine vision system with a greater number of receptor types. For example, most stomatopod crustaceans (mantis shrimps) have twelve different visual pigments and they also have the ability to detect both linear and circularly polarized light. What I find interesting is that we believe, as trichromats, that we have the ability to discriminate all the possible shades of colour (reflectance characteristics) that exist in our world. […] we are typically unaware of the limitations of our visual systems because we have no way of comparing what we see normally with what would be seen by a ‘better’ visual system.”

“We take it for granted that we are able to segregate the visual input into separate objects and distinguish objects from their backgrounds and we rarely make mistakes except under impoverished conditions. How is this possible? In many cases, the boundaries of objects are defined by changes of luminance and colour and these changes allow us to separate or segregate an object from its background. But luminance and colour changes are also present in the textured surfaces of many objects and therefore we need to ask how it is that our visual system does not mistake these luminance and colour changes for the boundaries of objects. One answer is that object boundaries have special characteristics. In our world, most objects and surfaces are opaque and hence they occlude (cover) the surface of the background. As a consequence, the contours of the background surface typically end—they are ‘terminated’—at the boundary of the occluding object or surface. Quite often, the occluded contours of the background are also revealed at the opposite side of the occluding surface because they are physically continuous. […] The impression of occlusion is enhanced if the occluded contours contain a range of different lengths, widths, and orientations. In the natural world, many animals use colour and texture to camouflage their boundaries as well as to fool potential predators about their identity. […] There is an additional source of information — relative motion — that can be used to segregate a visual scene into objects and their backgrounds and to break any camouflage that might exist in a static view. A moving, opaque object will progressively occlude and dis-occlude (reveal) the background surface so that even a well-camouflaged, moving animal will give away its location. Hence it is not surprising that a very common and successful strategy of many animals is to freeze in order not to be seen. Unless the predator has a sophisticated visual system to break the pattern or colour camouflage, the prey will remain invisible.”

Some links:

Perception.
Ames room. Inverse problem in optics.
Hermann von Helmholtz. Richard Gregory. Irvin Rock. James Gibson. David Marr. Ewald Hering.
Optical flow.
La dioptrique.
Necker cube. Rubin’s vase.
Perceptual constancy. Texture gradient.
Ambient optic array.
Affordance.
Luminance.
Checker shadow illusion.
Shape from shading/Photometric stereo.
Colour vision. Colour constancy. Retinex model.
Cognitive neuroscience of visual object recognition.
Motion perception.
Horace Barlow. Bernhard Hassenstein. Werner E. Reichardt. Sigmund Exner. Jan Evangelista Purkyně.
Phi phenomenon.
Motion aftereffect.
Induced motion.

October 14, 2018 Posted by | Biology, Books, Ophthalmology, Physics, Psychology | Leave a comment

Circadian Rhythms (II)

Below I have added some more observations from the book, as well as some links of interest.

“Most circadian clocks make use of a sun-based mechanism as the primary synchronizing (entraining) signal to lock the internal day to the astronomical day. For the better part of four billion years, dawn and dusk has been the main zeitgeber that allows entrainment. Circadian clocks are not exactly 24 hours. So to prevent daily patterns of activity and rest from drifting (freerunning) over time, light acts rather like the winder on a mechanical watch. If the clock is a few minutes fast or slow, turning the winder sets the clock back to the correct time. Although light is the critical zeitgeber for much behaviour, and provides the overarching time signal for the circadian system of most organisms, it is important to stress that many, if not all cells within an organism possess the capacity to generate a circadian rhythm, and that these independent oscillators are regulated by a variety of different signals which, in turn, drive countless outputs […]. Colin Pittendrigh was one of the first to study entrainment, and what he found in Drosophila has been shown to be true across all organisms, including us. For example, if you keep Drosophila, or a mouse or bird, in constant darkness it will freerun. If you then expose the animal to a short pulse of light at different times the shifting (phase shifting) effects on the freerunning rhythm vary. Light pulses given when the clock ‘thinks’ it is daytime (subjective day) will have little effect on the clock. However, light falling during the first half of the subjective night causes the animal to delay the start of its activity the following day, while light exposure during the second half of the subjective night advances activity onset. Pittendrigh called this the ‘phase response curve’ […] Remarkably, the PRC of all organisms looks very similar, with light exposure around dusk and during the first half of the night causing a delay in activity the next day, while light during the second half of the night and around dawn generates an advance. The precise shape of the PRC varies between species. Some have large delays and small advances (typical of nocturnal species) while others have small delays and big advances (typical of diurnal species). Light at dawn and dusk pushes and pulls the freerunning rhythm towards an exactly 24-hour cycle. […] Light can act directly to modify behaviour. In nocturnal rodents such as mice, light encourages these animals to seek shelter, reduce activity, and even sleep, while in diurnal species light promotes alertness and vigilance. So circadian patterns of activity are not only entrained by dawn and dusk but also driven directly by light itself. This direct effect of light on activity has been called ‘masking’, and combines with the predictive action of the circadian system to restrict activity to that period of the light/dark cycle to which the organism has evolved and is optimally adapted.”

“[B]irds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish (but not mammals) have ‘extra-ocular’ photoreceptors located within the pineal complex, hypothalamus, and other areas of the brain, and like the invertebrates, eye loss in many cases has little impact upon the ability of these animals to entrain. […] Mammals are strikingly different from all other vertebrates as they possess photoreceptor cells only within their eyes. Eye loss in all groups of mammals […] abolishes the capacity of these animals to entrain their circadian rhytms to the light/dark cycle. But astonishingly, the visual cells of the retina – the rods and cones – are not required for the detection of the dawn/dusk signal. There exists a third class of photoreceptors within the eye […] Studies in the late 1990s by Russell Foster and his colleagues showed that mice lacking all their rod and cone photoreceptors could still regulate their circadian rhythms to light perfectly normally. But when their eyes were covered the ability to entrain was lost […] work on the rodless/coneless mouse, along with [other] studies […], clearly demonstrated that the mammalian retina contains a small population of photosensitive retinal ganglion cells or pRGCs, which comprise approximately 1-2 per cent of all retinal ganglion cells […] Ophthalmologists now appreciate that eye loss deprives us of both vision and a proper sense of time. Furthermore, genetic diseases that result in the loss of the rods and cones and cause visual blindness, often spare the pRGCs. Under these circumstances, individuals who have their eyes but are visually blind, yet possess functional pRGCs, need to be advised to seek out sufficient light to entrain their circadian system. The realization that the eye provides us with both our sense of space and our sense of time has redefined the diagnosis, treatment, and appreciation of human blindness.”

“But where is ‘the’ circadian clock of mammals? […] [Robert] Moore and [Irving] Zucker’s work pinpointed the SCN as the likely neural locus of the light-entrainable circadian pacemaker in mammals […] and a decade later this was confirmed by definitive experiments from Michael Menaker’s laboratory undertaken at the University of Virginia. […] These experiments established the SCN as the ‘master circadian pacemaker’ of mammals. […] There are around 20,000 or so neurons in the mouse SCN, but they are not identical. Some receive light information from the pRGCs and pass this information on to other SCN neurons, while others project to the thalamus and other regions of the brain, and collectively these neurons secrete more than one hundred different neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, cytokines, and growth factors. The SCN itself is composed of several regions or clusters of neurons, which have different jobs. Furthermore, there is considerable variability in the oscillations of the individual cells, ranging from 21.25 to 26.25 hours. Although the individual cells in the SCN have their own clockwork mechanisms with varying periods, the cell autonomous oscillations in neural activity are synchronized at the system level within the SCN, providing a coherent near 24-hour signal to the rest of the mammal. […] SCN neurons exhibit a circadian rhythm of spontaneous action potentials (SAPs), with higher frequency during the daytime than the night which in turn drives many rhythmic changes by alternating stimulatory and inhibitory inputs to the appropriate target neurons in the brain and neuroendocrine systems. […] The SCN projects directly to thirty-five brain regions, mostly located in the hypothalamus, and particularly those regions of the hypothalamus that regulate hormone release. Indeed, many pituitary hormones, such as cortisol, are under tight circadian control. Furthermore, the SCN regulates the activity of the autonomous nervous system, which in turn places multiple aspects of physiology, including the sensitivity of target tissues to hormonal signals, under circadian control. In addition to these direct neuronal connections, the SCN communicates to the rest of the body using diffusible chemical signals.”

“The SCN is the master clock in mammals but it is not the only clock. There are liver clocks, muscle clocks, pancreas clocks, adipose tissue clocks, and clocks of some sort in every organ and tissue examined to date. While lesioning of the SCN disrupts global behavioural rhythms such as locomotor activity, the disruption of clock function within just the liver or lung leads to circadian disorder that is confined to the target organ. In tissue culture, liver, heart, lung, skeletal muscle, and other organ tissues such as mammary glands express circadian rhythms, but these rhythms dampen and disappear after only a few cycles. This occurs because some individual clock cells lose rhythmicity, but more commonly because the individual cellular clocks become uncoupled from each other. The cells continue to tick, but all at different phases so that an overall 24-hour rhythm within the tissue or organ is lost. The discovery that virtually all cells of the body have clocks was one of the big surprises in circadian rhythms research. […] the SCN, entrained by pRGCs, acts as a pacemaker to coordinate, but not drive, the circadian activity of billions of individual peripheral circadian oscillators throughout the tissues and organs of the body. The signalling pathways used by the SCN to phase-entrain peripheral clocks are still uncertain, but we know that the SCN does not send out trillions of separate signals around the body that target specific cellular clocks. Rather there seems to be a limited number of neuronal and humoral signals which entrain peripheral clocks that in turn time their local physiology and gene expression.”

“As in Drosophilia […], the mouse clockwork also comprises three transcriptional-translational feedback loops with multiple interacting components. […] [T]he generation of a robust circadian rhythm that can be entrained by the environment is achieved via multiple elements, including the rate of transcription, translation, protein complex assembly, phosphorylation, other post-translation modification events, movement into the nucleus, transcriptional inhibition, and protein degradation. […] [A] complex arrangement is needed because from the moment a gene is switched on, transcription and translation usually takes two hours at most. As a result, substantial delays must be imposed at different stages to produce a near 24-hour oscillation. […] Although the molecular players may differ from Drosophilia and mice, and indeed even between different insects, the underlying principles apply across the spectrum of animal life. […] In fungi, plants, and cyanobacteria the clock genes are all different from each other and different again from the animal clock genes, suggesting that clocks evolved independently in the great evolutionary lineages of life on earth. Despite these differences, all these clocks are based upon a fundamental TTFL.”

“Circadian entrainment is surprisingly slow, taking several days to adjust to an advanced or delayed light/dark cycle. In most mammals, including jet-lagged humans, behavioural shifts are limited to approximately one hour (one time zone) per day. […] Changed levels of PER1 and PER2 act to shift the molecular clockwork, advancing the clock at dawn and delaying the clock at dusk. However, per mRNA and PER protein levels fall rapidly even if the animal remains exposed to light. As a result, the effects of light on the molecular clock are limited and entrainment is a gradual process requiring repeated shifting stimuli over multiple days. This phenomenon explains why we get jet lag: the clock cannot move immediately to a new dawn/dusk cycle because there is a ‘brake’ on the effects of light on the clock. […] The mechanism that provides this molecular brake is the production of SLK1 protein. […] Experiments on mice in which SLK1 has been suppressed show very rapid entrainment to simulated jet-lag.”

“We spend approximately 36 per cent of our entire lives asleep, and while asleep we do not eat, drink, or knowingly pass on our genes. This suggests that this aspect of our 24-hour behaviour provides us with something of huge value. If we are deprived of sleep, the sleep drive becomes so powerful that it can only be satisfied by sleep. […] Almost all life shows a 24-hour pattern of activity and rest, as we live on a planet that revolves once every 24 hours causing profound changes in light, temperature, and food availability. […] Life seems to have made an evolutionary ‘decision’ to be active at a specific part of the day/night cycle, and a species specialized to be active during the day will be far less effective at night. Conversely, nocturnal animals that are beautifully adapted to move around and hunt under dim or no light fail miserably during the day. […] no species can operate with the same effectiveness across the 24-hour light/dark environment. Species are adapted to a particular temporal niche just as they are to a physical niche. Activity at the wrong time often means death. […] Sleep may be the suspension of most physical activity, but a huge amount of essential physiology occurs during this time. Many diverse processes associated with the restoration and rebuilding of metabolic pathways are known to be up-regulated during sleep […] During sleep the body performs a broad range of essential ‘housekeeping’ functions without which performance and health during the active phase deteriorates rapidly. But these housekeeping functions would not be why sleep evolved in the first place. […] Evolution has allocated these key activities to the most appropriate time of day. […] In short, sleep has probably evolved as a species-specific response to a 24-hour world in which light, temperature, and food availability change dramatically. Sleep is a period of physical inactivity when individuals avoid movement within an environment to which they are poorly adapted, while using this time to undertake essential housekeeping functions demanded by their biology.”

“Sleep propensity in humans is closely correlated with the melatonin profile but this may be correlation and not causation. Indeed, individuals who do not produce melatonin (e.g. tetraplegic individuals, people on beta-blockers, or pinealectomized patients) still exhibit circadian sleep/wake rhythms with only very minor detectable changes. Another correlation between melatonin and sleep relates to levels of alertness. When melatonin is suppressed by light at night alertness levels increase, suggesting that melatonin and sleep propensity are directly connected. However, increases in alertness occur before a significant drop in blood melatonin. Furthermore, increased light during the day will also improve alertness when melatonin levels are already low. These findings suggest that melatonin is not a direct mediator of alertness and hence sleepiness. Taking synthetic melatonin or synthetic analogues of melatonin produces a mild sleepiness in about 70 per cent of people, especially when no natural melatonin is being released. The mechanism whereby melatonin produces mild sedation remains unclear.”

Links:

Teleost multiple tissue (tmt) opsin.
Melanopsin.
Suprachiasmatic nucleus.
Neuromedin S.
Food-entrainable circadian oscillators in the brain.
John Harrison. Seymour Benzer. Ronald Konopka. Jeffrey C. Hall. Michael Rosbash. Michael W. Young.
Circadian Oscillators: Around the Transcription-Translation Feedback Loop and on to Output.
Period (gene). Timeless (gene). CLOCK. Cycle (gene). Doubletime (gene). Cryptochrome. Vrille Gene.
Basic helix-loop-helix.
The clockwork orange Drosophila protein functions as both an activator and a repressor of clock gene expression.
RAR-related orphan receptor. RAR-related orphan receptor alpha.
BHLHE41.
The two-process model of sleep regulation: a reappraisal.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Books, Genetics, Medicine, Molecular biology, Neurology, Ophthalmology | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Islet Long Noncoding RNAs: A Playbook for Discovery and Characterization.

“This review will 1) highlight what is known about lncRNAs in the context of diabetes, 2) summarize the strategies used in lncRNA discovery pipelines, and 3) discuss future directions and the potential impact of studying the role of lncRNAs in diabetes.”

“Decades of mouse research and advances in genome-wide association studies have identified several genetic drivers of monogenic syndromes of β-cell dysfunction, as well as 113 distinct type 2 diabetes (T2D) susceptibility loci (1) and ∼60 loci associated with an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes (T1D) (2). Interestingly, these studies discovered that most T1D and T2D susceptibility loci fall outside of coding regions, which suggests a role for noncoding elements in the development of disease (3,4). Several studies have demonstrated that many causal variants of diabetes are significantly enriched in regions containing islet enhancers, promoters, and transcription factor binding sites (5,6); however, not all diabetes susceptibility loci can be explained by associations with these regulatory regions. […] Advances in RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technologies have revealed that mammalian genomes encode tens of thousands of RNA transcripts that have similar features to mRNAs, yet are not translated into proteins (7). […] detailed characterization of many of these transcripts has challenged the idea that the central role for RNA in a cell is to give rise to proteins. Instead, these RNA transcripts make up a class of molecules called noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) that function either as “housekeeping” ncRNAs, such as transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), that are expressed ubiquitously and are required for protein synthesis or as “regulatory” ncRNAs that control gene expression. While the functional mechanisms of short regulatory ncRNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), and Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), have been described in detail (810), the most abundant and functionally enigmatic regulatory ncRNAs are called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that are loosely defined as RNAs larger than 200 nucleotides (nt) that do not encode for protein (1113). Although using a definition based strictly on size is somewhat arbitrary, this definition is useful both bioinformatically […] and technically […]. While the 200-nt size cutoff has simplified identification of lncRNAs, this rather broad classification means several features of lncRNAs, including abundance, cellular localization, stability, conservation, and function, are inherently heterogeneous (1517). Although this represents one of the major challenges of lncRNA biology, it also highlights the untapped potential of lncRNAs to provide a novel layer of gene regulation that influences islet physiology and pathophysiology.”

“Although the role of miRNAs in diabetes has been well established (9), analyses of lncRNAs in islets have lagged behind their short ncRNA counterparts. However, several recent studies provide evidence that lncRNAs are crucial components of the islet regulome and may have a role in diabetes (27). […] misexpression of several lncRNAs has been correlated with diabetes complications, such as diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy (2931). There are also preliminary studies suggesting that circulating lncRNAs, such as Gas5, MIAT1, and SENCR, may represent effective molecular biomarkers of diabetes and diabetes-related complications (32,33). Finally, several recent studies have explored the role of lncRNAs in the peripheral metabolic tissues that contribute to energy homeostasis […]. In addition to their potential as genetic drivers and/or biomarkers of diabetes and diabetes complications, lncRNAs can be exploited for the treatment of diabetes. For example, although tremendous efforts have been dedicated to generating replacement β-cells for individuals with diabetes (35,36), human pluripotent stem cell–based β-cell differentiation protocols remain inefficient, and the end product is still functionally and transcriptionally immature compared with primary human β-cells […]. This is largely due to our incomplete knowledge of in vivo differentiation regulatory pathways, which likely include a role for lncRNAs. […] Inherent characteristics of lncRNAs have also made them attractive candidates for drug targeting, which could be exploited for developing new diabetes therapies.”

“With the advancement of high-throughput sequencing techniques, the list of islet-specific lncRNAs is growing exponentially; however, functional characterization is missing for the majority of these lncRNAs. […] Tens of thousands of lncRNAs have been identified in different cell types and model organisms; however, their functions largely remain unknown. Although the tools for determining lncRNA function are technically restrictive, uncovering novel regulatory mechanisms will have the greatest impact on understanding islet function and identifying novel therapeutics for diabetes. To date, no biochemical assay has been used to directly determine the molecular mechanisms by which islet lncRNAs function, which highlights both the infancy of the field and the difficulty in implementing these techniques. […] Due to the infancy of the lncRNA field, most of the biochemical and genetic tools used to interrogate lncRNA function have only recently been developed or are adapted from techniques used to study protein-coding genes and we are only beginning to appreciate the limits and challenges of borrowing strategies from the protein-coding world.”

“The discovery of lncRNAs as a novel class of tissue-specific regulatory molecules has spawned an exciting new field of biology that will significantly impact our understanding of pancreas physiology and pathophysiology. As the field continues to grow, there is growing appreciation that lncRNAs will provide many of the missing components to existing molecular pathways that regulate islet biology and contribute to diabetes when they become dysfunctional. However, to date, most of the experimental emphasis on lncRNAs has focused on large-scale discovery using genome-wide approaches, and there remains a paucity of functional analysis.”

ii. Diabetes and Trajectories of Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate: A Prospective Cohort Analysis of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

“Diabetes is among the strongest common risk factors for end-stage renal disease, and in industrialized countries, diabetes contributes to ∼50% of cases (3). Less is known about the pattern of kidney function decline associated with diabetes that precedes end-stage renal disease. Identifying patterns of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) decline could inform monitoring practices for people at high risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression. A better understanding of when and in whom eGFR decline occurs would be useful for the design of clinical trials because eGFR decline >30% is now often used as a surrogate end point for CKD progression (4). Trajectories among persons with diabetes are of particular interest because of the possibility for early intervention and the prevention of CKD development. However, eGFR trajectories among persons with new diabetes may be complex due to the hypothesized period of hyperfiltration by which GFR increases, followed by progressive, rapid decline (5). Using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, an ongoing prospective community-based cohort of >15,000 participants initiated in 1987 with serial measurements of creatinine over 26 years, our aim was to characterize patterns of eGFR decline associated with diabetes, identify demographic, genetic, and modifiable risk factors within the population with diabetes that were associated with steeper eGFR decline, and assess for evidence of early hyperfiltration.”

“We categorized people into groups of no diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, and diagnosed diabetes at baseline (visit 1) and compared baseline clinical characteristics using ANOVA for continuous variables and Pearson χ2 tests for categorical variables. […] To estimate individual eGFR slopes over time, we used linear mixed-effects models with random intercepts and random slopes. These models were fit on diabetes status at baseline as a nominal variable to adjust the baseline level of eGFR and included an interaction term between diabetes status at baseline and time to estimate annual decline in eGFR by diabetes categories. Linear mixed models were run unadjusted and adjusted, with the latter model including the following diabetes and kidney disease–related risk factors: age, sex, race–center, BMI, systolic blood pressure, hypertension medication use, HDL, prevalent coronary heart disease, annual family income, education status, and smoking status, as well as each variable interacted with time. Continuous covariates were centered at the analytic population mean. We tested model assumptions and considered different covariance structures, comparing nested models using Akaike information criteria. We identified the unstructured covariance model as the most optimal and conservative approach. From the mixed models, we described the overall mean annual decline by diabetes status at baseline and used the random effects to estimate best linear unbiased predictions to describe the distributions of yearly slopes in eGFR by diabetes status at baseline and displayed them using kernel density plots.”

“Because of substantial variation in annual eGFR slope among people with diagnosed diabetes, we sought to identify risk factors that were associated with faster decline. Among those with diagnosed diabetes, we compared unadjusted and adjusted mean annual decline in eGFR by race–APOL1 risk status (white, black– APOL1 low risk, and black–APOL1 high risk) [here’s a relevant link, US], systolic blood pressure […], smoking status […], prevalent coronary heart disease […], diabetes medication use […], HbA1c […], and 1,5-anhydroglucitol (≥10 and <10 μg/mL) [relevant link, US]. Because some of these variables were only available at visit 2, we required that participants included in this subgroup analysis attend both visits 1 and 2 and not be missing information on APOL1 or the variables assessed at visit 2 to ensure a consistent sample size. In addition to diabetes and kidney disease–related risk factors in the adjusted model, we also included diabetes medication use and HbA1c to account for diabetes severity in these analyses. […] to explore potential hyperfiltration, we used a linear spline model to allow the slope to change for each diabetes category between the first 3 years of follow-up (visit 1 to visit 2) and the subsequent time period (visit 2 to visit 5).”

“There were 15,517 participants included in the analysis: 13,698 (88%) without diabetes, 634 (4%) with undiagnosed diabetes, and 1,185 (8%) with diagnosed diabetes at baseline. […] At baseline, participants with undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes were older, more likely to be black or have hypertension and coronary heart disease, and had higher mean BMI and lower mean HDL compared with those without diabetes […]. Income and education levels were also lower among those with undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes compared with those without diabetes. […] Overall, there was a nearly linear association between eGFR and age over time, regardless of diabetes status […]. The crude mean annual decline in eGFR was slowest among those without diabetes at baseline (decline of −1.6 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −1.6 to −1.5]), faster among those with undiagnosed diabetes compared with those without diabetes (decline of −2.1 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −2.2 to −2.0][…]), and nearly twice as rapid among those with diagnosed diabetes compared with those without diabetes (decline of −2.9 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −3.0 to −2.8][…]). Adjustment for diabetes and kidney disease–related risk factors attenuated the results slightly, but those with undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes still had statistically significantly steeper declines than those without diabetes (decline among no diabetes −1.4 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −1.5 to −1.4] and decline among undiagnosed diabetes −1.8 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −2.0 to −1.7], difference vs. no diabetes of −0.4 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −0.5 to −0.3; P < 0.001]; decline among diagnosed diabetes −2.5 mL/min/1.73 m2/year [95% CI −2.6 to −2.4], difference vs. no diabetes of −1.1 mL/min/1.73 m2/ year [95% CI −1.2 to −1.0; P < 0.001]). […] The decline in eGFR per year varied greatly across individuals, particularly among those with diabetes at baseline […] Among participants with diagnosed diabetes at baseline, those who were black, had systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg, used diabetes medications, had an HbA1c ≥7% [≥53 mmol/mol], or had 1,5-anhydroglucitol <10 μg/mL were at risk for steeper annual declines than their counterparts […]. Smoking status and prevalent coronary heart disease were not associated with significantly steeper eGFR decline in unadjusted analyses. Adjustment for risk factors, diabetes medication use, and HbA1c attenuated the differences in decline for all subgroups with the exception of smoking status, leaving black race along with APOL1-susceptible genotype, systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg, current smoking, insulin use, and HbA1c ≥9% [≥75 mmol/mol] as the risk factors indicative of steeper decline.”

CONCLUSIONS Diabetes is an important risk factor for kidney function decline. Those with diagnosed diabetes declined almost twice as rapidly as those without diabetes. Among people with diagnosed diabetes, steeper declines were seen in those with modifiable risk factors, including hypertension and glycemic control, suggesting areas for continued targeting in kidney disease prevention. […] Few other community-based studies have evaluated differences in kidney function decline by diabetes status over a long period through mid- and late life. One study of 10,184 Canadians aged ≥66 years with creatinine measured during outpatient visits showed results largely consistent with our findings but with much shorter follow-up (median of 2 years) (19). Other studies of eGFR change in a general population have found smaller declines than our results (20,21). A study conducted in Japanese participants aged 40–79 years found a decline of only −0.4 mL/min/1.73 m2/year over the course of two assessments 10 years apart (compared with our estimate among those without diabetes: −1.6 mL/min/1.73 m2/year). This is particularly interesting, as Japan is known to have a higher prevalence of CKD and end-stage renal disease than the U.S. (20). However, this study evaluated participants over a shorter time frame and required attendance at both assessments, which may have decreased the likelihood of capturing severe cases and resulted in underestimation of decline.”

“The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging also assessed kidney function over time in a general population of 446 men, ranging in age from 22 to 97 years at baseline, each with up to 14 measurements of creatinine clearance assessed between 1958 and 1981 (21). They also found a smaller decline than we did (−0.8 mL/min/year), although this study also had notable differences. Their main analysis excluded participants with hypertension and history of renal disease or urinary tract infection and those treated with diuretics and/or antihypertensive medications. Without those exclusions, their overall estimate was −1.1 mL/min/year, which better reflects a community-based population and our results. […] In our evaluation of risk factors that might explain the variation in decline seen among those with diagnosed diabetes, we observed that black race, systolic blood pressure ≥140 mmHg, insulin use, and HbA1c ≥9% (≥75 mmol/mol) were particularly important. Although the APOL1 high-risk genotype is a known risk factor for eGFR decline, African Americans with low-risk APOL1 status continued to be at higher risk than whites even after adjustment for traditional risk factors, diabetes medication use, and HbA1c.”

“Our results are relevant to the design and conduct of clinical trials. Hard clinical outcomes like end-stage renal disease are relatively rare, and a 30–40% decline in eGFR is now accepted as a surrogate end point for CKD progression (4). We provide data on patient subgroups that may experience accelerated trajectories of kidney function decline, which has implications for estimating sample size and ensuring adequate power in future clinical trials. Our results also suggest that end points of eGFR decline might not be appropriate for patients with new-onset diabetes, in whom declines may actually be slower than among persons without diabetes. Slower eGFR decline among those with undiagnosed diabetes, who are likely early in the course of diabetes, is consistent with the hypothesis of hyperfiltration. Similar to other studies, we found that persons with undiagnosed diabetes had higher GFR at the outset, but this was a transient phenomenon, as they ultimately experienced larger declines in kidney function than those without diabetes over the course of follow-up (2325). Whether hyperfiltration is a universal aspect of early disease and, if not, whether it portends worse long-term outcomes is uncertain. Existing studies investigating hyperfiltration as a precursor to adverse kidney outcomes are inconsistent (24,26,27) and often confounded by diabetes severity factors like duration (27). We extended this literature by separating undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes to help address that confounding.”

iii. Saturated Fat Is More Metabolically Harmful for the Human Liver Than Unsaturated Fat or Simple Sugars.

OBJECTIVE Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (i.e., increased intrahepatic triglyceride [IHTG] content), predisposes to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adipose tissue lipolysis and hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) are the main pathways contributing to IHTG. We hypothesized that dietary macronutrient composition influences the pathways, mediators, and magnitude of weight gain-induced changes in IHTG.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We overfed 38 overweight subjects (age 48 ± 2 years, BMI 31 ± 1 kg/m2, liver fat 4.7 ± 0.9%) 1,000 extra kcal/day of saturated (SAT) or unsaturated (UNSAT) fat or simple sugars (CARB) for 3 weeks. We measured IHTG (1H-MRS), pathways contributing to IHTG (lipolysis ([2H5]glycerol) and DNL (2H2O) basally and during euglycemic hyperinsulinemia), insulin resistance, endotoxemia, plasma ceramides, and adipose tissue gene expression at 0 and 3 weeks.

RESULTS Overfeeding SAT increased IHTG more (+55%) than UNSAT (+15%, P < 0.05). CARB increased IHTG (+33%) by stimulating DNL (+98%). SAT significantly increased while UNSAT decreased lipolysis. SAT induced insulin resistance and endotoxemia and significantly increased multiple plasma ceramides. The diets had distinct effects on adipose tissue gene expression.”

CONCLUSIONS NAFLD has been shown to predict type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in multiple studies, even independent of obesity (1), and also to increase the risk of progressive liver disease (17). It is therefore interesting to compare effects of different diets on liver fat content and understand the underlying mechanisms. We examined whether provision of excess calories as saturated (SAT) or unsaturated (UNSAT) fats or simple sugars (CARB) influences the metabolic response to overfeeding in overweight subjects. All overfeeding diets increased IHTGs. The SAT diet induced a greater increase in IHTGs than the UNSAT diet. The composition of the diet altered sources of excess IHTGs. The SAT diet increased lipolysis, whereas the CARB diet stimulated DNL. The SAT but not the other diets increased multiple plasma ceramides, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease independent of LDL cholesterol (18). […] Consistent with current dietary recommendations (3638), the current study shows that saturated fat is the most harmful dietary constituent regarding IHTG accumulation.”

iv. Primum Non Nocere: Refocusing Our Attention on Severe Hypoglycemia Prevention.

“Severe hypoglycemia, defined as low blood glucose requiring assistance for recovery, is arguably the most dangerous complication of type 1 diabetes as it can result in permanent cognitive impairment, seizure, coma, accidents, and death (1,2). Since the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) demonstrated that intensive intervention to normalize glucose prevents long-term complications but at the price of a threefold increase in the rate of severe hypoglycemia (3), hypoglycemia has been recognized as the major limitation to achieving tight glycemic control. Severe hypoglycemia remains prevalent among adults with type 1 diabetes, ranging from ∼1.4% per year in the DCCT/EDIC (Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications) follow-up cohort (4) to ∼8% in the T1D Exchange clinic registry (5).

One the greatest risk factors for severe hypoglycemia is impaired awareness of hypoglycemia (6), which increases risk up to sixfold (7,8). Hypoglycemia unawareness results from deficient counterregulation (9), where falling glucose fails to activate the autonomic nervous system to produce neuroglycopenic symptoms that normally help patients identify and respond to episodes (i.e., sweating, palpitations, hunger) (2). An estimated 20–25% of adults with type 1 diabetes have impaired hypoglycemia awareness (8), which increases to more than 50% after 25 years of disease duration (10).

Screening for hypoglycemia unawareness to identify patients at increased risk of severe hypoglycemic events should be part of routine diabetes care. Self-identified impairment in awareness tends to agree with clinical evaluation (11). Therefore, hypoglycemia unawareness can be easily and effectively screened […] Interventions for hypoglycemia unawareness include a range of behavioral and medical options. Avoiding hypoglycemia for at least several weeks may partially reverse hypoglycemia unawareness and reduce risk of future episodes (1). Therefore, patients with hypoglycemia and unawareness may be advised to raise their glycemic and HbA1c targets (1,2). Diabetes technology can play a role, including continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) to optimize insulin delivery, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to give technological awareness in the absence of symptoms (14), or the combination of the two […] Aside from medical management, structured or hypoglycemia-specific education programs that aim to prevent hypoglycemia are recommended for all patients with severe hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia unawareness (14). In randomized trials, psychoeducational programs that incorporate increased education, identification of personal risk factors, and behavior change support have improved hypoglycemia unawareness and reduced the incidence of both nonsevere and severe hypoglycemia over short periods of follow-up (17,18) and extending up to 1 year (19).”

“Given that the presence of hypoglycemia unawareness increases the risk of severe hypoglycemia, which is the strongest predictor of a future episode (2,4), the implication that intervention can break the life-threatening and traumatizing cycle of hypoglycemia unawareness and severe hypoglycemia cannot be overstated. […] new evidence of durability of effect across treatment regimen without increasing the risk for long-term complications creates an imperative for action. In combination with existing screening tools and a body of literature investigating novel interventions for hypoglycemia unawareness, these results make the approach of screening, recognition, and intervention very compelling as not only a best practice but something that should be incorporated in universal guidelines on diabetes care, particularly for individuals with type 1 diabetes […] Hyperglycemia is […] only part of the puzzle in diabetes management. Long-term complications are decreasing across the population with improved interventions and their implementation (24). […] it is essential to shift our historical obsession with hyperglycemia and its long-term complications to equally emphasize the disabling, distressing, and potentially fatal near-term complication of our treatments, namely severe hypoglycemia. […] The health care providers’ first dictum is primum non nocere — above all, do no harm. ADA must refocus our attention on severe hypoglycemia as an iatrogenic and preventable complication of our interventions.”

v. Anti‐vascular endothelial growth factor combined with intravitreal steroids for diabetic macular oedema.

“Background

The combination of steroid and anti‐vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) intravitreal therapeutic agents could potentially have synergistic effects for treating diabetic macular oedema (DMO). On the one hand, if combined treatment is more effective than monotherapy, there would be significant implications for improving patient outcomes. Conversely, if there is no added benefit of combination therapy, then people could be potentially exposed to unnecessary local or systemic side effects.

Objectives

To assess the effects of intravitreal agents that block vascular endothelial growth factor activity (anti‐VEGF agents) plus intravitreal steroids versus monotherapy with macular laser, intravitreal steroids or intravitreal anti‐VEGF agents for managing DMO.”

“There were eight RCTs (703 participants, 817 eyes) that met our inclusion criteria with only three studies reporting outcomes at one year. The studies took place in Iran (3), USA (2), Brazil (1), Czech Republic (1) and South Korea (1). […] When comparing anti‐VEGF/steroid with anti‐VEGF monotherapy as primary therapy for DMO, we found no meaningful clinical difference in change in BCVA [best corrected visual acuity] […] or change in CMT [central macular thickness] […] at one year. […] There was very low‐certainty evidence on intraocular inflammation from 8 studies, with one event in the anti‐VEGF/steroid group (313 eyes) and two events in the anti‐VEGF group (322 eyes). There was a greater risk of raised IOP (Peto odds ratio (OR) 8.13, 95% CI 4.67 to 14.16; 635 eyes; 8 RCTs; moderate‐certainty evidence) and development of cataract (Peto OR 7.49, 95% CI 2.87 to 19.60; 635 eyes; 8 RCTs; moderate‐certainty evidence) in eyes receiving anti‐VEGF/steroid compared with anti‐VEGF monotherapy. There was low‐certainty evidence from one study of an increased risk of systemic adverse events in the anti‐VEGF/steroid group compared with the anti‐VEGF alone group (Peto OR 1.32, 95% CI 0.61 to 2.86; 103 eyes).”

“One study compared anti‐VEGF/steroid versus macular laser therapy. At one year investigators did not report a meaningful difference between the groups in change in BCVA […] or change in CMT […]. There was very low‐certainty evidence suggesting an increased risk of cataract in the anti‐VEGF/steroid group compared with the macular laser group (Peto OR 4.58, 95% 0.99 to 21.10, 100 eyes) and an increased risk of elevated IOP in the anti‐VEGF/steroid group compared with the macular laser group (Peto OR 9.49, 95% CI 2.86 to 31.51; 100 eyes).”

“Authors’ conclusions

Combination of intravitreal anti‐VEGF plus intravitreal steroids does not appear to offer additional visual benefit compared with monotherapy for DMO; at present the evidence for this is of low‐certainty. There was an increased rate of cataract development and raised intraocular pressure in eyes treated with anti‐VEGF plus steroid versus anti‐VEGF alone. Patients were exposed to potential side effects of both these agents without reported additional benefit.”

vi. Association between diabetic foot ulcer and diabetic retinopathy.

“More than 25 million people in the United States are estimated to have diabetes mellitus (DM), and 15–25% will develop a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) during their lifetime [1]. DFU is one of the most serious and disabling complications of DM, resulting in significantly elevated morbidity and mortality. Vascular insufficiency and associated neuropathy are important predisposing factors for DFU, and DFU is the most common cause of non-traumatic foot amputation worldwide. Up to 70% of all lower leg amputations are performed on patients with DM, and up to 85% of all amputations are preceded by a DFU [2, 3]. Every year, approximately 2–3% of all diabetic patients develop a foot ulcer, and many require prolonged hospitalization for the treatment of ensuing complications such as infection and gangrene [4, 5].

Meanwhile, a number of studies have noted that diabetic retinopathy (DR) is associated with diabetic neuropathy and microvascular complications [610]. Despite the magnitude of the impact of DFUs and their consequences, little research has been performed to investigate the characteristics of patients with a DFU and DR. […] the aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of DR in patients with a DFU and to elucidate the potential association between DR and DFUs.”

“A retrospective review was conducted on DFU patients who underwent ophthalmic and vascular examinations within 6 months; 100 type 2 diabetic patients with DFU were included. The medical records of 2496 type 2 diabetic patients without DFU served as control data. DR prevalence and severity were assessed in DFU patients. DFU patients were compared with the control group regarding each clinical variable. Additionally, DFU patients were divided into two groups according to DR severity and compared. […] Out of 100 DFU patients, 90 patients (90%) had DR and 55 (55%) had proliferative DR (PDR). There was no significant association between DR and DFU severities (R = 0.034, p = 0.734). A multivariable analysis comparing type 2 diabetic patients with and without DFUs showed that the presence of DR [OR, 226.12; 95% confidence interval (CI), 58.07–880.49; p < 0.001] and proliferative DR [OR, 306.27; 95% CI, 64.35–1457.80; p < 0.001), higher HbA1c (%, OR, 1.97, 95% CI, 1.46–2.67; p < 0.001), higher serum creatinine (mg/dL, OR, 1.62, 95% CI, 1.06–2.50; p = 0.027), older age (years, OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.06–1.17; p < 0.001), higher pulse pressure (mmHg, OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00–1.06; p = 0.025), lower cholesterol (mg/dL, OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.92–0.97; p < 0.001), lower BMI (kg/m2, OR, 0.87, 95% CI, 0.75–1.00; p = 0.044) and lower hematocrit (%, OR, 0.80, 95% CI, 0.74–0.87; p < 0.001) were associated with DFUs. In a subgroup analysis of DFU patients, the PDR group had a longer duration of diabetes mellitus, higher serum BUN, and higher serum creatinine than the non-PDR group. In the multivariable analysis, only higher serum creatinine was associated with PDR in DFU patients (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.05–1.78; p = 0.021).

Conclusions

Diabetic retinopathy is prevalent in patients with DFU and about half of DFU patients had PDR. No significant association was found in terms of the severity of these two diabetic complications. To prevent blindness, patients with DFU, and especially those with high serum creatinine, should undergo retinal examinations for timely PDR diagnosis and management.”

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Diabetes, Epidemiology, Genetics, Medicine, Molecular biology, Nephrology, Ophthalmology, Statistics, Studies | Leave a comment

Developmental Biology (II)

Below I have included some quotes from the middle chapters of the book and some links related to the topic coverage. As I already pointed out earlier, this is an excellent book on these topics.

Germ cells have three key functions: the preservation of the genetic integrity of the germline; the generation of genetic diversity; and the transmission of genetic information to the next generation. In all but the simplest animals, the cells of the germline are the only cells that can give rise to a new organism. So, unlike body cells, which eventually all die, germ cells in a sense outlive the bodies that produced them. They are, therefore, very special cells […] In order that the number of chromosomes is kept constant from generation to generation, germ cells are produced by a specialized type of cell division, called meiosis, which halves the chromosome number. Unless this reduction by meiosis occurred, the number of chromosomes would double each time the egg was fertilized. Germ cells thus contain a single copy of each chromosome and are called haploid, whereas germ-cell precursor cells and the other somatic cells of the body contain two copies and are called diploid. The halving of chromosome number at meiosis means that when egg and sperm come together at fertilization, the diploid number of chromosomes is restored. […] An important property of germ cells is that they remain pluripotent—able to give rise to all the different types of cells in the body. Nevertheless, eggs and sperm in mammals have certain genes differentially switched off during germ-cell development by a process known as genomic imprinting […] Certain genes in eggs and sperm are imprinted, so that the activity of the same gene is different depending on whether it is of maternal or paternal origin. Improper imprinting can lead to developmental abnormalities in humans. At least 80 imprinted genes have been identified in mammals, and some are involved in growth control. […] A number of developmental disorders in humans are associated with imprinted genes. Infants with Prader-Willi syndrome fail to thrive and later can become extremely obese; they also show mental retardation and mental disturbances […] Angelman syndrome results in severe motor and mental retardation. Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is due to a generalized disruption of imprinting on a region of chromosome 7 and leads to excessive foetal overgrowth and an increased predisposition to cancer.”

“Sperm are motile cells, typically designed for activating the egg and delivering their nucleus into the egg cytoplasm. They essentially consist of a nucleus, mitochondria to provide an energy source, and a flagellum for movement. The sperm contributes virtually nothing to the organism other than its chromosomes. In mammals, sperm mitochondria are destroyed following fertilization, and so all mitochondria in the animal are of maternal origin. […] Different organisms have different ways of ensuring fertilization by only one sperm. […] Early development is similar in both male and female mammalian embryos, with sexual differences only appearing at later stages. The development of the individual as either male or female is genetically fixed at fertilization by the chromosomal content of the egg and sperm that fuse to form the fertilized egg. […] Each sperm carries either an X or Y chromosome, while the egg has an X. The genetic sex of a mammal is thus established at the moment of conception, when the sperm introduces either an X or a Y chromosome into the egg. […] In the absence of a Y chromosome, the default development of tissues is along the female pathway. […] Unlike animals, plants do not set aside germ cells in the embryo and germ cells are only specified when a flower develops. Any meristem cell can, in principle, give rise to a germ cell of either sex, and there are no sex chromosomes. The great majority of flowering plants give rise to flowers that contain both male and female sexual organs, in which meiosis occurs. The male sexual organs are the stamens; these produce pollen, which contains the male gamete nuclei corresponding to the sperm of animals. At the centre of the flower are the female sex organs, which consist of an ovary of two carpels, which contain the ovules. Each ovule contains an egg cell.”

“The character of specialized cells such as nerve, muscle, or skin is the result of a particular pattern of gene activity that determines which proteins are synthesized. There are more than 200 clearly recognizable differentiated cell types in mammals. How these particular patterns of gene activity develop is a central question in cell differentiation. Gene expression is under a complex set of controls that include the actions of transcription factors, and chemical modification of DNA. External signals play a key role in differentiation by triggering intracellular signalling pathways that affect gene expression. […] the central feature of cell differentiation is a change in gene expression, which brings about a change in the proteins in the cells. The genes expressed in a differentiated cell include not only those for a wide range of ‘housekeeping’ proteins, such as the enzymes involved in energy metabolism, but also genes encoding cell-specific proteins that characterize a fully differentiated cell: hemoglobin in red blood cells, keratin in skin epidermal cells, and muscle-specific actin and myosin protein filaments in muscle. […] several thousand different genes are active in any given cell in the embryo at any one time, though only a small number of these may be involved in specifying cell fate or differentiation. […] Cell differentiation is known to be controlled by a wide range of external signals but it is important to remember that, while these external signals are often referred to as being ‘instructive’, they are ‘selective’, in the sense that the number of developmental options open to a cell at any given time is limited. These options are set by the cell’s internal state which, in turn, reflects its developmental history. External signals cannot, for example, convert an endodermal cell into a muscle or nerve cell. Most of the molecules that act as developmentally important signals between cells during development are proteins or peptides, and their effect is usually to induce a change in gene expression. […] The same external signals can be used again and again with different effects because the cells’ histories are different. […] At least 1,000 different transcription factors are encoded in the genomes of the fly and the nematode, and as many as 3,000 in the human genome. On average, around five different transcription factors act together at a control region […] In general, it can be assumed that activation of each gene involves a unique combination of transcription factors.”

“Stem cells involve some special features in relation to differentiation. A single stem cell can divide to produce two daughter cells, one of which remains a stem cell while the other gives rise to a lineage of differentiating cells. This occurs in our skin and gut all the time and also in the production of blood cells. It also occurs in the embryo. […] Embryonic stem (ES) cells from the inner cell mass of the early mammalian embryo when the primitive streak forms, can, in culture, differentiate into a wide variety of cell types, and have potential uses in regenerative medicine. […] it is now possible to make adult body cells into stem cells, which has important implications for regenerative medicine. […] The goal of regenerative medicine is to restore the structure and function of damaged or diseased tissues. As stem cells can proliferate and differentiate into a wide range of cell types, they are strong candidates for use in cell-replacement therapy, the restoration of tissue function by the introduction of new healthy cells. […] The generation of insulin-producing pancreatic β cells from ES cells to replace those destroyed in type 1 diabetes is a prime medical target. Treatments that direct the differentiation of ES cells towards making endoderm derivatives such as pancreatic cells have been particularly difficult to find. […] The neurodegenerative Parkinson disease is another medical target. […] To generate […] stem cells of the patient’s own tissue type would be a great advantage, and the recent development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) offers […] exciting new opportunities. […] There is [however] risk of tumour induction in patients undergoing cell-replacement therapy with ES cells or iPS cells; undifferentiated pluripotent cells introduced into the patient could cause tumours. Only stringent selection procedures that ensure no undifferentiated cells are present in the transplanted cell population will overcome this problem. And it is not yet clear how stable differentiated ES cells and iPS cells will be in the long term.”

“In general, the success rate of cloning by body-cell nuclear transfer in mammals is low, and the reasons for this are not yet well understood. […] Most cloned mammals derived from nuclear transplantation are usually abnormal in some way. The cause of failure is incomplete reprogramming of the donor nucleus to remove all the earlier modifications. A related cause of abnormality may be that the reprogrammed genes have not gone through the normal imprinting process that occurs during germ-cell development, where different genes are silenced in the male and female parents. The abnormalities in adults that do develop from cloned embryos include early death, limb deformities and hypertension in cattle, and immune impairment in mice. All these defects are thought to be due to abnormalities of gene expression that arise from the cloning process. Studies have shown that some 5% of the genes in cloned mice are not correctly expressed and that almost half of the imprinted genes are incorrectly expressed.”

“Organ development involves large numbers of genes and, because of this complexity, general principles can be quite difficult to distinguish. Nevertheless, many of the mechanisms used in organogenesis are similar to those of earlier development, and certain signals are used again and again. Pattern formation in development in a variety of organs can be specified by position information, which is specified by a gradient in some property. […] Not surprisingly, the vascular system, including blood vessels and blood cells, is among the first organ systems to develop in vertebrate embryos, so that oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the rapidly developing tissues. The defining cell type of the vascular system is the endothelial cell, which forms the lining of the entire circulatory system, including the heart, veins, and arteries. Blood vessels are formed by endothelial cells and these vessels are then covered by connective tissue and smooth muscle cells. Arteries and veins are defined by the direction of blood flow as well as by structural and functional differences; the cells are specified as arterial or venous before they form blood vessels but they can switch identity. […] Differentiation of the vascular cells requires the growth factor VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and its receptors, and VEGF stimulates their proliferation. Expression of the Vegf gene is induced by lack of oxygen and thus an active organ using up oxygen promotes its own vascularization. New blood capillaries are formed by sprouting from pre-existing blood vessels and proliferation of cells at the tip of the sprout. […] During their development, blood vessels navigate along specific paths towards their targets […]. Many solid tumours produce VEGF and other growth factors that stimulate vascular development and so promote the tumour’s growth, and blocking new vessel formation is thus a means of reducing tumour growth. […] In humans, about 1 in 100 live-born infants has some congenital heart malformation, while in utero, heart malformation leading to death of the embryo occurs in between 5 and 10% of conceptions.”

“Separation of the digits […] is due to the programmed cell death of the cells between these digits’ cartilaginous elements. The webbed feet of ducks and other waterfowl are simply the result of less cell death between the digits. […] the death of cells between the digits is essential for separating the digits. The development of the vertebrate nervous system also involves the death of large numbers of neurons.”

Links:

Budding.
Gonad.
Down Syndrome.
Fertilization. In vitro fertilisation. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
SRY gene.
X-inactivation. Dosage compensation.
Cellular differentiation.
MyoD.
Signal transduction. Enhancer (genetics).
Epigenetics.
Hematopoiesis. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Hemoglobin. Sickle cell anemia.
Skin. Dermis. Fibroblast. Epidermis.
Skeletal muscle. Myogenesis. Myoblast.
Cloning. Dolly.
Organogenesis.
Limb development. Limb bud. Progress zone model. Apical ectodermal ridge. Polarizing region/Zone of polarizing activity. Sonic hedgehog.
Imaginal disc. Pax6. Aniridia. Neural tube.
Branching morphogenesis.
Pistil.
ABC model of flower development.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Biology, Books, Botany, Cancer/oncology, Diabetes, Genetics, Medicine, Molecular biology, Ophthalmology | Leave a comment

100 Cases in Orthopaedics and Rheumatology (II)

Below I have added some links related to the last half of the book’s coverage, as well as some more observations from the book.

Scaphoid fracture. Watson’s test. Dorsal intercalated segment instability. (“Non-union is not uncommon as a complication after scaphoid fractures because the blood supply to this bone is poor. Smokers have a higher incidence of non-union. Occasionally, the blood supply is poor enough to lead to avascular necrosis. If non-union is not detected, subsequent arthritis in the wrist can develop.”)
Septic arthritis. (“Septic arthritis is an orthopaedic emergency. […] People with septic arthritis are typically unwell with fevers and malaise and the joint pain is severe. […] Any acutely hot or painful joint is septic arthritis until proven otherwise.”)
Rheumatoid arthritis. (“[RA is] the most common of the inflammatory arthropathies. […] early-morning stiffness and pain, combined with soft-tissue rather than bony swelling, are classic patterns for inflammatory disease. Although […] RA affects principally the small joints of the hands (and feet), it may progress to involve any synovial joint and may be complicated by extra-articular features […] family history [of the disease] is not unusual due to the presence of susceptibility genes such as HLA-DR. […] Not all patients with RA have rheumatoid factor (RF), and not all patients with RF have RA; ACPA has greater specificity for RA than rheumatoid factor. […] Medical therapy focuses on disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate, sulphasalazine, leflunomide and hydroxychloroquine which may be used individually or in combination. […] Disease activity in RA is measured by the disease activity score (DAS), which is a composite score of the clinical evidence of synovitis, the current inflammatory response and the patient’s own assessment of their health. […] Patients who have high disease activity as determined by the DAS and have either failed or failed to tolerate standard disease modifying therapy qualify for biologic therapy – monoclonal antibodies that are directed against key components of the inflammatory response. […] TNF-α blockade is highly effective in up to 70 per cent of patients, reducing both inflammation and the progressive structural damage associated with severe active disease.”)
Ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosis. Schober’s index. Costochondritis.
Mononeuritis multiplex. (“Mononeuritis multiplex arises due to interruption of the vasa nervorum, the blood supply to peripheral nerves […] Mononeuritis multiplex is commonly caused by diabetes or vasculitis. […] Vasculitis – inflammation of blood vessels and subsequent obstruction to blood flow – can be primary (idiopathic) or secondary, in which case it is associated with an underlying condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. The vasculitides are classified according to the size of the vessel involved. […] Management of mononeuritis multiplex is based on potent immunosuppression […] and the treatment of underlying infections such as hepatitis.”)
Multiple myeloma. Bence-Jones protein. (“The combination of bone pain and elevated ESR and calcium is suggestive of multiple myeloma.”)
Osteoporosis. DEXA scan. T-score. (“Postmenopausal bone loss is the most common cause of osteoporosis, but secondary osteoporosis may occur in the context of a number of medical conditions […] Steroid-induced osteoporosis is a significant problem in medical practice. […] All patients receiving corticosteroids should have bone protection […] Pharmacological treatment in the form of calcium supplementation and biphosphonates to reduce osteoclast activity is effective but compliance is typically poor.”)
Osteomalacia. Rickets. Craniotabes.
Paget’s disease (see also this post). (“In practical terms, the main indication to treat Paget’s disease is pain […] although bone deformity or compression syndromes (or risk thereof) would also prompt therapy. The treatment of choice is a biphosphonate to diminish osteoclast activity”).
Stress fracture. Female athlete triad. (“Stress fractures are overuse injuries and occur when periosteal resorption exceeds bone formation. They are commonly seen in two main patient groups: soldiers may suffer so-called march fractures in the metatarsals, while athletes may develop them in different sites according to their sporting activity. Although the knee is a common site in runners due to excess mechanical loading, stress fractures may also result in non-weight-bearing sites due to repetitive and excessive traction […]. The classic symptom […] is of pain that occurs throughout running and crucially persists with rest; this is in contrast to shin splints, a traction injury to the tibial periosteum in which the pain diminishes somewhat with continued activity […] The crucial feature of rehabilitation is a graded return to sport to prevent progression or recurrence.”)
Psoriatic arthritis. (“Arthropathy and rash is a common combination in rheumatology […] Psoriatic arthritis is a common inflammatory arthropathy that affects up to 15 per cent of those with psoriasis. […] Nail disease is very helpful in differentiating psoriatic arthritis from other forms of inflammatory arthropathy.”)
Ehlers–Danlos syndromes. Marfan syndrome. Beighton (hypermobility) score.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. (“Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy […] The classic symptoms are of tingling in the sensory distribution of the median nerve (i.e. the lateral three and a half digits); loss of thumb abduction is a late feature. Symptoms are often worse at night (when the hand might be quite painful) and in certain postures […] The majority of cases are idiopathic, but pregnancy and rheumatoid arthritis are very common precipitating causes […] The majority of patients will respond well to conservative management […] If these measures fail, corticosteroid injection into the carpal tunnel can be very effective in up to 80 per cent of patients. Surgical decompression should be reserved for those with persistent disabling symptoms or motor loss.”)
Mixed connective tissue disease.
Crystal arthropathy. Tophus. Uric acid nephropathyChondrocalcinosis. (“In any patient presenting with an acutely painful and swollen joint, the most important diagnoses to consider are septic arthritis and crystal arthropathy. Crystal arthropathy such as gout is more common than septic arthritis […] Gout may be precipitated by diuretics, renal impairment and aspirin use”).
Familial Mediterranean fever. Amyloidosis.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (see also this). Jaccoud arthropathy. Lupus nephritis. (“Renal disease is the most feared complication of SLE.”)
Scleroderma. Raynaud’s phenomenon. (“Scleroderma is an uncommon disorder characterized by thickening of the skin and, to a greater or lesser degree, fibrosis of internal organs.”)
Henoch-Schönlein purpura. Cryoglobulinemia. (“Purpura are the result of a spontaneous extravasation of blood from the capillaries into the skin. If small they are known as petechiae, when they are large they are termed ecchymoses. There is an extensive differential diagnosis for purpura […] The combination of palpable purpura (distributed particularly over the buttocks and extensor surfaces of legs), abdominal pain, arthritis and renal disease is a classic presentation of Henoch–Schönlein purpura (HSP). HSP is a distinct and frequently self-limiting small-vessel vasculitis that can affect any age; but the majority of cases present in children aged 2–10 years, in whom the prognosis is more benign than the adult form, often remitting entirely within 3–4 months. The abdominal pain may mimic a surgical abdomen and can presage intussusception, haemorrhage or perforation. The arthritis, in contrast, is relatively mild and tends to affect the knees and ankles.”)
Rheumatic fever.
Erythema nodosum. (“Mild idiopathic erythema nodosum […] needs no specific treatment”).
Rheumatoid lung disease. Bronchiolitis obliterans. Methotrexate-induced pneumonitis. Hamman–Rich syndrome.
Antiphospholipid syndrome. Sapporo criteria. (“Antiphospholipid syndrome is a hypercoagulable state characterized by recurrent arteriovenous thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity in the presence of either a lupus anticoagulant or anticardiolipin antibody (both phospholipid-related proteins). […] The most common arteriovenous thrombotic events in antiphospholipid syndrome are deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolus […], but any part of the circulation may be involved, with arterial events such as myocardial infarction and stroke carrying a high mortality rate. Poor placental circulation is thought to be responsible for the high pregnancy morbidity, with recurrent first- and second-trimester loss and a higher rate of pre-eclampsia being typical clinical features.”)
Still’s disease. (“Consider inflammatory disease in cases of pyrexia of unknown origin.”)
Polymyalgia rheumatica. Giant cell arteritis. (“[P]olymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) [is] a systemic inflammatory syndrome affecting the elderly that is characterized by bilateral pain and stiffness in the shoulders and hip girdles. The stiffness can be profound and limits mobility although true muscle weakness is not a feature. […] The affected areas are diffusely tender, with movements limited by pain. […] care must be taken not to attribute joint inflammation to PMR until other diagnoses have been excluded; for example, a significant minority of RA patients may present with a polymyalgic onset. […] The treatment for PMR is low-dose corticosteroids. […] Many physicians would consider a dramatic response to low-dose prednisolone as almost diagnostic for PMR, so if a patients symptoms do not improve rapidly it is wise to re-evaluate the original diagnosis.”)
Relapsing polychondritis. (“Relapsing polychondritis is characterized histologically by inflammatory infiltration and later fibrosis of cartilage. Any cartilage, in any location, is at risk. […] Treatment of relapsing polychondritis is with corticosteroids […] Surgical reconstruction of collapsed structures is not an option as the deformity tends to continue postoperatively.”)
Dermatomyositis. Gottron’s Papules.
Enteropathic arthritis. (“A seronegative arthritis may develop in up to 15 per cent of patients with any form of inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn’s disease or microscopic and collagenous colitis. The most common clinical presentations are a peripheral arthritis […] and spondyloarthritis.”)
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
Whipple’s disease. (“Although rare, consider Whipple’s disease in any patient presenting with malabsorption, weight loss and arthritis.”)
Wegener’s granulomatosis. (“Small-vessel vasculitis may cause a pulmonary-renal syndrome. […] The classic triad of Weneger’s granulomatosis is the presence of upper and lower respiratory tract disease and renal impairment.”)
Reactive arthritis. Reiter’s syndrome. (“Consider reactive arthritis in any patient presenting with a monoarthropathy. […] Reactive arthritis is generally benign, with up to 80 per cent making a full recovery.”)
Sarcoidosis. Löfgren syndrome.
Polyarteritis nodosa. (“Consider mesenteric ischaemia in any patient presenting with a systemic illness and postprandial abdominal pain.”)
Sjögren syndrome. Schirmer’s test.
Behçet syndrome.
Lyme disease. Erythema chronicum migrans. (“The combination of rash leading to arthralgia and cranial neuropathy is a classic presentation of Lyme disease.”)
Takayasu arteritis. (“Takayasu’s arteritis is an occlusive vasculitis leading to stenoses of the aorta and its principal branches. The symptoms and signs of the disease depend on the distribution of the affected vessel but upper limbs are generally affected more commonly than the iliac tributaries. […] the disease is a chronic relapsing and remitting condition […] The mainstay of treatment is high-dose corticosteroids plus a steroid-sparing agent such as methotrexate. […] Cyclophosphamide is reserved for those patients who do not achieve remission with standard therapy. Surgical intervention such as bypass or angioplasty may improve ischaemic symptoms once the inflammation is under control.”)
Lymphoma.
Haemarthrosis. (“Consider synovial tumours in a patient with unexplained haemarthrosis.”)
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Drug-induced lupus erythematosus. (“Drug-induced lupus (DIL) generates a different spectrum of clinical manifestations from idiopathic disease. DIL is less severe than idiopathic SLE, and nephritis or central nervous system involvement is very rare. […] The most common drugs responsible for a lupus-like syndrome are procainamide, hydralazine, quinidine, isoniazid, methyldopa, chlorpromazine and minocycline. […] Treatment involves stopping the offending medication and the symptoms will gradually resolve.”)
Churg–Strauss syndrome.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Books, Cancer/oncology, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Immunology, Medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Reevaluating the Evidence for Blood Pressure Targets in Type 2 Diabetes.

“There is general consensus that treating adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension to a target blood pressure (BP) of <140/90 mmHg helps prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Whether more intensive BP control should be routinely targeted remains a matter of debate. While the American Diabetes Association (ADA) BP guidelines recommend an individualized assessment to consider different treatment goals, the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association BP guidelines recommend a BP target of <130/80 mmHg for most individuals with hypertension, including those with T2DM (13).

In large part, these discrepant recommendations reflect the divergent results of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes-BP trial (ACCORD-BP) among people with T2DM and the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), which excluded people with diabetes (4,5). Both trials evaluated the effect of intensive compared with standard BP treatment targets (<120 vs. <140 mmHg systolic) on a composite CVD end point of nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke or death from cardiovascular causes. SPRINT also included unstable angina and acute heart failure in its composite end point. While ACCORD-BP did not show a significant benefit from the intervention (hazard ratio [HR] 0.88; 95% CI 0.73–1.06), SPRINT found a significant 25% relative risk reduction on the primary end point favoring intensive therapy (0.75; 0.64–0.89).”

“To some extent, CVD mechanisms and causes of death differ in T2DM patients compared with the general population. Microvascular disease (particularly kidney disease), accelerated vascular calcification, and diabetic cardiomyopathy are common in T2DM (1315). Moreover, the rate of sudden cardiac arrest is markedly increased in T2DM and related, in part, to diabetes-specific factors other than ischemic heart disease (16). Hypoglycemia is a potential cause of CVD mortality that is specific to diabetes (17). In addition, polypharmacy is common and may increase CVD risk (18). Furthermore, nonvascular causes of death account for approximately 40% of the premature mortality burden experienced by T2DM patients (19). Whether these disease processes may render patients with T2DM less amenable to derive a mortality benefit from intensive BP control, however, is not known and should be the focus of future research.

In conclusion, the divergent results between ACCORD-BP and SPRINT are most readily explained by the apparent lack of benefit of intensive BP control on CVD and all-cause mortality in ACCORD-BP, rather than differences in the design, population characteristics, or interventions between the trials. This difference in effects on mortality may be attributable to differential mechanisms underlying CVD mortality in T2DM, to chance, or to both. These observations suggest that caution should be exercised extrapolating the results of SPRINT to patients with T2DM and support current ADA recommendations to individualize BP targets, targeting a BP of <140/90 mmHg in the majority of patients with T2DM and considering lower BP targets when it is anticipated that individual benefits outweigh risks.”

ii. Modelling incremental benefits on complications rates when targeting lower HbA1c levels in people with Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“Glucose‐lowering interventions in Type 2 diabetes mellitus have demonstrated reductions in microvascular complications and modest reductions in macrovascular complications. However, the degree to which targeting different HbA1c reductions might reduce risk is unclear. […] Participant‐level data for Trial Evaluating Cardiovascular Outcomes with Sitagliptin (TECOS) participants with established cardiovascular disease were used in a Type 2 diabetes‐specific simulation model to quantify the likely impact of different HbA1c decrements on complication rates. […] The use of the TECOS data limits our findings to people with Type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease. […] Ten‐year micro‐ and macrovascular rates were estimated with HbA1c levels fixed at 86, 75, 64, 53 and 42 mmol/mol (10%, 9%, 8%, 7% and 6%) while holding other risk factors constant at their baseline levels. Cumulative relative risk reductions for each outcome were derived for each HbA1c decrement. […] Of 5717 participants studied, 72.0% were men and 74.2% White European, with a mean (sd) age of 66.2 (7.9) years, systolic blood pressure 134 (16.9) mmHg, LDL‐cholesterol 2.3 (0.9) mmol/l, HDL‐cholesterol 1.13 (0.3) mmol/l and median Type 2 diabetes duration 9.6 (5.1–15.6) years. Ten‐year cumulative relative risk reductions for modelled HbA1c values of 75, 64, 53 and 42 mmol/mol, relative to 86 mmol/mol, were 4.6%, 9.3%, 15.1% and 20.2% for myocardial infarction; 6.0%, 12.8%, 19.6% and 25.8% for stroke; 14.4%, 26.6%, 37.1% and 46.4% for diabetes‐related ulcer; 21.5%, 39.0%, 52.3% and 63.1% for amputation; and 13.6%, 25.4%, 36.0% and 44.7 for single‐eye blindness. […] We did not investigate outcomes for renal failure or chronic heart failure as previous research conducted to create the model did not find HbA1c to be a statistically significant independent risk factor for either condition, therefore no clinically meaningful differences would be expected from modelling different HbA1c levels 11.”

“For microvascular complications, the absolute median estimates tended to be lower than for macrovascular complications at the same HbA1c level, but cumulative relative risk reductions were greater. For amputation the 10‐year absolute median estimate for a modelled constant HbA1c of 86 mmol/mol (10%) was 3.8% (3.7, 3.9), with successively lower values for each modelled 1% HbA1c decrement. Compared with the 86 mmol/mol (10%) HbA1c level, median relative risk reductions for amputation were 21.5% (21.1, 21.9) at 75 mmol/mol (9%) increasing to 52.3% (52.0, 52.6) at 53 mmol/mol (7%). […] Relative risk reductions in micro‐ and macrovascular complications for each 1% HbA1c reduction were similar for each decrement. The exception was all‐cause mortality, where the relative risk reductions for 1% HbA1c decrements were greater at higher baseline HbA1c levels. These simulated outcomes differ from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial outcome in people with Type 1 diabetes, where lowering HbA1c from higher baseline levels had a greater impact on microvascular risk reduction 18.”

iii. Laser photocoagulation for proliferative diabetic retinopathy (Cochrane review).

“Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes in which high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina. Sometimes new blood vessels grow in the retina, and these can have harmful effects; this is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Laserphotocoagulation is an intervention that is commonly used to treat diabetic retinopathy, in which light energy is applied to the retinawith the aim of stopping the growth and development of new blood vessels, and thereby preserving vision. […] The aim of laser photocoagulation is to slow down the growth of new blood vessels in the retina and thereby prevent the progression of visual loss (Ockrim 2010). Focal laser photocoagulation uses the heat of light to seal or destroy abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Individual vessels are treated with a small number of laser burns.

PRP [panretinal photocoagulation, US] aims to slow down the growth of new blood vessels in a wider area of the retina. Many hundreds of laser burns are placed on the peripheral parts of the retina to stop blood vessels from growing (RCOphth 2012). It is thought that the anatomic and functional changes that result from photocoagulation may improve the oxygen supply to the retina, and so reduce the stimulus for neovascularisation (Stefansson 2001). Again the exact mechanisms are unclear, but it is possible that the decreased area of retinal tissue leads to improved oxygenation and a reduction in the levels of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor. A reduction in levels of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor may be important in reducing the risk of harmful new vessels forming. […] Laser photocoagulation is a well-established common treatment for DR and there are many different potential strategies for delivery of laser treatment that are likely to have different effects. A systematic review of the evidence for laser photocoagulation will provide important information on benefits and harms to guide treatment choices. […] This is the first in a series of planned reviews on laser photocoagulation. Future reviews will compare different photocoagulation techniques.”

“We identified a large number of trials of laser photocoagulation of diabetic retinopathy (n = 83) but only five of these studies were eligible for inclusion in the review, i.e. they compared laser photocoagulation with currently available lasers to no (or deferred) treatment. Three studies were conducted in the USA, one study in the UK and one study in Japan. A total of 4786 people (9503 eyes) were included in these studies. The majority of participants in four of these trials were people with proliferative diabetic retinopathy; one trial recruited mainly people with non-proliferative retinopathy.”

“At 12 months there was little difference between eyes that received laser photocoagulation and those allocated to no treatment (or deferred treatment), in terms of loss of 15 or more letters of visual acuity (risk ratio (RR) 0.99, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.89 to1.11; 8926 eyes; 2 RCTs, low quality evidence). Longer term follow-up did not show a consistent pattern, but one study found a 20% reduction in risk of loss of 15 or more letters of visual acuity at five years with laser treatment. Treatment with laser reduced the risk of severe visual loss by over 50% at 12 months (RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.24to 0.86; 9276 eyes; 4 RCTs, moderate quality evidence). There was a beneficial effect on progression of diabetic retinopathy with treated eyes experiencing a 50% reduction in risk of progression of diabetic retinopathy (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.64; 8331 eyes; 4 RCTs, low quality evidence) and a similar reduction in risk of vitreous haemorrhage (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.85; 224 eyes; 2RCTs, low quality evidence).”

“Overall there is not a large amount of evidence from RCTs on the effects of laser photocoagulation compared to no treatment or deferred treatment. The evidence is dominated by two large studies conducted in the US population (DRS 1978; ETDRS 1991). These two studies were generally judged to be at low or unclear risk of bias, with the exception of inevitable unmasking of patients due to differences between intervention and control. […] In current clinical guidelines, e.g. RCOphth 2012, PRP is recommended in high-risk PDR. The recommendation is that “as retinopathy approaches the proliferative stage, laser scatter treatment (PRP) should be increasingly considered to prevent progression to high risk PDR” based on other factors such as patients’ compliance or planned cataract surgery.

These recommendations need to be interpreted while considering the risk of visual loss associated with different levels of severity of DR, as well as the risk of progression. Since PRP reduces the risk of severe visual loss, but not moderate visual loss that is more related to diabetic maculopathy, most ophthalmologists judge that there is little benefit in treating non-proliferative DR at low risk of severe visual damage, as patients would incur the known adverse effects of PRP, which, although mild, include pain and peripheral visual field loss and transient DMO [diabetic macular oedema, US]. […] This review provides evidence that laser photocoagulation is beneficial in treating diabetic retinopathy. […] based on the baseline risk of progression of the disease, and risk of visual loss, the current approach of caution in treating non-proliferative DR with laser would appear to be justified.

By current standards the quality of the evidence is not high, however, the effects on risk of progression and risk of severe visual loss are reasonably large (50% relative risk reduction).”

iv. Immune Recognition of β-Cells: Neoepitopes as Key Players in the Loss of Tolerance.

I should probably warn beforehand that this one is rather technical. It relates reasonably closely to topics covered in the molecular biology book I recently covered here on the blog, and if I had not read that book quite recently I almost certainly would not have been able to read the paper – so the coverage below is more ‘for me’ than ‘for you’. Anyway, some quotes:

“Prior to the onset of type 1 diabetes, there is progressive loss of immune self-tolerance, evidenced by the accumulation of islet autoantibodies and emergence of autoreactive T cells. Continued autoimmune activity leads to the destruction of pancreatic β-cells and loss of insulin secretion. Studies of samples from patients with type 1 diabetes and of murine disease models have generated important insights about genetic and environmental factors that contribute to susceptibility and immune pathways that are important for pathogenesis. However, important unanswered questions remain regarding the events that surround the initial loss of tolerance and subsequent failure of regulatory mechanisms to arrest autoimmunity and preserve functional β-cells. In this Perspective, we discuss various processes that lead to the generation of neoepitopes in pancreatic β-cells, their recognition by autoreactive T cells and antibodies, and potential roles for such responses in the pathology of disease. Emerging evidence supports the relevance of neoepitopes generated through processes that are mechanistically linked with β-cell stress. Together, these observations support a paradigm in which neoepitope generation leads to the activation of pathogenic immune cells that initiate a feed-forward loop that can amplify the antigenic repertoire toward pancreatic β-cell proteins.”

“Enzymatic posttranslational processes that have been implicated in neoepitope generation include acetylation (10), citrullination (11), glycosylation (12), hydroxylation (13), methylation (either protein or DNA methylation) (14), phosphorylation (15), and transglutamination (16). Among these, citrullination and transglutamination are most clearly implicated as processes that generate neoantigens in human disease, but evidence suggests that others also play a role in neoepitope formation […] Citrulline, which is among the most studied PTMs in the context of autoimmunity, is a diagnostic biomarker of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). […] Anticitrulline antibodies are among the earliest immune responses that are diagnostic of RA and often correlate with disease severity (18). We have recently documented the biological consequences of citrulline modifications and autoimmunity that arise from pancreatic β-cell proteins in the development of T1D (19). In particular, citrullinated GAD65 and glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) elicit antibody and T-cell responses in human T1D and in NOD diabetes, respectively (20,21).”

Carbonylation is an irreversible, iron-catalyzed oxidative modification of the side chains of lysine, arginine, threonine, or proline. Mitochondrial functions are particularly sensitive to carbonyl modification, which also has detrimental effects on other intracellular enzymatic pathways (30). A number of diseases have been linked with altered carbonylation of self-proteins, including Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases and cancer (27). There is some data to support that carbonyl PTM is a mechanism that directs unstable self-proteins into cellular degradation pathways. It is hypothesized that carbonyl PTM [post-translational modification] self-proteins that fail to be properly degraded in pancreatic β-cells are autoantigens that are targeted in T1D. Recently submitted studies have identified several carbonylated pancreatic β-cell neoantigens in human and murine models of T1D (27). Among these neoantigens are chaperone proteins that are required for the appropriate folding and secretion of insulin. These studies imply that although some PTM self-proteins may be direct targets of autoimmunity, others may alter, interrupt, or disturb downstream metabolic pathways in the β-cell. In particular, these studies indicated that upstream PTMs resulted in misfolding and/or metabolic disruption between proinsulin and insulin production, which provides one explanation for recent observations of increased proinsulin-to-insulin ratios in the progression of T1D (31).”

“Significant hypomethylation of DNA has been linked with several classic autoimmune diseases, such as SLE, multiple sclerosis, RA, Addison disease, Graves disease, and mixed connective tissue disease (36). Therefore, there is rationale to consider the possible influence of epigenetic changes on protein expression and immune recognition in T1D. Relevant to T1D, epigenetic modifications occur in pancreatic β-cells during progression of diabetes in NOD mice (37). […] Consequently, DNMTs [DNA methyltransferases] and protein arginine methyltransferases are likely to play a role in the regulation of β-cell differentiation and insulin gene expression, both of which are pathways that are altered in the presence of inflammatory cytokines. […] Eizirik et al. (38) reported that exposure of human islets to proinflammatory cytokines leads to modulation of transcript levels and increases in alternative splicing for a number of putative candidate genes for T1D. Their findings suggest a mechanism through which alternative splicing may lead to the generation of neoantigens and subsequent presentation of novel β-cell epitopes (39).”

“The phenomenon of neoepitope recognition by autoantibodies has been shown to be relevant in a variety of autoimmune diseases. For example, in RA, antibody responses directed against various citrullinated synovial proteins are remarkably disease-specific and routinely used as a diagnostic test in the clinic (18). Appearance of the first anticitrullinated protein antibodies occurs years prior to disease onset, and accumulation of additional autoantibody specificities correlates closely with the imminent onset of clinical arthritis (44). There is analogous evidence supporting a hierarchical emergence of autoantibody specificities and multiple waves of autoimmune damage in T1D (3,45). Substantial data from longitudinal studies indicate that insulin and GAD65 autoantibodies appear at the earliest time points during progression, followed by additional antibody specificities directed at IA-2 and ZnT8.”

“Multiple autoimmune diseases often cluster within families (or even within one person), implying shared etiology. Consequently, relevant insights can be gleaned from studies of more traditional autoantibody-mediated systemic autoimmune diseases, such as SLE and RA, where inter- and intramolecular epitope spreading are clearly paradigms for disease progression (47). In general, early autoimmunity is marked by restricted B- and T-cell epitopes, followed by an expanded repertoire coinciding with the onset of more significant tissue pathology […] Akin to T1D, other autoimmune syndromes tend to cluster to subcellular tissues or tissue components that share biological or biochemical properties. For example, SLE is marked by autoimmunity to nucleic acid–bearing macromolecules […] Unlike other systemic autoantibody-mediated diseases, such as RA and SLE, there is no clear evidence that T1D-related autoantibodies play a pathogenic role. Autoantibodies against citrulline-containing neoepitopes of proteoglycan are thought to trigger or intensify arthritis by forming immune complexes with this autoantigen in the joints of RA patients with anticitrullinated protein antibodies. In a similar manner, autoantibodies and immune complexes are hallmarks of tissue pathology in SLE. Therefore, it remains likely that autoantibodies or the B cells that produce them contribute to the pathogenesis of T1D.”

“In summation, the existing literature demonstrates that oxidation, citrullination, and deamidation can have a direct impact on T-cell recognition that contributes to loss of tolerance.”

“There is a general consensus that the pathogenesis of T1D is initiated when individuals who possess a high level of genetic risk (e.g., susceptible HLA, insulin VNTR, PTPN22 genotypes) are exposed to environmental factors (e.g., enteroviruses, diet, microbiome) that precipitate a loss of tolerance that manifests through the appearance of insulin and/or GAD autoantibodies. This early autoimmunity is followed by epitope spreading, increasing both the number of antigenic targets and the diversity of epitopes within these targets. These processes create a feed-forward loop antigen release that induces increasing inflammation and increasing numbers of distinct T-cell specificities (64). The formation and recognition of neoepitopes represents one mechanism through which epitope spreading can occur. […] mechanisms related to neoepitope formation and recognition can be envisioned at multiple stages of T1D pathogenesis. At the level of genetic risk, susceptible individuals may exhibit a genetically driven impairment of their stress response, increasing the likelihood of neoepitope formation. At the level of environmental exposure, many of the insults that are thought to initiate T1D are known to cause neoepitope formation. During the window of β-cell destruction that encompasses early autoimmunity through dysglycemia and diagnosis of T1D it remains unclear when neoepitope responses appear in relation to “classic” responses to insulin and GAD65. However, by the time of onset, neoepitope responses are clearly present and remain as part of the ongoing autoimmunity that is present during established T1D. […] The ultimate product of both direct and indirect generation of neoepitopes is an accumulation of robust and diverse autoimmune B- and T-cell responses, accelerating the pathological destruction of pancreatic islets. Clearly, the emergence of sophisticated methods of tissue and single-cell proteomics will identify novel neoepitopes, including some that occur at near the earliest stages of disease. A detailed mechanistic understanding of the pathways that lead to specific classes of neoepitopes will certainly suggest targets of therapeutic manipulation and intervention that would be hoped to impede the progression of disease.”

v. Diabetes technology: improving care, improving patient‐reported outcomes and preventing complications in young people with Type 1 diabetes.

“With the evolution of diabetes technology, those living with Type 1 diabetes are given a wider arsenal of tools with which to achieve glycaemic control and improve patient‐reported outcomes. Furthermore, the use of these technologies may help reduce the risk of acute complications, such as severe hypoglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis, as well as long‐term macro‐ and microvascular complications. […] Unfortunately, diabetes goals are often unmet and people with Type 1 diabetes too frequently experience acute and long‐term complications of this condition, in addition to often having less than ideal psychosocial outcomes. Increasing realization of the importance of patient‐reported outcomes is leading to diabetes care delivery becoming more patient‐centred. […] Optimal diabetes management requires both the medical and psychosocial needs of people with Type 1 diabetes and their caregivers to be addressed. […] The aim of this paper was to demonstrate how, by incorporating technology into diabetes care, we can increase patient‐centered care, reduce acute and chronic diabetes complications, and improve clinical outcomes and quality of life.”

[The paper’s Table 2 on page 422 of the pdf-version is awesome, it includes a lot of different Hba1c estimates from various patient populations all across the world. The numbers included in the table are slightly less awesome, as most populations only achieve suboptimal metabolic control.]

“The risks of all forms of complications increase with higher HbA1c concentration, increasing diabetes duration, hypertension, presence of other microvascular complications, obesity, insulin resistance, hyperlipidaemia and smoking 6. Furthermore, the Diabetes Research in Children (DirecNet) study has shown that individuals with Type 1 diabetes have white matter differences in the brain and cognitive differences compared with individuals without Type 1 diabetes. These studies showed that the degree of structural differences in the brain were related to the degree of chronic hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia and glucose variability 7. […] In addition to long‐term complications, people with Type 1 diabetes are also at risk of acute complications. Severe hypoglycaemia, a hypoglycaemic event resulting in altered/loss of consciousness or seizures, is a serious complication of insulin therapy. If unnoticed and untreated, severe hypoglycaemia can result in death. […] The incidence of diabetic ketoacidosis, a life‐threatening consequence of diabetes, remains unacceptably high in children with established diabetes (Table 5). The annual incidence of ketoacidosis was 5% in the Prospective Diabetes Follow‐Up Registry (DPV) in Germany and Austria, 6.4% in the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit (NPDA), and 7.1% in the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange (T1DX) registry 10. Psychosocial factors including female gender, non‐white race, lower socio‐economic status, and elevated HbA1c all contribute to increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis 11.”

“Depression is more common in young people with Type 1 diabetes than in young people without a chronic disease […] Depression can make it more difficult to engage in diabetes self‐management behaviours, and as a result, contributes to suboptimal glycaemic control and lower rates of self‐monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) in young people with Type 1 diabetes 15. […] Unlike depression, diabetes distress is not a clinical diagnosis but rather emotional distress that comes from the burden of living with and managing diabetes 16. A recent systematic review found that roughly one‐third of young people with Type 1 diabetes (age 10–20 years) have some level of diabetes distress and that diabetes distress was consistently associated with higher HbA1c and worse self‐management 17. […] Eating and weight‐related comorbidities also exist for individuals with Type 1 diabetes. There is a higher incidence of obesity in individuals with Type 1 diabetes on intensive insulin therapy. […] Adolescent girls and young adult women with Type 1 diabetes are more likely to omit insulin for weight loss and have disordered eating habits 20.”

“In addition to screening for and treating depression and diabetes distress to improve overall diabetes management, it is equally important to assess quality of life as well as positive coping factors that may also influence self‐management and well‐being. For example, lower scores on the PROMIS® measure of global health, which assesses social relationships as well as physical and mental well‐being, have been linked to higher depression scores and less frequent blood glucose checks 13. Furthermore, coping strategies such as problem‐solving, emotional expression, and acceptance have been linked to lower HbA1c and enhanced quality of life 21.”

“Self‐monitoring of blood glucose via multiple finger sticks for capillary blood samples per day has been the ‘gold standard’ for glucose monitoring, but SMBG only provides glucose measurements as snapshots in time. Still, the majority of young people with Type 1 diabetes use SMBG as their main method to assess glycaemia. Data from the T1DX registry suggest that an increased frequency of SMBG is associated with lower HbA1c levels 23. The development of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) provides more values, along with the rate and direction of glucose changes. […] With continued use, CGM has been shown to decrease the incidence of hypoglycaemia and HbA1c levels 26. […] Insulin can be administered via multiple daily injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (insulin pumps). Over the last 30 years, insulin pumps have become smaller with more features, making them a valuable alternative to multiple daily injections. Insulin pump use in various registries ranges from as low as 5.9% among paediatric patients in the New Zealand national register 28 to as high as 74% in the German/Austrian DPV in children aged <6 years (Table 2) 29. Recent data suggest that consistent use of insulin pumps can result in improved HbA1c values and decreased incidence of severe hypoglycaemia 30, 31. Insulin pumps have been associated with improved quality of life 32. The data on insulin pumps and diabetic ketoacidosis are less clear.”

“The majority of Type 1 diabetes management is carried out outside the clinical setting and in individuals’ daily lives. People with Type 1 diabetes must make complex treatment decisions multiple times daily; thus, diabetes self‐management skills are central to optimal diabetes management. Unfortunately, many people with Type 1 diabetes and their caregivers are not sufficiently familiar with the necessary diabetes self‐management skills. […] Parents are often the first who learn these skills. As children become older, they start receiving more independence over their diabetes care; however, the transition of responsibilities from caregiver to child is often unstructured and haphazard. It is important to ensure that both individuals with diabetes and their caregivers have adequate self‐management skills throughout the diabetes journey.”

“In the developed world (nations with the highest gross domestic product), 87% of the population has access to the internet and 68% report using a smartphone 39. Even in developing countries, 54% of people use the internet and 37% own smartphones 39. In many areas, smartphones are the primary source of internet access and are readily available. […] There are >1000 apps for diabetes on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. Many of these apps have focused on nutrition, blood glucose logging, and insulin dosing. Given the prevalence of smartphones and the interest in having diabetes apps handy, there is the potential for using a smartphone to deliver education and decision support tools. […] The new psychosocial position statement from the ADA recommends routine psychosocial screening in clinic. These recommendations include screening for: 1) depressive symptoms annually, at diagnosis, or with changes in medical status; 2) anxiety and worry about hypoglycaemia, complications and other diabetes‐specific worries; 3) disordered eating and insulin omission for purposes of weight control; 4) and diabetes distress in children as young as 7 or 8 years old 16. Implementation of in‐clinic screening for depression in young people with Type 1 diabetes has already been shown to be feasible, acceptable and able to identify individuals in need of treatment who may otherwise have gone unnoticed for a longer period of time which would have been having a detrimental impact on physical health and quality of life 13, 40. These programmes typically use tablets […] to administer surveys to streamline the screening process and automatically score measures 13, 40. This automation allows psychologists and social workers to focus on care delivery rather than screening. In addition to depression screening, automated tablet‐based screening for parental depression, distress and anxiety; problem‐solving skills; and resilience/positive coping factors can help the care team understand other psychosocial barriers to care. This approach allows the development of patient‐ and caregiver‐centred interventions to improve these barriers, thereby improving clinical outcomes and complication rates.”

“With the advent of electronic health records, registries and downloadable medical devices, people with Type 1 diabetes have troves of data that can be analysed to provide insights on an individual and population level. Big data analytics for diabetes are still in the early stages, but present great potential for improving diabetes care. IBM Watson Health has partnered with Medtronic to deliver personalized insights to individuals with diabetes based on device data 48. Numerous other systems […] allow people with Type 1 diabetes to access their data, share their data with the healthcare team, and share de‐identified data with the research community. Data analysis and insights such as this can form the basis for the delivery of personalized digital health coaching. For example, historical patterns can be analysed to predict activity and lead to pro‐active insulin adjustment to prevent hypoglycaemia. […] Improvements to diabetes care delivery can occur at both the population level and at the individual level using insights from big data analytics.”

vi. Route to improving Type 1 diabetes mellitus glycaemic outcomes: real‐world evidence taken from the National Diabetes Audit.

“While control of blood glucose levels reduces the risk of diabetes complications, it can be very difficult for people to achieve. There has been no significant improvement in average glycaemic control among people with Type 1 diabetes for at least the last 10 years in many European countries 6.

The National Diabetes Audit (NDA) in England and Wales has shown relatively little change in the levels of HbA1c being achieved in people with Type 1 diabetes over the last 10 years, with >70% of HbA1c results each year being >58 mmol/mol (7.5%) 7.

Data for general practices in England are published by the NDA. NHS Digital publishes annual prescribing data, including British National Formulary (BNF) codes 7, 8. Together, these data provide an opportunity to investigate whether there are systematic associations between HbA1c levels in people with Type 1 diabetes and practice‐level population characteristics, diabetes service levels and use of medication.”

“The Quality and Outcomes Framework (a payment system for general practice performance) provided a baseline list of all general practices in England for each year, the practice list size and number of people (both with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes) on their diabetes register. General practice‐level data of participating practices were taken from the NDA 2013–2014, 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 (5455 practices in the last year). They include Type 1 diabetes population characteristics, routine review checks and the proportions of people achieving target glycaemic control and/or being at higher glycaemic risk.

Diabetes medication data for all people with diabetes were taken from the general practice prescribing in primary care data for 2013–2014, 2014–2015 and 2015–2016, including insulin and blood glucose monitoring (BGM) […] A total of 20 indicators were created that covered the epidemiological, service, medication, technological, costs and outcomes performance for each practice and year. The variance in these indicators over the 4‐year period and among general practices was also considered. […] The values of the indicators found to be in the 90th percentile were used to quantify the potential of highest performing general practices. […] In total 13 085 practice‐years of data were analysed, covering 437 000 patient‐years of management.”

“There was significant variation among the participating general practices (Fig. 3) in the proportion of people achieving target glycaemic control target [percentage of people with HbA1c ≤58 mmol/mol (7.5%)] and in the proportion at high glycaemic risk [percentage of people with HbA1c >86 mmol/mol (10%)]. […] Our analysis showed that, at general practice level, the median target glycaemic control attainment was 30%, while the 10th percentile was 16%, and the 90th percentile was 45%. The corresponding median for the high glycaemic risk percentage was 16%, while the 10th percentile (corresponding to the best performing practices) was 6% and the 90th percentile (greatest proportion of Type 1 diabetes at high glycaemic risk) was 28%. Practices in the deciles for both lowest target glycaemic control and highest high glycaemic risk had 49% of the results in the 58–86 mmol/mol range. […] A very wide variation was found in the percentage of insulin for presumed pump use (deduced from prescriptions of fast‐acting vial insulin), with a median of 3.8% at general practice level. The 10th percentile was 0% and the 90th percentile was 255% of the median inferred pump usage.”

“[O]ur findings suggest that if all practices optimized service and therapies to the levels achieved by the top decile then 16 100 (7%) more people with Type 1 diabetes would achieve the glycaemic control target of 58 mmol/mol (7.5%) and 11 500 (5%) fewer people would have HbA1c >86 mmol/mol (10%). Put another way, if the results for all practices were at the top decile level, 36% vs 29% of people with Type 1 diabetes would achieve the glycaemic control target of HbA1c ≤ 58 mmol/mol (7.5%), and as few as 10% could have HbA1c levels > 86 mmol/mol (10%) compared with 15% currently (Fig. 6). This has significant implications for the potential to improve the longer‐term outcomes of people with Type 1 diabetes, given the close link between glycaemia and complications in such individuals 5, 10, 11.”

“We found that the significant variation among the participating general practices (Fig. 2) in terms of the proportion of people with HbA1c ≤58 mmol/mol (7.5%) was only partially related to a lower proportion of people with HbA1c >86 mmol/mol (10%). There was only a weak relationship between level of target glycaemia achieved and avoidance of very suboptimal glycaemia. The overall r2 value was 0.6. This suggests that there is a degree of independence between these outcomes, so that success factors at a general practice level differ for people achieving optimal glycaemia vs those factors affecting avoiding a level of at risk glycaemia.”

May 30, 2018 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Genetics, Immunology, Medicine, Molecular biology, Ophthalmology, Studies | Leave a comment

100 cases in emergency medicine and critical care (II)

In this post I’ve added some links to topics covered in the second half of the book, as well as some quotes.

Flexor tenosynovitis. Kanavel’s cardinal signs.
Pelvic Fracture in Emergency Medicine. (“Pelvic injuries may be associated with significant haemorrhage. […] The definitive management of pelvic fractures is surgical.”)
Femur fracture. Girdlestone-Taylor procedure. (“A fall from standing can result in occult cervical spine fractures. If there is any doubt, then the patient should be immobilized and imaged to exclude injury.”)
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury. Anterior drawer test. Segond fracture. (“[R]upture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) […] is often seen in younger patients and is associated with high-energy sports such as skiing, football or cycling. […] Take a careful history of all knee injuries including the mechanism of injury and the timing of swelling.”)
Tibial plateau fracture. Schatzker classification of tibial plateau fractures. (“When assessing the older patient with minor trauma resulting in fracture, always investigate the possibility that this may be a pathological fracture (e.g. osteoporosis, malignancy.”))
Ankle Fracture. Maisonneuve fracture.
Acute cholecystitis. Murphy’s sign. Mirizzi syndrome. (“Most patients with gallstones are asymptomatic. However, complications of gallstones range from biliary colic, whereby gallstones irritate or temporarily block the biliary tract, to acute cholecystitis, which is an infection of the gallbladder sometimes due to obstruction of the cystic duct. Gallstones can also become trapped in the common bile duct (choledocholithiasis) causing jaundice and potential ascending cholangitis, which refers to infection of the biliary tree. Ascending cholangitis classically presents with Charcot’s triad of fever, right upper quadrant (RUQ) pain and jaundice. It can be life-threatening. […] Acute cholecystitis requires antibiotic therapy and admission under general surgery, who should decide whether to perform a ‘hot’ emergency cholecystectomy within 24-72 hours of admission. This shortens the hospital stay but can be associated with more surgical complications.”)
Small-Bowel Obstruction. (“SBO is defined as a mechanical obstruction to the passage of contents in the bowel lumen. There can be complete or incomplete obstruction. […] There are many causes of SBO. […] The commonest cause of SBO worldwide is incarcerated herniae, whereas the commonest cause in the Western world is adhesion secondary to previous abdominal surgery. […] A strangulated hernia is […] a surgical emergency associated with a high mortality.”)
Pneumothorax. Flail chest.
Perforated peptic ulcer. (“Immediate onset pain usually signifies a rupture or occlusion of an organ, whereas more insidious onset tends to be infective or inflammatory in origin.” […] A perforated peptic ulcer is a surgical emergency that presents with upper abdominal pain, decreased or absent bowel sounds and signs of septic shock.”)
Diverticulitis.
Acute appendicitisMcBurney’s point. Rovsing’s sign. Psoas signObturator sign. (“The lifetime risk of developing appendicitis is 5-10%, and it is the commonest cause of emergency abdominal surgery in the Western world. […] in appendicitis, pain classically precedes vomiting, whereas the opposite occurs in gastroenteritis. […] Appendicitis is the commonest general surgical emergency in pregnant women and may have an atypical presentation with pain anywhere in the right side of the abdomen […] It is estimated that 25% of appendicitis will perforate 24 hours from the onset of symptoms, and 75% by 48 hours.”)
Abdominal aortic aneurysm. (“A ruptured AAA is a surgical emergency with 100% mortality if not immediately repaired. It classically presents with abdominal pain, pulsatile abdominal mass and hypotension. It should be ruled out in all patients over 65 years of age presenting with abdominal, loin or groin pain, especially if they have risk factors including smoking, hypertension, COPD or peripheral vascular disease. […] Do not be lured into a diagnosis of renal colic in an older patient, without definitive imaging to rule out an AAA rupture.”)
Nephrolithiasis. (“up to 30% of patients with kidney stones have a recurrence within 5 years”)
Acute Otitis Media. Mastoiditis. Bezold’s abscess.
Malignant otitis externa. (“Despite the term ‘malignant’, this is not a cancerous process. Rather, it refers to temporal bone (skull base) osteomyelitis. This is an ENT emergency associated with serious morbidity and mortality including cranial nerve palsies. […] The defining features of MOE are severe otalgia, often exceeding oral analgesics, in the older diabetic patient. Other symptoms such as hearing loss, otorrhoea, vertigo and tinnitus may also be present”)
Post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage. (Post-tonsillectomy bleeding (PTB) is a common but potentially serious complication occurring in around 5%-10% of patients undergoing tonsillectomy. The majority are self-limiting but around 1% require a return to theatre to stop the bleeding. All patients must be assessed immediately and admitted for observation as a self-limiting bleed can preclude a larger bleed within 24 hours. […] [PTB] should be treated as an airway emergency due to the possibility of obstruction.”)
Acute rhinosinusitis. (“Periorbital cellulitis is a potentially sight-threatening emergency. It is often precipitated by an upper respiratory tract infection, rhinosinusitis or local trauma (injury, insect bite).”)
Corneal Foreign Body. Seidel test. (“Pain with photosensitivity, watery discharge and foreign body sensation are cardinal features of corneal irritation. […] Abnormal pupil shape, iris defect and shallow anterior chamber are red flags for possible ocular perforation or penetrating ocular injury. […] Most conjunctival foreign bodies can be removed by simply irrigating the eye […] Removing a corneal foreign body […] requires more skill and an experienced operator should be sought. […] Iron, steel, copper and wood are known to cause severe ocular reactions”)
Acanthamoeba Keratitis. Bacterial Keratitis. Fungal keratitis. (“In patients with red eyes, reduced vision with severe to moderate pain should be prompted to an early ophthalmology review. Pre-existing ocular surface disease and contact lens wear are high risk factors for microbial keratitis.”)
Globe ruptureAcute orbital compartment syndromeLateral Canthotomy and Cantholysis. (Thirty percent of all facial fractures involve the orbit […] In open globe injuries with visible penetrating objects, it may be tempting to remove the object; however, avoid this as it may cause the globe to collapse.”)
Mandibular fracture. Guardsman fracture. (“Jaw pain, altered bite, numbness of lower lip, trismus or difficulty moving the jaw are the cardinal symptoms of possible mandibular fracture or dislocation.”)
Bronchiolitis. (“This is an acute respiratory condition, resulting in inflammation of the bronchioles. […] Bronchiolitis occurs in children under 2 years of age and most commonly presents in infants aged 3 to 6 months. […] Around 3% of all infants under 1 year old are admitted to hospital with bronchiolitis. […] Not all patients require hospital admission.”)
Fever of Unknown Origin. (“Fever is a very common presentation in the Emergency Department, and in the immunocompetent child is usually caused by a simple infection […] it is important to look for concerning features. Tachycardia is a particular feature that should not be ignored […] red-flag signs for serious illness [include:] • Grunting, tachypneoa or other signs of respiratory distress • Mottled, pale skin with cool peripheries […] Irritability […] not responding to social cues • Difficulty to rouse […] Consider Kawasaki disease in fever lasting more than 5 days.”)
Pediatric gastroenteritis. Rotavirus.
Acute Pyelonephritis. (“Female infants have a two- to-fourfold higher prevalence of UTI than male infants”)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. (“Reflux describes the passage of gastric contents into the oesophagus with or without regurgitation and vomiting. This is a very common, normal, physiological process and occurs in 5% of babies up to six times per day. GORD presents when reflux causes troublesome symptoms or complications. This has a prevalence of 10%– 20% […] No investigations are required in the Emergency Department if there is a suspicion of GORD; this is usually a clinical diagnosis alone.”)
Head injury. (“Head injuries are common in children […] Clinical features of concern in head injuries include multiple episodes of vomiting […] significant scalp haematoma, prolonged loss of consciousness, confusion and seizures.”)
Pertussis. (“In the twentieth century, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood mortality. Since use of the immunisation began, incidence has decreased more than 75%.”)
Hyperemesis gravidarum. ([HG] is defined as severe or long-lasting nausea and vomiting, appearing for the first time within the first trimester of pregnancy, and is so severe that weight loss, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance may occur. It affects less than 4% of pregnant women, although up to 80% of women suffer from some degree of nausea and vomiting throughout their pregnancy. […] Classically, patents present with a long history of nausea and vomiting that becomes progressively worse, despite treatment with simple antiemetics.”)
Ectopic pregnancy. (“Abdominal pain and collapse with a positive pregnancy test must be treated as a ruptured ectopic pregnancy until proven otherwise. […] In cases where the patient is stable and an intact ectopic is suspected, this is not an emergency and patients can be brought back the next day […] if seen out of hours”)
Recurrent miscarriage. Antiphospholipid syndrome. (“Bleeding in early pregnancy is common and does not necessarily lead to miscarriage.”)
Ovarian torsion. (“Torsion of the ovary and/ or fallopian tube account for between 2.4% and 7.4% of all gynaecological emergencies, and rapid intervention is required in order to preserve ovarian function. […] Ovarian torsion is unfortunately often misdiagnosed due to its non-specific symptoms and lack of diagnostic tools. […] Suspect ovarian torsion in women with severe sudden onset unilateral pelvic pain.”)
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Fitz-Hugh–Curtis syndrome.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. (“OHSS is an iatrogenic complication of fertility treatment with exogenous gonadotrophins to promote oocyte formation. Hyperstimulation of the ovaries leads to ovarian enlargement, and subsequent exposure to human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) causes production of proinflammatory mediators, primarily vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The effects of proinflammatory mediators lead to increased vascular permeability and a loss of fluid from intravascular to third space compartments. This gives rise to ascites, pleural effusions and in some cases pericardial effusions. Women with severe OHSS can typically lose up to 20% of their circulating volume in the acute phase […] OHSS patients are also at high risk of developing a thromboembolism […] In conventional IVF, around one-third of cycles are affected by mild OHSS. The combined incidence of moderate or severe OHSS is reported as between 3.1% and 8%.”)
Pulmonary embolism. (“The overall prevalence of PE in pregnancy is between 2% and 6%. Pregnancy increases the risk of developing a venous thromboembolism by four to five times, compared to non-pregnant women of the same age.”)
Postpartum psychosis.
Informed consent. Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines.
Duty of candour. Never events.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Books, Gastroenterology, Infectious disease, Medicine, Nephrology, Ophthalmology | Leave a comment

A few (more) diabetes papers of interest

Earlier this week I covered a couple of papers, but the second paper turned out to include a lot of interesting stuff so I decided to cut the post short and postpone my coverage of the other papers I’d intended to cover in that post until a later point in time; this post includes some of those other papers I’d intended to cover in that post.

i. TCF7L2 Genetic Variants Contribute to Phenotypic Heterogeneity of Type 1 Diabetes.

“Although the autoimmune destruction of β-cells has a major role in the development of type 1 diabetes, there is growing evidence that the differences in clinical, metabolic, immunologic, and genetic characteristics among patients (1) likely reflect diverse etiology and pathogenesis (2). Factors that govern this heterogeneity are poorly understood, yet these may have important implications for prognosis, therapy, and prevention.

The transcription factor 7 like 2 (TCF7L2) locus contains the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) most strongly associated with type 2 diabetes risk, with an ∼30% increase per risk allele (3). In a U.S. cohort, heterozygous and homozygous carriers of the at-risk alleles comprised 40.6% and 7.9%, respectively, of the control subjects and 44.3% and 18.3%, respectively, of the individuals with type 2 diabetes (3). The locus has no known association with type 1 diabetes overall (48), with conflicting reports in latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (816). […] Our studies in two separate cohorts have shown that the type 2 diabetes–associated TCF7L2 genetic variant is more frequent among specific subsets of individuals with autoimmune type 1 diabetes, specifically those with fewer markers of islet autoimmunity (22,23). These observations support a role of this genetic variant in the pathogenesis of diabetes at least in a subset of individuals with autoimmune diabetes. However, whether individuals with type 1 diabetes and this genetic variant have distinct metabolic abnormalities has not been investigated. We aimed to study the immunologic and metabolic characteristics of individuals with type 1 diabetes who carry a type 2 diabetes–associated allele of the TCF7L2 locus.”

“We studied 810 TrialNet participants with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes and found that among individuals 12 years and older, the type 2 diabetes–associated TCF7L2 genetic variant is more frequent in those presenting with a single autoantibody than in participants who had multiple autoantibodies. These TCF7L2 variants were also associated with higher mean C-peptide AUC and lower mean glucose AUC levels at the onset of type 1 diabetes. […] These findings suggest that, besides the well-known link with type 2 diabetes, the TCF7L2 locus may play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes. The type 2 diabetes–associated TCF7L2 genetic variant identifies a subset of individuals with autoimmune type 1 diabetes and fewer markers of islet autoimmunity, lower glucose, and higher C-peptide at diagnosis. […] A possible interpretation of these data is that TCF7L2-encoded diabetogenic mechanisms may contribute to diabetes development in individuals with limited autoimmunity […]. Because the risk of progression to type 1 diabetes is lower in individuals with single compared with multiple autoantibodies, it is possible that in the absence of this type 2 diabetes–associated TCF7L2 variant, these individuals may have not manifested diabetes. If that is the case, we would postulate that disease development in these patients may have a type 2 diabetes–like pathogenesis in which islet autoimmunity is a significant component but not necessarily the primary driver.”

“The association between this genetic variant and single autoantibody positivity was present in individuals 12 years or older but not in children younger than 12 years. […] The results in the current study suggest that the type 2 diabetes–associated TCF7L2 genetic variant plays a larger role in older individuals. There is mounting evidence that the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes varies by age (31). Younger individuals appear to have a more aggressive form of disease, with faster decline of β-cell function before and after onset of disease, higher frequency and severity of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a clinical correlate of severe insulin deficiency, and lower C-peptide at presentation (3135). Furthermore, older patients are less likely to have type 1 diabetes–associated HLA alleles and islet autoantibodies (28). […] Taken together, we have demonstrated that individuals with autoimmune type 1 diabetes who carry the type 2 diabetes–associated TCF7L2 genetic variant have a distinct phenotype characterized by milder immunologic and metabolic characteristics than noncarriers, closer to those of type 2 diabetes, with an important effect of age.”

ii. Heart Failure: The Most Important, Preventable, and Treatable Cardiovascular Complication of Type 2 Diabetes.

“Concerns about cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes have traditionally focused on atherosclerotic vasculo-occlusive events, such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and limb ischemia. However, one of the earliest, most common, and most serious cardiovascular disorders in patients with diabetes is heart failure (1). Following its onset, patients experience a striking deterioration in their clinical course, which is marked by frequent hospitalizations and eventually death. Many sudden deaths in diabetes are related to underlying ventricular dysfunction rather than a new ischemic event. […] Heart failure and diabetes are linked pathophysiologically. Type 2 diabetes and heart failure are each characterized by insulin resistance and are accompanied by the activation of neurohormonal systems (norepinephrine, angiotensin II, aldosterone, and neprilysin) (3). The two disorders overlap; diabetes is present in 35–45% of patients with chronic heart failure, whether they have a reduced or preserved ejection fraction.”

“Treatments that lower blood glucose do not exert any consistently favorable effect on the risk of heart failure in patients with diabetes (6). In contrast, treatments that increase insulin signaling are accompanied by an increased risk of heart failure. Insulin use is independently associated with an enhanced likelihood of heart failure (7). Thiazolidinediones promote insulin signaling and have increased the risk of heart failure in controlled clinical trials (6). With respect to incretin-based secretagogues, liraglutide increases the clinical instability of patients with existing heart failure (8,9), and the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors saxagliptin and alogliptin are associated with an increased risk of heart failure in diabetes (10). The likelihood of heart failure with the use of sulfonylureas may be comparable to that with thiazolidinediones (11). Interestingly, the only two classes of drugs that ameliorate hyperinsulinemia (metformin and sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors) are also the only two classes of antidiabetes drugs that appear to reduce the risk of heart failure and its adverse consequences (12,13). These findings are consistent with experimental evidence that insulin exerts adverse effects on the heart and kidneys that can contribute to heart failure (14). Therefore, physicians can prevent many cases of heart failure in type 2 diabetes by careful consideration of the choice of agents used to achieve glycemic control. Importantly, these decisions have an immediate effect; changes in risk are seen within the first few months of changes in treatment. This immediacy stands in contrast to the years of therapy required to see a benefit of antidiabetes drugs on microvascular risk.”

“As reported by van den Berge et al. (4), the prognosis of patients with heart failure has improved over the past two decades; heart failure with a reduced ejection fraction is a treatable disease. Inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system are a cornerstone of the management of both disorders; they prevent the onset of heart failure and the progression of nephropathy in patients with diabetes, and they reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization in those with established heart failure (3,15). Diabetes does not influence the magnitude of the relative benefit of ACE inhibitors in patients with heart failure, but patients with diabetes experience a greater absolute benefit from treatment (16).”

“The totality of evidence from randomized trials […] demonstrates that in patients with diabetes, heart failure is not only common and clinically important, but it can also be prevented and treated. This conclusion is particularly significant because physicians have long ignored heart failure in their focus on glycemic control and their concerns about the ischemic macrovascular complications of diabetes (1).”

iii. Closely related to the above study: Mortality Reduction Associated With β-Adrenoceptor Inhibition in Chronic Heart Failure Is Greater in Patients With Diabetes.

“Diabetes increases mortality in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction. Studies have questioned the safety of β-adrenoceptor blockers (β-blockers) in some patients with diabetes and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction. We examined whether β-blockers and ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) are associated with differential effects on mortality in CHF patients with and without diabetes. […] We conducted a prospective cohort study of 1,797 patients with CHF recruited between 2006 and 2014, with mean follow-up of 4 years.”

RESULTS Patients with diabetes were prescribed larger doses of β-blockers and ACEIs than were patients without diabetes. Increasing β-blocker dose was associated with lower mortality in patients with diabetes (8.9% per mg/day; 95% CI 5–12.6) and without diabetes (3.5% per mg/day; 95% CI 0.7–6.3), although the effect was larger in people with diabetes (interaction P = 0.027). Increasing ACEI dose was associated with lower mortality in patients with diabetes (5.9% per mg/day; 95% CI 2.5–9.2) and without diabetes (5.1% per mg/day; 95% CI 2.6–7.6), with similar effect size in these groups (interaction P = 0.76).”

“Our most important findings are:

  • Higher-dose β-blockers are associated with lower mortality in patients with CHF and LVSD, but patients with diabetes may derive more benefit from higher-dose β-blockers.

  • Higher-dose ACEIs were associated with comparable mortality reduction in people with and without diabetes.

  • The association between higher β-blocker dose and reduced mortality is most pronounced in patients with diabetes who have more severely impaired left ventricular function.

  • Among patients with diabetes, the relationship between β-blocker dose and mortality was not associated with glycemic control or insulin therapy.”

“We make the important observation that patients with diabetes may derive more prognostic benefit from higher β-blocker doses than patients without diabetes. These data should provide reassurance to patients and health care providers and encourage careful but determined uptitration of β-blockers in this high-risk group of patients.”

iv. Diabetes, Prediabetes, and Brain Volumes and Subclinical Cerebrovascular Disease on MRI: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS).

“Diabetes and prediabetes are associated with accelerated cognitive decline (1), and diabetes is associated with an approximately twofold increased risk of dementia (2). Subclinical brain pathology, as defined by small vessel disease (lacunar infarcts, white matter hyperintensities [WMH], and microhemorrhages), large vessel disease (cortical infarcts), and smaller brain volumes also are associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia (37). The mechanisms by which diabetes contributes to accelerated cognitive decline and dementia are not fully understood, but contributions of hyperglycemia to both cerebrovascular disease and primary neurodegenerative disease have been suggested in the literature, although results are inconsistent (2,8). Given that diabetes is a vascular risk factor, brain atrophy among individuals with diabetes may be driven by increased cerebrovascular disease. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a noninvasive opportunity to study associations of hyperglycemia with small vessel disease (lacunar infarcts, WMH, microhemorrhages), large vessel disease (cortical infarcts), and brain volumes (9).”

“Overall, the mean age of participants [(n = 1,713)] was 75 years, 60% were women, 27% were black, 30% had prediabetes (HbA1c 5.7 to <6.5%), and 35% had diabetes. Compared with participants without diabetes and HbA1c <5.7%, those with prediabetes (HbA1c 5.7 to <6.5%) were of similar age (75.2 vs. 75.0 years; P = 0.551), were more likely to be black (24% vs. 11%; P < 0.001), have less than a high school education (11% vs. 7%; P = 0.017), and have hypertension (71% vs. 63%; P = 0.012) (Table 1). Among participants with diabetes, those with HbA1c <7.0% versus ≥7.0% were of similar age (75.4 vs. 75.1 years; P = 0.481), but those with diabetes and HbA1c ≥7.0% were more likely to be black (39% vs. 28%; P = 0.020) and to have less than a high school education (23% vs. 16%; P = 0.031) and were more likely to have a longer duration of diabetes (12 vs. 8 years; P < 0.001).”

“Compared with participants without diabetes and HbA1c <5.7%, those with diabetes and HbA1c ≥7.0% had smaller total brain volume (β −0.20 SDs; 95% CI −0.31, −0.09) and smaller regional brain volumes, including frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes; deep gray matter; Alzheimer disease signature region; and hippocampus (all P < 0.05) […]. Compared with participants with diabetes and HbA1c <7.0%, those with diabetes and HbA1c ≥7.0% had smaller total brain volume (P < 0.001), frontal lobe volume (P = 0.012), temporal lobe volume (P = 0.012), occipital lobe volume (P = 0.008), parietal lobe volume (P = 0.015), deep gray matter volume (P < 0.001), Alzheimer disease signature region volume (0.031), and hippocampal volume (P = 0.016). Both participants with diabetes and HbA1c <7.0% and those with prediabetes (HbA1c 5.7 to <6.5%) had similar total and regional brain volumes compared with participants without diabetes and HbA1c <5.7% (all P > 0.05). […] No differences in the presence of lobar microhemorrhages, subcortical microhemorrhages, cortical infarcts, and lacunar infarcts were observed among the diabetes-HbA1c categories (all P > 0.05) […]. Compared with participants without diabetes and HbA1c <5.7%, those with diabetes and HbA1c ≥7.0% had increased WMH volume (P = 0.016). The WMH volume among participants with diabetes and HbA1c ≥7.0% was also significantly greater than among those with diabetes and HbA1c <7.0% (P = 0.017).”

“Those with diabetes duration ≥10 years were older than those with diabetes duration <10 years (75.9 vs. 75.0 years; P = 0.041) but were similar in terms of race and sex […]. Compared with participants with diabetes duration <10 years, those with diabetes duration ≥10 years has smaller adjusted total brain volume (β −0.13 SDs; 95% CI −0.20, −0.05) and smaller temporal lobe (β −0.14 SDs; 95% CI −0.24, −0.03), parietal lobe (β − 0.11 SDs; 95% CI −0.21, −0.01), and hippocampal (β −0.16 SDs; 95% CI −0.30, −0.02) volumes […]. Participants with diabetes duration ≥10 years also had a 2.44 times increased odds (95% CI 1.46, 4.05) of lacunar infarcts compared with those with diabetes duration <10 years”.

Conclusions
In this community-based population, we found that ARIC-NCS participants with diabetes with HbA1c ≥7.0% have smaller total and regional brain volumes and an increased burden of WMH, but those with prediabetes (HbA1c 5.7 to <6.5%) and diabetes with HbA1c <7.0% have brain volumes and markers of subclinical cerebrovascular disease similar to those without diabetes. Furthermore, among participants with diabetes, those with more-severe disease (as measured by higher HbA1c and longer disease duration) had smaller total and regional brain volumes and an increased burden of cerebrovascular disease compared with those with lower HbA1c and shorter disease duration. However, we found no evidence that associations of diabetes with smaller brain volumes are mediated by cerebrovascular disease.

The findings of this study extend the current literature that suggests that diabetes is strongly associated with brain volume loss (11,2527). Global brain volume loss (11,2527) has been consistently reported, but associations of diabetes with smaller specific brain regions have been less robust (27,28). Similar to prior studies, the current results show that compared with individuals without diabetes, those with diabetes have smaller total brain volume (11,2527) and regional brain volumes, including frontal and occipital lobes, deep gray matter, and the hippocampus (25,27). Furthermore, the current study suggests that greater severity of disease (as measured by HbA1c and diabetes duration) is associated with smaller total and regional brain volumes. […] Mechanisms whereby diabetes may contribute to brain volume loss include accelerated amyloid-β and hyperphosphorylated tau deposition as a result of hyperglycemia (29). Another possible mechanism involves pancreatic amyloid (amylin) infiltration of the brain, which then promotes amyloid-β deposition (29). […] Taken together, […] the current results suggest that diabetes is associated with both lower brain volumes and increased cerebrovascular pathology (WMH and lacunes).”

v. Interventions to increase attendance for diabetic retinopathy screening (Cochrane review).

“The primary objective of the review was to assess the effectiveness of quality improvement (QI) interventions that seek to increase attendance for DRS in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Secondary objectives were:
To use validated taxonomies of QI intervention strategies and behaviour change techniques (BCTs) to code the description of interventions in the included studies and determine whether interventions that include particular QI strategies or component BCTs are more effective in increasing screening attendance;
To explore heterogeneity in effect size within and between studies to identify potential explanatory factors for variability in effect size;
To explore differential effects in subgroups to provide information on how equity of screening attendance could be improved;
To critically appraise and summarise current evidence on the resource use, costs and cost effectiveness.”

“We included 66 RCTs conducted predominantly (62%) in the USA. Overall we judged the trials to be at low or unclear risk of bias. QI strategies were multifaceted and targeted patients, healthcare professionals or healthcare systems. Fifty-six studies (329,164 participants) compared intervention versus usual care (median duration of follow-up 12 months). Overall, DRS [diabetic retinopathy screening] attendance increased by 12% (risk difference (RD) 0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.10 to 0.14; low-certainty evidence) compared with usual care, with substantial heterogeneity in effect size. Both DRS-targeted (RD 0.17, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.22) and general QI interventions (RD 0.12, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.15) were effective, particularly where baseline DRS attendance was low. All BCT combinations were associated with significant improvements, particularly in those with poor attendance. We found higher effect estimates in subgroup analyses for the BCTs ‘goal setting (outcome)’ (RD 0.26, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.36) and ‘feedback on outcomes of behaviour’ (RD 0.22, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.29) in interventions targeting patients, and ‘restructuring the social environment’ (RD 0.19, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.26) and ‘credible source’ (RD 0.16, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.24) in interventions targeting healthcare professionals.”

“Ten studies (23,715 participants) compared a more intensive (stepped) intervention versus a less intensive intervention. In these studies DRS attendance increased by 5% (RD 0.05, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.09; moderate-certainty evidence).”

“Overall, we found that there is insufficient evidence to draw robust conclusions about the relative cost effectiveness of the interventions compared to each other or against usual care.”

“The results of this review provide evidence that QI interventions targeting patients, healthcare professionals or the healthcare system are associated with meaningful improvements in DRS attendance compared to usual care. There was no statistically significant difference between interventions specifically aimed at DRS and those which were part of a general QI strategy for improving diabetes care.”

vi. Diabetes in China: Epidemiology and Genetic Risk Factors and Their Clinical Utility in Personalized Medication.

“The incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has rapidly increased over recent decades, and T2D has become a leading public health challenge in China. Compared with European descents, Chinese patients with T2D are diagnosed at a relatively young age and low BMI. A better understanding of the factors contributing to the diabetes epidemic is crucial for determining future prevention and intervention programs. In addition to environmental factors, genetic factors contribute substantially to the development of T2D. To date, more than 100 susceptibility loci for T2D have been identified. Individually, most T2D genetic variants have a small effect size (10–20% increased risk for T2D per risk allele); however, a genetic risk score that combines multiple T2D loci could be used to predict the risk of T2D and to identify individuals who are at a high risk. […] In this article, we review the epidemiological trends and recent progress in the understanding of T2D genetic etiology and further discuss personalized medicine involved in the treatment of T2D.”

“Over the past three decades, the prevalence of diabetes in China has sharply increased. The prevalence of diabetes was reported to be less than 1% in 1980 (2), 5.5% in 2001 (3), 9.7% in 2008 (4), and 10.9% in 2013, according to the latest published nationwide survey (5) […]. The prevalence of diabetes was higher in the senior population, men, urban residents, individuals living in economically developed areas, and overweight and obese individuals. The estimated prevalence of prediabetes in 2013 was 35.7%, which was much higher than the estimate of 15.5% in the 2008 survey. Similarly, the prevalence of prediabetes was higher in the senior population, men, and overweight and obese individuals. However, prediabetes was more prevalent in rural residents than in urban residents. […] the 2013 survey also compared the prevalence of diabetes among different races. The crude prevalence of diabetes was 14.7% in the majority group, i.e., Chinese Han, which was higher than that in most minority ethnic groups, including Tibetan, Zhuang, Uyghur, and Muslim. The crude prevalence of prediabetes was also higher in the Chinese Han ethnic group. The Tibetan participants had the lowest prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes (4.3% and 31.3%).”

“[T]he prevalence of diabetes in young people is relatively high and increasing. The prevalence of diabetes in the 20- to 39-year age-group was 3.2%, according to the 2008 national survey (4), and was 5.9%, according to the 2013 national survey (5). The prevalence of prediabetes also increased from 9.0% in 2008 to 28.8% in 2013 […]. Young people suffering from diabetes have a higher risk of chronic complications, which are the major cause of mortality and morbidity in diabetes. According to a study conducted in Asia (6), patients with young-onset diabetes had higher mean concentrations of HbA1c and LDL cholesterol and a higher prevalence of retinopathy (20% vs. 18%, P = 0.011) than those with late-onset diabetes. In the Chinese, patients with early-onset diabetes had a higher risk of nonfatal cardiovascular disease (7) than did patients with late-onset diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.81–2.02).”

“As approximately 95% of patients with diabetes in China have T2D, the rapid increase in the prevalence of diabetes in China may be attributed to the increasing rates of overweight and obesity and the reduction in physical activity, which is driven by economic development, lifestyle changes, and diet (3,11). According to a series of nationwide surveys conducted by the China Physical Fitness Surveillance Center (12), the prevalence of overweight (BMI ≥23.0 to <27.5 kg/m2) in Chinese adults aged 20–59 years increased from 37.4% in 2000 to 39.2% in 2005, 40.7% in 2010, and 41.2% in 2014, with an estimated increase of 0.27% per year. The prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥27.5 kg/m2) increased from 8.6% in 2000 to 10.3% in 2005, 12.2% in 2010, and 12.9% in 2014, with an estimated increase of 0.32% per year […]. The prevalence of central obesity increased from 13.9% in 2000 to 18.3% in 2005, 22.1% in 2010, and 24.9% in 2014, with an estimated increase of 0.78% per year. Notably, T2D develops at a considerably lower BMI in the Chinese population than that in European populations. […] The relatively high risk of diabetes at a lower BMI could be partially attributed to the tendency toward visceral adiposity in East Asian populations, including the Chinese population (13). Moreover, East Asian populations have been found to have a higher insulin sensitivity with a much lower insulin response than European descent and African populations, implying a lower compensatory β-cell function, which increases the risk of progressing to overt diabetes (14).”

“Over the past two decades, linkage analyses, candidate gene approaches, and large-scale GWAS have successfully identified more than 100 genes that confer susceptibility to T2D among the world’s major ethnic populations […], most of which were discovered in European populations. However, less than 50% of these European-derived loci have been successfully confirmed in East Asian populations. […] there is a need to identify specific genes that are associated with T2D in other ethnic populations. […] Although many genetic loci have been shown to confer susceptibility to T2D, the mechanism by which these loci participate in the pathogenesis of T2D remains unknown. Most T2D loci are located near genes that are related to β-cell function […] most single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contributing to the T2D risk are located in introns, but whether these SNPs directly modify gene expression or are involved in linkage disequilibrium with unknown causal variants remains to be investigated. Furthermore, the loci discovered thus far collectively account for less than 15% of the overall estimated genetic heritability.”

“The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs) are usually used to assess the discriminative accuracy of an approach. The AUC values range from 0.5 to 1.0, where an AUC of 0.5 represents a lack of discrimination and an AUC of 1 represents perfect discrimination. An AUC ≥0.75 is considered clinically useful. The dominant conventional risk factors, including age, sex, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, family history of diabetes, physical activity level, smoking status, and alcohol consumption, can be combined to construct conventional risk factor–based models (CRM). Several studies have compared the predictive capacities of models with and without genetic information. The addition of genetic markers to a CRM could slightly improve the predictive performance. For example, one European study showed that the addition of an 11-SNP GRS to a CRM marginally improved the risk prediction (AUC was 0.74 without and 0.75 with the genetic markers, P < 0.001) in a prospective cohort of 16,000 individuals (37). A meta-analysis (38) consisting of 23 studies investigating the predictive performance of T2D risk models also reported that the AUCs only slightly increased with the addition of genetic information to the CRM (median AUC was increased from 0.78 to 0.79). […] Despite great advances in genetic studies, the clinical utility of genetic information in the prediction, early identification, and prevention of T2D remains in its preliminary stage.”

“An increasing number of studies have highlighted that early nutrition has a persistent effect on the risk of diabetes in later life (40,41). China’s Great Famine of 1959–1962 is considered to be the largest and most severe famine of the 20th century […] Li et al. (43) found that offspring of mothers exposed to the Chinese famine have a 3.9-fold increased risk of diabetes or hyperglycemia as adults. A more recent study (the Survey on Prevalence in East China for Metabolic Diseases and Risk Factors [SPECT-China]) conducted in 2014, among 6,897 adults from Shanghai, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, had the same conclusion that famine exposure during the fetal period (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.09–2.14) and childhood (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.21–2.73) was associated with diabetes (44). These findings indicate that undernutrition during early life increases the risk of hyperglycemia in adulthood and this association is markedly exaggerated when facing overnutrition in later life.”

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Genetics, Health Economics, Immunology, Medicine, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology, Studies | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

(I hadn’t expected to only cover two papers in this post, but the second paper turned out to include a lot of stuff I figured might be worth adding here. I might add another post later this week including some of the other studies I had intended to cover in this post.)

i. Burden of Mortality Attributable to Diagnosed Diabetes: A Nationwide Analysis Based on Claims Data From 65 Million People in Germany.

“Diabetes is among the 10 most common causes of death worldwide (2). Between 1990 and 2010, the number of deaths attributable to diabetes has doubled (2). People with diabetes have a reduced life expectancy of ∼5 to 6 years (3). The most common cause of death in people with diabetes is cardiovascular disease (3,4). Over the past few decades, a reduction of diabetes mortality has been observed in several countries (59). However, the excess risk of death is still higher than in the population without diabetes, particularly in younger age-groups (4,9,10). Unfortunately, in most countries worldwide, reliable data on diabetes mortality are lacking (1). In a few European countries, such as Denmark (5) and Sweden (4), mortality analyses are based on national diabetes registries that include all age-groups. However, Germany and many other European countries do not have such national registries. Until now, age-standardized hazard ratios for diabetes mortality between 1.4 and 2.6 have been published for Germany on the basis of regional studies and surveys with small respondent numbers (1114). To the best of our knowledge, no nationwide estimates of the number of excess deaths due to diabetes have been published for Germany, and no information on older age-groups >79 years is currently available.

In 2012, changes in the regulation of data transparency enabled the use of nationwide routine health care data from the German statutory health insurance system, which insures ∼90% of the German population (15). These changes have allowed for new possibilities for estimating the burden of diabetes in Germany. Hence, this study estimates the number of excess deaths due to diabetes (ICD-10 codes E10–E14) and type 2 diabetes (ICD-10 code E11) in Germany, which is the number of deaths that could have been prevented if the diabetes mortality rate was as high as that of the population without diabetes.”

“Nationwide data on mortality ratios for diabetes and no diabetes are not available for Germany. […] the age- and sex-specific mortality rate ratios between people with diabetes and without diabetes were used from a Danish study wherein the Danish National Diabetes Register was linked to the individual mortality data from the Civil Registration System that includes all people residing in Denmark (5). Because the Danish National Diabetes Register is one of the most accurate diabetes registries in Europe, with a sensitivity of 86% and positive predictive value of 90% (5), we are convinced that the Danish estimates are highly valid and reliable. Denmark and Germany have a comparable standard of living and health care system. The diabetes prevalence in these countries is similar (Denmark 7.2%, Germany 7.4% [20]) and mortality of people with and without diabetes comparable, as shown in the European mortality database”

“In total, 174,627 excess deaths (137,950 from type 2 diabetes) could have been prevented in 2010 if mortality was the same in people with and without diabetes. Overall, 21% of all deaths in Germany were attributable to diabetes, and 16% were attributable to type 2 diabetes […] Most of the excess deaths occurred in the 70- to 79- and 80- to 89-year-old age-groups (∼34% each) […]. Substantial sex differences were found in diabetes-related excess deaths. From the age of ∼40 years, the number of male excess deaths due to diabetes started to grow, but the number of female excess deaths increased with a delay. Thus, the highest number of male excess deaths due to diabetes occurred at the age of ∼75 years, whereas the peak of female excess deaths was ∼10 years later. […] The diabetes mortality rates increased with age and were always higher than in the population without diabetes. The largest differences in mortality rates between people with and without diabetes were observed in the younger age-groups. […] These results are in accordance with previous studies worldwide (3,4,7,9) and regional studies in Germany (1113).”

“According to official numbers from the Federal Statistical Office, 858,768 people died in Germany in 2010, with 23,131 deaths due to diabetes, representing 2.7% of the all-cause mortality (26). Hence, in Germany, diabetes is not ranked among the top 10 most common causes of death […]. We found that 21% of all deaths were attributable to diabetes and 16% were attributable to type 2 diabetes; hence, we suggest that the number of excess deaths attributable to diabetes is strongly underestimated if we rely on reported causes of death from death certificates, as official statistics do. Estimating diabetes-related mortality is challenging because most people die as a result of diabetes complications and comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease and renal failure, which often are reported as the underlying cause of death (1,23). For this reason, another approach is to focus not only on the underlying cause of death but also on the multiple causes of death to assess any mention of a disease on the death certificate (27). In a study from Italy, the method of assessing multiple causes of death revealed that in 12.3% of all studied death certificates, diabetes was mentioned, whereas only 2.9% reported diabetes as the underlying cause of death (27), corresponding to a four times higher proportion of death related to diabetes. Another nationwide analysis from Canada found that diabetes was more than twice as likely to be a contributing factor to death than the underlying cause of death from the years 2004–2008 (28). A recently published study from the U.S. that was based on two representative surveys from 1997 to 2010 found that 11.5% of all deaths were attributable to diabetes, which reflects a three to four times higher proportion of diabetes-related deaths (29). Overall, these results, together with the current calculations, demonstrate that deaths due to diabetes contribute to a much higher burden than previously assumed.”

ii. Standardizing Clinically Meaningful Outcome Measures Beyond HbA1c for Type 1 Diabetes: A Consensus Report of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Society, JDRF International, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, and the T1D Exchange.

“Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening, autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults and can be fatal. People with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood glucose multiple times each day and dose insulin via injections or an infusion pump 24 h a day every day. Too much insulin can result in hypoglycemia, seizures, coma, or death. Hyperglycemia over time leads to kidney, heart, nerve, and eye damage. Even with diligent monitoring, the majority of people with type 1 diabetes do not achieve recommended target glucose levels. In the U.S., approximately one in five children and one in three adults meet hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) targets and the average patient spends 7 h a day hyperglycemic and over 90 min hypoglycemic (13). […] HbA1c is a well-accepted surrogate outcome measure for evaluating the efficacy of diabetes therapies and technologies in clinical practice as well as in research (46). […] While HbA1c is used as a primary outcome to assess glycemic control and as a surrogate for risk of developing complications, it has limitations. As a measure of mean blood glucose over 2 or 3 months, HbA1c does not capture short-term variations in blood glucose or exposure to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia in individuals with type 1 diabetes; HbA1c also does not capture the impact of blood glucose variations on individuals’ quality of life. Recent advances in type 1 diabetes technologies have made it feasible to assess the efficacy of therapies and technologies using a set of outcomes beyond HbA1c and to expand definitions of outcomes such as hypoglycemia. While definitions for hypoglycemia in clinical care exist, they have not been standardized […]. The lack of standard definitions impedes and can confuse their use in clinical practice, impedes development processes for new therapies, makes comparison of studies in the literature challenging, and may lead to regulatory and reimbursement decisions that fail to meet the needs of people with diabetes. To address this vital issue, the type 1 diabetes–stakeholder community launched the Type 1 Diabetes Outcomes Program to develop consensus definitions for a set of priority outcomes for type 1 diabetes. […] The outcomes prioritized under the program include hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, time in range, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and patient-reported outcomes (PROs).”

“Hypoglycemia is a significant — and potentially fatal — complication of type 1 diabetes management and has been found to be a barrier to achieving glycemic goals (9). Repeated exposure to severe hypoglycemic events has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes (10,11). Hypoglycemia can also be fatal, and severe hypoglycemic events have been associated with increased mortality (1214). In addition to the physical aspects of hypoglycemia, it can also have negative consequences on emotional status and quality of life.

While there is some variability in how and when individuals manifest symptoms of hypoglycemia, beginning at blood glucose levels <70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) (which is at the low end of the typical post-absorptive plasma glucose range), the body begins to increase its secretion of counterregulatory hormones including glucagon, epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone. The release of these hormones can cause moderate autonomic effects, including but not limited to shaking, palpitations, sweating, and hunger (15). Individuals without diabetes do not typically experience dangerously low blood glucose levels because of counterregulatory hormonal regulation of glycemia (16). However, in individuals with type 1 diabetes, there is often a deficiency of the counterregulatory response […]. Moreover, as people with diabetes experience an increased number of episodes of hypoglycemia, the risk of hypoglycemia unawareness, impaired glucose counterregulation (for example, in hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure [17]), and level 2 and level 3 hypoglycemia […] all increase (18). Therefore, it is important to recognize and treat all hypoglycemic events in people with type 1 diabetes, particularly in populations (children, the elderly) that may not have the ability to recognize and self-treat hypoglycemia. […] More notable clinical symptoms begin at blood glucose levels <54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) (19,20). As the body’s primary utilizer of glucose, the brain is particularly sensitive to decreases in blood glucose concentrations. Both experimental and clinical evidence has shown that, at these levels, neurogenic and neuroglycopenic symptoms including impairments in reaction times, information processing, psychomotor function, and executive function begin to emerge. These neurological symptoms correlate to altered brain activity in multiple brain areas including the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe (2124). At these levels, individuals may experience confusion, dizziness, blurred or double vision, tremors, and tingling sensations (25). Hypoglycemia at this glycemic level may also increase proinflammatory and prothrombotic markers (26). Left untreated, these symptoms can become severe to the point that an individual will require assistance from others to move or function. Prolonged untreated hypoglycemia that continues to drop below 50 mg/dL (2.8 mmol/L) increases the risk of seizures, coma, and death (27,28). Hypoglycemia that affects cognition and stamina may also increase the risk of accidents and falls, which is a particular concern for older adults with diabetes (29,30).

The glycemic thresholds at which these symptoms occur, as well as the severity with which they manifest themselves, may vary in individuals with type 1 diabetes depending on the number of hypoglycemic episodes they have experienced (3133). Counterregulatory physiological responses may evolve in patients with type 1 diabetes who endure repeated hypoglycemia over time (34,35).”

“The Steering Committee defined three levels of hypoglycemia […] Level 1 hypoglycemia is defined as a measurable glucose concentration <70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) but ≥54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) that can alert a person to take action. A blood glucose concentration of 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) has been recognized as a marker of physiological hypoglycemia in humans, as it approximates the glycemic threshold for neuroendocrine responses to falling glucose levels in individuals without diabetes. As such, blood glucose in individuals without diabetes is generally 70–100 mg/dL (3.9–5.6 mmol/L) upon waking and 70–140 mg/dL (3.9–7.8 mmol/L) after meals, and any excursions beyond those levels are typically countered with physiological controls (16,37). However, individuals with diabetes who have impaired or altered counterregulatory hormonal and neurological responses do not have the same internal regulation as individuals without diabetes to avoid dropping below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) and becoming hypoglycemic. Recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia lead to increased hypoglycemia unawareness, which can become dangerous as individuals cease to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, allowing their blood glucose levels to continue falling. Therefore, glucose levels <70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) are clinically important, independent of the severity of acute symptoms.

Level 2 hypoglycemia is defined as a measurable glucose concentration <54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L) that needs immediate action. At ∼54 mg/dL (3.0 mmol/L), neurogenic and neuroglycopenic hypoglycemic symptoms begin to occur, ultimately leading to brain dysfunction at levels <50 mg/dL (2.8 mmol/L) (19,20). […] Level 3 hypoglycemia is defined as a severe event characterized by altered mental and/or physical status requiring assistance. Severe hypoglycemia captures events during which the symptoms associated with hypoglycemia impact a patient to such a degree that the patient requires assistance from others (27,28). […] Hypoglycemia that sets in relatively rapidly, such as in the case of a significant insulin overdose, may induce level 2 or level 3 hypoglycemia with little warning (38).”

“The data regarding the effects of chronic hyperglycemia on long-term outcomes is conclusive, indicating that chronic hyperglycemia is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in type 1 diabetes (41,4345). […] Although the correlation between long-term poor glucose control and type 1 diabetes complications is well established, the impact of short-term hyperglycemia is not as well understood. However, hyperglycemia has been shown to have physiological effects and in an acute-care setting is linked to morbidity and mortality in people with and without diabetes. Short-term hyperglycemia, regardless of diabetes diagnosis, has been shown to reduce survival rates among patients admitted to the hospital with stroke or myocardial infarction (47,48). In addition to increasing mortality, short-term hyperglycemia is correlated with stroke severity and poststroke disability (49,50).

The effects of short-term hyperglycemia have also been observed in nonacute settings. Evidence indicates that hyperglycemia alters retinal cell firing through sensitization in patients with type 1 diabetes (51). This finding is consistent with similar findings showing increased oxygen consumption and blood flow in the retina during hyperglycemia. Because retinal cells absorb glucose through an insulin-independent process, they respond more strongly to increases in glucose in the blood than other cells in patients with type 1 diabetes. The effects of acute hyperglycemia on retinal response may underlie part of the development of retinopathy known to be a long-term complication of type 1 diabetes.”

“The Steering Committee defines hyperglycemia for individuals with type 1 diabetes as the following:

  • Level 1—elevated glucose: glucose >180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) and glucose ≤250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L)

  • Level 2—very elevated glucose: glucose >250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L) […]

Elevated glucose is defined as a glucose concentration >180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) but ≤250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L). In clinical practice, measures of hyperglycemia differ based on time of day (e.g., pre- vs. postmeal). This program, however, focused on defining outcomes for use in product development that are universally applicable. Glucose profiles and postprandial blood glucose data for individuals without diabetes suggest that 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is the appropriate threshold for defining hyperglycemia. However, data demonstrate that the majority of individuals without diabetes exceed this threshold every day. Moreover, people with diabetes spend >60% of their day above this threshold, which suggests that 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is too low of a threshold for measuring hyperglycemia in individuals with diabetes. Current clinical guidelines for people with diabetes indicate that peak prandial glucose should not exceed 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L). As such, the Steering Committee identified 180 mg/dL (10.0 mmol/L) as the initial threshold defining elevated glucose. […]

Very elevated glucose is defined as a glucose concentration >250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L). Evidence examining the impact of hyperglycemia does not examine the incremental effects of increasing blood glucose. However, blood glucose values exceeding 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L) increase the risk for DKA (58), and HbA1c readings at that level have been associated with a high likelihood of complications.”

“An individual whose blood glucose levels rarely extend beyond the thresholds defined for hypo- and hyperglycemia is less likely to be subject to the short-term or long-term effects experienced by those with frequent excursions beyond one or both thresholds. It is also evident that if the intent of a given intervention is to safely manage blood glucose but the intervention does not reliably maintain blood glucose within safe levels, then the intervention should not be considered effective.

The time in range outcome is distinguished from traditional HbA1c testing in several ways (4,59). Time in range captures fluctuations in glucose levels continuously, whereas HbA1c testing is done at static points in time, usually months apart (60). Furthermore, time in range is more specific and sensitive than traditional HbA1c testing; for example, a treatment that addresses acute instances of hypo- or hyperglycemia may be detected in a time in range assessment but not necessarily in an HbA1c assessment. As a percentage, time in range is also more likely to be comparable across patients than HbA1c values, which are more likely to have patient-specific variations in significance (61). Finally, time in range may be more likely than HbA1c levels to correlate with PROs, such as quality of life, because the outcome is more representative of the whole patient experience (62). Table 3 illustrates how the concept of time in range differs from current HbA1c testing. […] [V]ariation in what is considered “normal” glucose fluctuations across populations, as well as what is realistically achievable for people with type 1 diabetes, must be taken into account so as not to make the target range definition too restrictive.”

“The Steering Committee defines time in range for individuals with type 1 diabetes as the following:

  • Percentage of readings in the range of 70–180 mg/dL (3.9–10.0 mmol/L) per unit of time

The Steering Committee considered it important to keep the time in range definition wide in order to accommodate variations across the population with type 1 diabetes — including different age-groups — but limited enough to preclude the possibility of negative outcomes. The upper and lower bounds of the time in range definition are consistent with the definitions for hypo- and hyperglycemia defined above. For individuals without type 1 diabetes, 70–140 mg/dL (3.9–7.8 mmol/L) represents a normal glycemic range (66). However, spending most of the day in this range is not generally achievable for people with type 1 diabetes […] To date, there is limited research correlating time in range with positive short-term and long-term type 1 diabetes outcomes, as opposed to the extensive research demonstrating the negative consequences of excursions into hyper- or hypoglycemia. More substantial evidence demonstrating a correlation or a direct causative relationship between time in range for patients with type 1 diabetes and positive health outcomes is needed.”

“DKA is often associated with hyperglycemia. In most cases, in an individual with diabetes, the cause of hyperglycemia is also the cause of DKA, although the two conditions are distinct. DKA develops when a lack of glucose in cells prompts the body to begin breaking down fatty acid reserves. This increases the levels of ketones in the body (ketosis) and causes a drop in blood pH (acidosis). At its most severe, DKA can cause cerebral edema, acute respiratory distress, thromboembolism, coma, and death (69,70). […] Although the current definition for DKA includes a list of multiple criteria that must be met, not all information currently included in the accepted definition is consistently gathered or required to diagnose DKA. The Steering Committee defines DKA in individuals with type 1 diabetes in a clinical setting as the following:

  • Elevated serum or urine ketones (greater than the upper limit of the normal range), and

  • Serum bicarbonate <15 mmol/L or blood pH <7.3

Given the seriousness of DKA, it is unnecessary to stratify DKA into different levels or categories, as the presence of DKA—regardless of the differences observed in the separate biochemical tests—should always be considered serious. In individuals with known diabetes, plasma glucose values are not necessary to diagnose DKA. Further, new therapeutic agents, specifically sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors, have been linked to euglycemic DKA, or DKA with blood glucose values <250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L).”

“In guidance released in 2009 (72), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defined PROs as “any report of the status of a patient’s health condition that comes directly from the patient, without interpretation of the patient’s response by a clinician or anyone else.” In the same document, the FDA clearly acknowledged the importance of PROs, advising that they be used to gather information that is “best known by the patient or best measured from the patient perspective.”

Measuring and using PROs is increasingly seen as essential to evaluating care from a patient-centered perspective […] Given that type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition primarily treated on an outpatient basis, much of what people with type 1 diabetes experience is not captured through standard clinical measurement. Measures that capture PROs can fill these important information gaps. […] The use of validated PROs in type 1 diabetes clinical research is not currently widespread, and challenges to effectively measuring some PROs, such as quality of life, continue to confront researchers and developers.”

February 20, 2018 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Medicine, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Studies | Leave a comment

Endocrinology (part 2 – pituitary)

Below I have added some observations from the second chapter of the book, which covers the pituitary gland.

“The pituitary gland is centrally located at the base of the brain in the sella turcica within the sphenoid bone. It is attached to the hypothalamus by the pituitary stalk and a fine vascular network. […] The pituitary measures around 13mm transversely, 9mm anteroposteriorly, and 6mm vertically and weighs approximately 100mg. It increases during pregnancy to almost twice its normal size, and it decreases in the elderly. *Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) currently provides the optimal imaging of the pituitary gland. *Computed tomography (CT) scans may still be useful in demonstrating calcification in tumours […] and hyperostosis in association with meningiomas or evidence of bone destruction. […] T1– weighted images demonstrate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as dark grey and brain as much whiter. This imagining is useful for demonstrating anatomy clearly. […] On T1– weighted images, pituitary adenomas are of lower signal intensity than the remainder of the normal gland. […] The presence of microadenomas may be difficult to demonstrate.”

“Hypopituitarism refers to either partial or complete deficiency of anterior and/or posterior pituitary hormones and may be due to [primary] pituitary disease or to hypothalamic pathology which interferes with the hypothalamic control of the pituitary. Causes: *Pituitary tumours. *Parapituitary tumours […] *Radiotherapy […] *Pituitary infarction (apoplexy), Sheehan’s syndrome. *Infiltration of the pituitary gland […] *infection […] *Trauma […] *Subarachnoid haemorrhage. *Isolated hypothalamic-releasing hormone deficiency, e.g. Kallmann’s syndrome […] *Genetic causes [Let’s stop here: Point is, lots of things can cause pituitary problems…] […] The clinical features depend on the type and degree of hormonal deficits, and the rate of its development, in addition to whether there is intercurrent illness. In the majority of cases, the development of hypopituitarism follows a characteristic order, which secretion of GH [growth hormone, US], then gonadotrophins being affected first, followed by TSH [Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, US] and ACTH [Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, US] secretion at a later stage. PRL [prolactin, US] deficiency is rare, except in Sheehan’s syndrome associated with failure of lactation. ADH [antidiuretic hormone, US] deficiency is virtually unheard of with pituitary adenomas but may be seen rarely with infiltrative disorders and trauma. The majority of the clinical features are similar to those occurring when there is target gland insufficiency. […] NB Houssay phenomenon. Amelioration of diabetes mellitus in patients with hypopituitarism due to reduction in counter-regulatory hormones. […] The aims of investigation of hypopituitarism are to biochemically assess the extent of pituitary hormone deficiency and also to elucidate the cause. […] Treatment involves adequate and appropriate hormone replacement […] and management of the underlying cause.”

“Apoplexy refers to infarction of the pituitary gland due to either haemorrhage or ischaemia. It occurs most commonly in patients with pituitary adenomas, usually macroadenomas […] It is a medical emergency, and rapid hydrocortisone replacement can be lifesaving. It may present with […] sudden onset headache, vomiting, meningism, visual disturbance, and cranial nerve palsy.”

“Anterior pituitary hormone replacement therapy is usually performed by replacing the target hormone rather than the pituitary or hypothalamic hormone that is actually deficient. The exceptions to this are GH replacement […] and when fertility is desired […] [In the context of thyroid hormone replacement:] In contrast to replacement in [primary] hypothyroidism, the measurement of TSH cannot be used to assess adequacy of replacment in TSH deficiency due to hypothalamo-pituitary disease. Therefore, monitoring of treatment in order to avoid under- and over-replacement should be via both clinical assessment and by measuring free thyroid hormone concentrations […] [In the context of sex hormone replacement:] Oestrogen/testosterone administration is the usual method of replacement, but gonadotrophin therapy is required if fertility is desired […] Patients with ACTH deficiency usually need glucocorticoid replacement only and do not require mineralcorticoids, in contrast to patients with Addison’s disease. […] Monitoring of replacement [is] important to avoid over-replacement which is associated with BP, elevated glucose and insulin, and reduced bone mineral density (BMD). Under-replacement leads to the non-specific symptoms, as seen in Addison’s disease […] Conventional replacement […] may overtreat patients with partial ACTH deficiency.”

“There is now a considerable amount of evidence that there are significant and specific consequences of GH deficiency (GDH) in adults and that many of these features improve with GH replacement therapy. […] It is important to differentiate between adult and childhood onset GDH. […] the commonest cause in childhood is an isolated variable deficiency of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) which may resolve in adult life […] It is, therefore, important to retest patients with childhood onset GHD when linear growth is completed (50% recovery of this group). Adult onset. GHD usually occurs [secondarily] to a structural pituitary or parapituitary condition or due to the effects of surgical treatment or radiotherapy. Prevalence[:] *Adult onset GHD 1/10,000 *Adult GHD due to adult and childhood onset GHD 3/10,000. Benefits of GH replacement[:] *Improved QoL and psychological well-being. *Improved exercise capacity. *↑ lean body mass and reduced fat mass. *Prolonged GH replacement therapy (>12-24 months) has been shown to increase BMD, which would be expected to reduce fracture rate. *There are, as yet, no outcome studies in terms of cardiovascular mortality. However, GH replacement does lead to a reduction (~15%) in cholesterol. GH replacement also leads to improved ventricular function and ↑ left ventricular mass. […] All patients with GHD should be considered for GH replacement therapy. […] adverse effects experienced with GH replacement usually resolve with dose reduction […] GH treatment may be associated with impairment of insulin sensitivity, and therefore markers of glycemia should be monitored. […] Contraindications to GH replacement[:] *Active malignancy. *Benign intracranial hypertension. *Pre-proliferative/proliferative retinopathy in diabetes mellitus.”

“*Pituitary adenomas are the most common pituitary disease in adults and constitute 10-15% of primary brain tumours. […] *The incidence of clinically apparent pituitary disease is 1 in 10,000. *Pituitary carcinoma is very rare (<0.1% of all tumours) and is most commonly ACTH- or prolactin-secreting. […] *Microadenoma <1cm. *Macroadenoma >1cm. [In terms of the functional status of tumours, the break-down is as follows:] *Prolactinoma 35-40%. *Non-functioning 30-35%. Growth hormone (acromegaly) 10-15%. *ACTH adenoma (Cushing’s disease) 5-10% *TSH adenoma <5%. […] Pituitary disease is associated with an increased mortality, predominantly due to vascular disease. This may be due to oversecretion of GH or ACTH, hormone deficiencies or excessive replacement (e.g. of hydrocortisone).”

“*Prolactinomas are the commonest functioning pituitary tumour. […] Malignant prolactinomas are very rare […] [Clinical features of hyperprolactinaemia:] *Galactorrhoea (up to 90%♀, <10% ♂). *Disturbed gonadal function [menstrual disturbance, infertility, reduced libido, ED in ♂] […] Hyperprolactinaemia is associated with a long-term risk of BMD. […] Hypothyroidism and chronic renal failure are causes of hyperprolactinaemia. […] Antipsychotic agents are the most likely psychotrophic agents to cause hyperprolactinaemia. […] Macroadenomas are space-occupying tumours, often associated with bony erosion and/or cavernous sinus invasion. […] *Invasion of the cavernous sinus may lead to cranial nerve palsies. *Occasionally, very invasive tumours may erode bone and present with a CSF leak or [secondary] meningitis. […] Although microprolactinomas may expand in size without treatment, the vast majority do not. […] Macroprolactinomas, however, will continue to expand and lead to pressure effects. Definite treatment of the tumour is, therefore, necessary.”

“Dopamine agonist treatment […] leads to suppression of PRL in most patients [with prolactinoma], with [secondary] effects of normalization of gonadal function and termination of galactorrhoea. Tumour shrinkage occurs at a variable rate (from 24h to 6-12 months) and extent and must be carefully monitored. Continued shrinkage may occur for years. Slow chiasmal decompression will correct visual field defects in the majority of patients, and immediate surgical decompression is not necessary. […] Cabergoline is more effective in normalization of PRL in microprolactinoma […], with fewer side effects than bromocriptine. […] Tumour enlargement following initial shrinkage on treatment is usually due to non-compliance. […] Since the introduction of dopamine agonist treatment, transsphenoidal surgery is indicated only for patients who are resistant to, or intolerant of, dopamine agonist treatment. The cure rate for macroprolactinomas treated with surgery is poor (30%), and, therefore, drug treatment is first-line in tumours of all size. […] Standard pituitary irradiation leads to slow reduction (over years) of PRL in the majority of patients. […] Radiotherapy is not indicated in the management of patients with microprolactinomas. It is useful in the treatment of macroprolactinomas once the tumour has been shrunken away from the chiasm, only if the tumour is resistant.”

“Acromegaly is the clinical condition resulting from prolonged excessive GH and hence IGF-1 secretion in adults. GH secretion is characterized by blunting of pulsatile secretion and failure of GH to become undetectable during the 24h day, unlike normal controls. […] *Prevalence 40-86 cases/million population. Annual incidence of new cases in the UK is 4/million population. *Onset is insidious, and there is, therefore, often a considerable delay between onset of clinical features and diagnosis. Most cases are diagnosed at 40-60 years. […] Pituitary gigantism [is] [t]he clinical syndrome resulting from excess GH secretion in children prior to fusion of the epiphyses. […] growth velocity without premature pubertal manifestations should arouse suspicion of pituitary gigantism. […] Causes of acromegaly[:] *Pituitary adenoma (>99% of cases). Macroadenomas 60-80%, microadenomas 20-40%. […] The clinical features arise from the effects of excess GH/IGF-1, excess PRL in some (as there is co-secretion of PRL in a minority (30%) of tumours […] and the tumour mass. [Signs and symptoms:] * sweating -> 80% of patients. *Headaches […] *Tiredness and lethargy. *Joint pains. *Change in ring or shoe size. *Facial appearance. Coarse features […] enlarged nose […] prognathism […] interdental separation. […] Enlargement of hands and feet […] [Complications:] *Hypertension (40%). *Insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance (40%)/diabetes mellitus (20%). *Obstructive sleep apnea – due to soft tissue swelling […] Ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.”

“Management of acromegaly[:] The management strategy depends on the individual patient and also on the tumour size. Lowering of GH is essential in all situations […] Transsphenoidal surgery […] is usually the first line for treatment in most centres. *Reported cure rates vary: 40-91% for microadenomas and 10-48% for macroadenomas, depending on surgical expertise. […] Using the definition of post-operative cure as mean GH <2.5 micrograms/L, the reported recurrence rate is low (6% at 5 years). Radiotherapy […] is usually reserved for patients following unsuccessful transsphenoidal surgery, only occasionally is it used as [primary] therapy. […] normalization of mean GH may take several years and, during this time, adjunctive medical treatment (usually with somatostatin analogues) is required. […] Radiotherapy can induce GH deficiency which may need GH therapy. […] Somatostatin analogues lead to suppresion of GH secretion in 20-60% of patients with acromegaly. […] some patients are partial responders, and although somatostatin analogues will lead to lowering of mean GH, they do not suppress to normal despite dose escalation. These drugs may be used as [primary] therapy where the tumour does not cause mass effects or in patients who have received surgery and/or radiotherapy who have elevated mean GH. […] Dopamine agonists […] lead to lowering of GH levels but, very rarely, lead to normalization of GH or IGF-1 (<30%). They may be helpful, particularly if there is coexistent secretion of PRL, and, in these cases, there may be significant tumour shrinkage. […] GH receptor antagonists [are] [i]ndicated for somatostatin non-responders.”

“Cushing’s syndrome is an illness resulting from excess cortisol secretion, which has a high mortality if left untreated. There are several causes of hypercortisolaemia which must be differentiated, and the commonest cause is iatrogenic (oral, inhaled, or topical steroids). […] ACTH-dependent Cushing’s must be differentiated from ACTH-independent disease (usually due to an adrenal adenoma, or, rarely, carcinoma […]). Once a diagnosis of ACTH-dependent disease has been established, it is important to differentiate between pituitary-dependent (Cushing’s disease) and ectopic secretion. […] [Cushing’s disease is rare;] annual incidence approximately 2/million. The vast majority of Cushing’s syndrome is due to a pituitary ACTH-secreting corticotroph microadenoma. […] The features of Cushing’s syndrome are progressive and may be present for several years prior to diagnosis. […] *Facial appearance – round plethoric complexion, acne and hirsutism, thinning of scalp hair. *Weight gain – truncal obesity, buffalo hump […] *Skin – thin and fragile […] easy bruising […] *Proximal muscle weakness. *Mood disturbance – labile, depression, insomnia, psychosis. *Menstrual disturbance. *Low libido and impotence. […] Associated features [include:] *Hypertension (>50%) due to mineralocorticoid effects of cortisol […] *Impaired glucose tolerance/diabetes mellitus (30%). *Osteopenia and osteoporosis […] *Vascular disease […] *Susceptibility to infections. […] Cushing’s is associated with a hypercoagulable state, with increased cardiovascular thrombotic risks. […] Hypercortisolism suppresses the thyroidal, gonadal, and GH axes, leading to lowered levels of TSH and thyroid hormones as well as reduced gonadotrophins, gonadal steroids, and GH.”

“Treatment of Cushing’s disease[:] Transsphenoidal surgery [is] the first-line option in most cases. […] Pituitary radiotherapy [is] usually administered as second-line treatment, following unsuccessful transsphenoidal surgery. […] Medical treatment [is] indicated during the preoperative preparation of patients or while awaiting radiotherapy to be effective or if surgery or radiotherapy are contraindicated. *Inhibitors of steroidogenesis: metyrapone is usually used first-line, but ketoconazole should be used as first-line in children […] Disadvantage of these agents inhibiting steroidogenesis is the need to increase the dose to maintain control, as ACTH secretion will increase as cortisol concentrations decrease. […] Successful treatment (surgery or radiotherapy) of Cushing’s disease leads to cortisol deficiency and, therefore, glucocorticoid replacement therapy is essential. […] *Untreated [Cushing’s] disease leads to an approximately 30-50% mortality at 5 years, owing to vascular disease and susceptibility to infections. *Treated Cushing’s syndrome has a good prognosis […] *Although the physical features and severe psychological disorders associated with Cushing’s improve or resolve within weeks or months of successful treatment, more subtle mood disturbance may persist for longer. Adults may also have impaired cognitive function. […] it is likely that there is an cardiovascular risk. *Osteoporosis will usually resolve in children but may not improve significantly in older patients. […] *Hypertension has been shown to resolve in 80% and diabetes mellitus in up to 70%. *Recent data suggests that mortality even with successful treatment of Cushing’s is increased significantly.”

“The term incidentaloma refers to an incidentally detected lesion that is unassociated with hormonal hyper- or hyposecretion and has a benign natural history. The increasingly frequent detection of these lesions with technological improvements and more widespread use of sophisticated imaging has led to a management challenge – which, if any, lesions need investigation and/or treatment, and what is the optimal follow-up strategy (if required at all)? […] *Imaging studies using MRI demonstrate pituitary microadenomas in approximately 10% of normal volunteers. […] Clinically significant pituitary tumours are present in about 1 in 1,000 patients. […] Incidentally detected microadenomas are very unlikely (<10%) to increase in size whereas larger incidentally detected meso- and macroadenomas are more likely (40-50%) to enlarge. Thus, conservative management in selected patients may be appropriate for microadenomas which are incidentally detected […]. Macroadenomas should be treated, if possible.”

“Non-functioning pituitary tumours […] are unassociated with clinical syndromes of anterior pituitary hormone excess. […] Non-functioning pituitary tumours (NFA) are the commonest pituitary macroadenoma. They represent around 28% of all pituitary tumours. […] 50% enlarge, if left untreated, at 5 years. […] Tumour behaviour is variable, with some tumours behaving in a very indolent, slow-growing manner and others invading the sphenoid and cavernous sinus. […] At diagnosis, approximately 50% of patients are gonadotrophin-deficient. […] The initial definitive management in virtually every case is surgical. This removes mass effects and may lead to some recovery of pituitary function in around 10%. […] The use of post-operative radiotherapy remains controversial. […] The regrowth rate at 10 years without radiotherapy approaches 45% […] administration of post-operative radiotherapy reduces this regrowth rate to <10%. […] however, there are sequelae to radiotherapy – with a significant long-term risk of hypopituitarism and a possible risk of visual deterioration and malignancy in the field of radiation. […] Unlike the case for GH- and PRL-secreting tumours, medical therapy for NFAs is usually unhelpful […] Gonadotrophinomas […] are tumours that arise from the gonadotroph cells of the pituitary gland and produce FSH, LH, or the α subunit. […] they are usually silent and unassociated with excess detectable secretion of LH and FSH […] [they] present in the same manner as other non-functioning pituitary tumours, with mass effects and hypopituitarism […] These tumours are managed as non-functioning tumours.”

“The posterior lobe of the pituitary gland arises from the forebrain and comprises up to 25% of the normal adult pituitary gland. It produces arginine vasopressin and oxytocin. […] Oxytoxin has no known role in ♂ […] In ♀, oxytoxin contracts the pregnant uterus and also causes breast duct smooth muscle contraction, leading to breast milk ejection during breastfeeding. […] However, oxytoxin deficiency has no known adverse effect on parturition or breastfeeding. […] Arginine vasopressin is the major determinant of renal water excretion and, therefore, fluid balance. It’s main action is to reduce free water clearance. […] Many substances modulate vasopressin secretion, including the catecholamines and opioids. *The main site of action of vasopressin is in the collecting duct and the thick ascending loop of Henle […] Diabetes Insipidus (DI) […] is defined as the passage of large volumes (>3L/24h) of dilute urine (osmolality <300mOsm/kg). [It may be] [d]ue to deficiency of circulating arginine vasopressin [or] [d]ue to renal resistance to vasopressin.” […lots of other causes as well – trauma, tumours, inflammation, infection, vascular, drugs, genetic conditions…]

Hyponatraemia […] Incidence *1-6% of hospital admissions Na<130mmol/L. *15-22% hospital admissions Na<135mmol/L. […] True clinically apparent hyponatraemia is associated with either excess water or salt deficiency. […] Features *Depend on the underlying cause and also on the rate of development of hyponatraemia. May develop once sodium reaches 115mmol/L or earlier if the fall is rapid. Level at 100mmol/L or less is life-threatening. *Features of excess water are mainly neurological because of brain injury […] They include confusion and headache, progressing to seizures and coma. […] SIADH [Syndrome of Inappropriate ADH, US] is a common cause of hyponatraemia. […] The elderly are more prone to SIADH, as they are unable to suppress ADH as efficiently […] ↑ risk of hyponatraemia with SSRIs. […] rapid overcorrection of hyponatraemia may cause central pontine myelinolysis (demyelination).”

“The hypothalamus releases hormones that act as releasing hormones at the anterior pituitary gland. […] The commonest syndrome to be associated with the hypothalamus is abnormal GnRH secretion, leading to reduced gonadotrophin secretion and hypogonadism. Common causes are stress, weight loss, and excessive exercise.”

January 14, 2018 Posted by | Books, Cancer/oncology, Cardiology, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology | Leave a comment

Endocrinology (part I – thyroid)

Handbooks like these are difficult to blog, but I decided to try anyway. The first 100 pages or so of the book deals with the thyroid gland. Some observations of interest below.

“Biosynthesis of thyroid hormones requires iodine as substrate. […] The thyroid is the only source of T4. The thyroid secretes 20% of circulating T3; the remainder is generated in extraglandular tissues by the conversion of T4 to T3 […] In the blood, T4 and T3 are almost entirely bound to plasma proteins. […] Only the free or unbound hormone is available to tissues. The metabolic state correlates more closely with the free than the total hormone concentration in the plasma. The relatively weak binding of T3 accounts for its more rapid onset and offset of action. […] The levels of thyroid hormone in the blood are tightly controlled by feedback mechanisms involved in the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis“.

“Annual check of thyroid function [is recommended] in the annual review of diabetic patients.”

“The term thyrotoxicosis denotes the clinical, physiological, and biochemical findings that result when the tissues are exposed to excess thyroid hormone. It can arise in a variety of ways […] It is essential to establish a specific diagnosis […] The term hyperthyroidism should be used to denote only those conditions in which hyperfunction of the thyroid leads to thyrotoxicosis. […] [Thyrotoxicosis is] 10 x more common in ♀ than in ♂ in the UK. Prevalence is approximately 2% of the ♀ population. […] Subclinical hyperthyroidism is defined as low serum thyrotropin (TSH) concentration in patients with normal levels of T4 and T3. Subtle symptoms and signs of thyrotoxicosis may be present. […] There is epidemiological evidence that subclinical hyperthyroidism is a risk factor for the development of atrial fibrillation or osteoporosis.1 Meta-analyses suggest a 41% increase in all-cause mortality.2 […] Thyroid crisis [storm] represents a rare, but life-threatening, exacerbation of the manifestations of thyrotoxicosis. […] the condition is associated with a significant mortality (30-50%, depending on series) […]. Thyroid crisis develops in hyperthyroid patients who: *Have an acute infection. *Undergo thyroidal or non-thyroidal surgery or (rarely) radioiodine treatment.”

“[Symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism (all forms):] *Hyperactivity, irritability, altered mood, insomnia. *Heat intolerance, sweating. […] *Fatigue, weakness. *Dyspnoea. *Weight loss with appetite (weight gain in 10% of patients). *Pruritus. […] *Thirst and polyuria. *Oligomenorrhoea or amenorrhoea, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction (50% of men may have sexual dysfunction). *Warm, moist skin. […] *Hair loss. *Muscle weakness and wasting. […] Manifestations of Graves’s disease (in addition to [those factors already mentioned include:]) *Diffuse goitre. *Ophthalmopathy […] A feeling of grittiness and discomfort in the eye. *Retrobulbar pressure or pain, eyelid lag or retraction. […] *Exophthalmos (proptosis) […] Optic neuropathy.”

“Two alternative regimens are practiced for Graves’s disease: dose titration and block and replace. […] The [primary] aim [of the dose titration regime] is to achieve a euthyroid state with relatively high drug doses and then to maintain euthyroidism with a low stable dose. […] This regimen has a lower rate of side effects than the block and replace regimen. The treatment is continued for 18 months, as this appears to represent the length of therapy which is generally optimal in producing the remission rate of up to 40% at 5 years after discontinuing therapy. *Relapses are most likely to occur within the first year […] Men have a higher recurrence rate than women. *Patients with multinodular goitres and thyrotoxicosis always relapse on cessation of antithyroid medication, and definite treatment with radioiodine or surgery is usually advised. […] Block and replace regimen *After achieving a euthyroid state on carbimazole alone, carbimazole at a dose of 40mg daily, together with T4 at a dose of 100 micrograms, can be prescribed. This is usually continued for 6 months. *The main advantages are fewer hospital visits for checks of thyroid function and shorter duration of treatment.”

“Radioiodine treatment[:] Indications: *Definite treatment of multinodular goitre or adenoma. *Relapsed Graves’s disease. […] *Radioactive iodine-131 is administered orally as a capsule or a drink. *There is no universal agreement regarding the optimal dose. […] The recommendation is to administer enough radioiodine to achieve euthyroidism, with the acceptance of a moderate rate of hypothyroidism, e.g. 15-20% at 2 years. […] In general, 50-70% of patients have restored normal thyroid function within 6-8 weeks of receiving radioiodine. […] The prevalence of hypothyroidism is about 50% at 10 years and continues to increase thereafter.”

“Thyrotoxicosis occurs in about 0.2% of pregnancies. […] *Diagnosis of thyrotoxicosis during pregnancy may be difficult or delayed. *Physiological changes of pregnancy are similar to those of hyperthyroidism. […] 5-7% of ♀ develop biochemical evidence of thyroid dysfunction after delivery. An incidence is seen in patients with type I diabetes mellitus (25%) […] One-third of affected ♀ with post-partum thyroiditis develop symptoms of hypothyroidism […] There is a suggestion of an risk of post-partum depression in those with hypothyroidism. […] *The use of iodides and radioiodine is contraindicated in pregnancy. *Surgery is rarely performed in pregnancy. It is reserved for patients not responding to ATDs [antithyroid drugs, US]. […] Hyperthyroid ♀ who want to conceive should attain euthyroidism before conception since uncontrolled hyperthyroidism is associated with an an risk of congenital abnormalities (stillbirth and cranial synostosis are the most serious complications).”

“Nodular thyroid disease denotes the presence of single or multiple palpable or non-palpable nodules within the thyroid gland. […] *Clinically apparent thyroid nodules are evident in ~5% of the UK population. […] Thyroid nodules always raise the concern of cancer, but <5% are cancerous. […] clinically detectable thyroid cancer is rare. It accounts for <1% of all cancer and <0.5% of cancer deaths. […] Thyroid cancers are commonest in adults aged 40-50 and rare in children [incidence of 0.2-5 per million per year] and adolescents. […] History should concentrate on: *An enlarging thyroid mass. *A previous history of radiation […] family history of thyroid cancer. *The development of hoarseness or dysphagia. *Nodules are more likely to be malignant in patients <20 or >60 years. *Thyroid nodules are more common in ♀ but more likely to be malignant in ♂. […] Physical findings suggestive of malignancy include a firm or hard, non-tender nodule, a recent history of enlargement, fixation to adjacent tissue, and the presence of regional lymphadenopathy. […] Thyroid nodules may be described as adenomas if the follicular cell differentiation is enclosed within a capsule; adenomatous when the lesions are circumscribed but not encapsulated. *The most common benign thyroid tumours are the nodules of multinodular goitres (colloid nodules) and follicular adenomas. […] Autonomously functioning thyroid adenomas (or nodules) are benign tumours that produce thyroid hormone. Clinically, they present as a single nodule that is hyperfunctioning […], sometimes causing hyperthyroidism.”

“Inflammation of the thyroid gland often leads to a transient thyrotoxicosis followed by hypothyroidism. Overt hypothyroidism caused by autoimmunity has two main forms: Hashimoto’s (goitrous) thyroiditis and atrophic thyroiditis. […] Hashimoto’s thyroiditis [is] [c]haracterized by a painless, variable-sized goitre with rubbery consistency and an irregular surface. […] Occasionally, patients present with thyrotoxicosis in association with a thyroid gland that is unusually firm […] Atrophic thyroiditis [p]robably indicates end-stage thyroid disease. These patients do not have goitre and are antibody [positive]. […] The long-term prognosis of patients with chronic thyroiditis is good because hypothyroidism can easily be corrected with T4 and the goitre is usually not of sufficient size to cause local symptoms. […] there is an association between this condition and thyroid lymphoma (rare, but risk by a factor of 70).”

“Hypothyroidism results from a variety of abnormalities that cause insufficient secretion of thyroid hormones […] The commonest cause is autoimmune thyroid disease. Myxoedema is severe hypothyroidism [which leads to] thickening of the facial features and a doughy induration of the skin. [The clinical picture of hypothyroidism:] *Insidious, non-specific onset. *Fatigue, lethargy, constipation, cold intolerance, muscle stiffness, cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome […] *Slowing of intellectual and motor activities. *↓ appetite and weight gain. *Dry skin; hair loss. […] [The term] [s]ubclinical hypothyroidism […] is used to denote raised TSH levels in the presence of normal concentrations of free thyroid hormones. *Treatment is indicated if the biochemistry is sustained in patients with a past history of radioiodine treatment for thyrotoxicosis or [positive] thyroid antibodies as, in these situations, progression to overt hypothyroidism is almost inevitable […] There is controversy over the advantages of T4 treatment in patients with [negative] thyroid antibodies and no previous radioiodine treatment. *If treatment is not given, follow-up with annual thyroid function tests is important. *There is no generally accepted consensus of when patients should receive treatment. […] *Thyroid hormone replacement with synthetic levothyroxine remains the treatment of choice in primary hypothyroidism. […] levothyroxine has a narrow therapeutic index […] Elevated TSH despite thyroxine replacement is common, most usually due to lack of compliance.”

 

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Books, Cancer/oncology, Diabetes, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology | Leave a comment

Occupational Epidemiology (II)

Some more observations from the book below.

“RD [Retinal detachment] is the separation of the neurosensory retina from the underlying retinal pigment epithelium.1 RD is often preceded by posterior vitreous detachment — the separation of the posterior vitreous from the retina as a result of vitreous degeneration and shrinkage2 — which gives rise to the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes. Late symptoms of RD may include visual field defects (shadows, curtains) or even blindness. The success rate of RD surgery has been reported to be over 90%;3 however, a loss of visual acuity is frequently reported by patients, particularly if the macula is involved.4 Since the natural history of RD can be influenced by early diagnosis, patients experiencing symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment are advised to undergo an ophthalmic examination.5 […] Studies of the incidence of RD give estimates ranging from 6.3 to 17.9 cases per 100 000 person-years.6 […] Age is a well-known risk factor for RD. In most studies the peak incidence was recorded among subjects in their seventh decade of life. A secondary peak at a younger age (20–30 years) has been identified […] attributed to RD among highly myopic patients.6 Indeed, depending on the severity,
myopia is associated with a four- to ten-fold increase in risk of RD.7 [Diabetics with retinopathy are also at increased risk of RD, US] […] While secondary prevention of RD is current practice, no effective primary prevention strategy is available at present. The idea is widespread among practitioners that RD is not preventable, probably the consequence of our historically poor understanding of the aetiology of RD. For instance, on the website of the Mayo Clinic — one of the top-ranked hospitals for ophthalmology in the US — it is possible to read that ‘There’s no way to prevent retinal detachment’.9

“Intraocular pressure […] is influenced by physical activity. Dynamic exercise causes an acute reduction in intraocular pressure, whereas physical fitness is associated with a lower baseline value.29 Conversely, a sudden rise in intraocular pressure has been reported during the Valsalva manoeuvre.30-32 […] Occupational physical activity may […] cause both short- and long-term variations in intraocular pressure. On the one hand, physically demanding jobs may contribute to decreased baseline levels by increasing physical fitness but, on the other hand, lifting tasks may cause an important acute increase in pressure. Moreover, the eye of a manual worker who performs repeated lifting tasks involving the Valsalva manoeuvre may undergo several dramatic changes in intraocular pressure within a single working shift. […] A case-control study was carried out to test the hypothesis that repeated lifting tasks involving the Valsalva manoeuvre could be a risk factor for RD. […] heavy lifting was a strong risk factor for RD (OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.6–13). Intriguingly, body mass index (BMI) also showed a clear association with RD (top quartile: OR 6.8, 95% CI 1.6–29). […] Based on their findings, the authors concluded that heavy occupational lifting (involving the Valsalva manoeuvre) may be a relevant risk factor for RD in myopics.

“The proportion of the world’s population over 60 is forecast to double from 11.6% in 2012 to 21.8% in 2050.1 […] the International Labour Organization notes that, worldwide, just 40% of the working age population has legal pension coverage, and only 26% of the working population is effectively covered by old-age pension schemes. […] in less developed regions, labour force participation in those over 65 is much higher than in more developed regions.8 […] Longer working lives increase cumulative exposures, as well as increasing the time since exposure — important when there is a long latency period between exposure and resultant disease. Further, some exposures may have a greater effect when they occur to older workers, e.g. carcinogens that are promoters rather than initiators. […] Older workers tend to have more chronic health conditions. […] Older workers have fewer injuries, but take longer to recover. […] For some ‘knowledge workers’, like physicians, even a relatively minor cognitive decline […] might compromise their competence. […]  Most past studies have treated age as merely a confounding variable and rarely, if ever, have considered it an effect modifier. […]  Jex and colleagues24 argue that conceptually we should treat age as the variable of interest so that other variables are viewed as moderating the impact of age. […] The single best improvement to epidemiological research on ageing workers is to conduct longitudinal studies, including follow-up of workers into retirement. Cross-sectional designs almost certainly incur the healthy survivor effect, since unhealthy workers may retire early.25 […] Analyses should distinguish ageing per se, genetic factors, work exposures, and lifestyle in order to understand their relative and combined effects on health.”

“Musculoskeletal disorders have long been recognized as an important source of morbidity and disability in many occupational populations.1,2 Most musculoskeletal disorders, for most people, are characterized by recurrent episodes of pain that vary in severity and in their consequences for work. Most episodes subside uneventfully within days or weeks, often without any intervention, though about half of people continue to experience some pain and functional limitations after 12 months.3,4 In working populations, musculoskeletal disorders may lead to a spell of sickness absence. Sickness absence is increasingly used as a health parameter of interest when studying the consequences of functional limitations due to disease in occupational groups. Since duration of sickness absence contributes substantially to the indirect costs of illness, interventions increasingly address return to work (RTW).5 […] The Clinical Standards Advisory Group in the United Kingdom reported RTW within 2 weeks for 75% of all low back pain (LBP) absence episodes and suggested that approximately 50% of all work days lost due to back pain in the working population are from the 85% of people who are off work for less than 7 days.6″

Any RTW curve over time can be described with a mathematical Weibull function.15 This Weibull function is characterized by a scale parameter λ and a shape parameter k. The scale parameter λ is a function of different covariates that include the intervention effect, preferably expressed as hazard ratio (HR) between the intervention group and the reference group in a Cox’s proportional hazards regression model. The shape parameter k reflects the relative increase or decrease in survival time, thus expressing how much the RTW rate will decrease with prolonged sick leave. […] a HR as measure of effect can be introduced as a covariate in the scale parameter λ in the Weibull model and the difference in areas under the curve between the intervention model and the basic model will give the improvement in sickness absence days due to the intervention. By introducing different times of starting the intervention among those workers still on sick leave, the impact of timing of enrolment can be evaluated. Subsequently, the estimated changes in total sickness absence days can be expressed in a benefit/cost ratio (BC ratio), where benefits are the costs saved due to a reduction in sickness absence and costs are the expenditures relating to the intervention.15″

“A crucial factor in understanding why interventions are effective or not is the timing of the enrolment of workers on sick leave into the intervention. The RTW pattern over time […] has important consequences for appropriate timing of the best window for effective clinical and occupational interventions. The evidence presented by Palmer and colleagues clearly suggests that [in the context of LBP] a stepped care approach is required. In the first step of rapid RTW, most workers will return to work even without specific interventions. Simple, short interventions involving effective coordination and cooperation between primary health care and the workplace will be sufficient to help the majority of workers to achieve an early RTW. In the second step, more expensive, structured interventions are reserved for those who are having difficulties returning, typically between 4 weeks and 3 months. However, to date there is little evidence on the optimal timing of such interventions for workers on sick leave due to LBP.14,15 […] the cost-benefits of a structured RTW intervention among workers on sick leave will be determined by the effectiveness of the intervention, the natural speed of RTW in the target population, the timing of the enrolment of workers into the intervention, and the costs of both the intervention and of a day of sickness absence. […] The cost-effectiveness of a RTW intervention will be determined by the effectiveness of the intervention, the costs of the intervention and of a day of sickness absence, the natural course of RTW in the target population, the timing of the enrolment of workers into the RTW intervention, and the time lag before the intervention takes effect. The latter three factors are seldom taken into consideration in systematic reviews and guidelines for management of RTW, although their impact may easily be as important  as classical measures of effectiveness, such as effect size or HR.”

“In order to obtain information of the highest quality and utility, surveillance schemes have to be designed, set up, and managed with the same methodological rigour as high-calibre prospective cohort studies. Whether surveillance schemes are voluntary or not, considerable effort has to be invested to ensure a satisfactory and sufficient denominator, the best numerator quality, and the most complete ascertainment. Although the force of statute is relied upon in some surveillance schemes, even in these the initial and continuing motivation of the reporters (usually physicians) is paramount. […] There is a surveillance ‘pyramid’ within which the patient’s own perception is at the base, the GP is at a higher level, and the clinical specialist is close to the apex. The source of the surveillance reports affects the numerator because case severity and case mix differ according to the level in the pyramid.19 Although incidence rate estimates may be expected to be lower at the higher levels in the surveillance pyramid this is not necessarily always the case. […] Although surveillance undertaken by physicians who specialize in the organ system concerned or in occupational disease (or in both aspects) may be considered to be the medical ‘gold standard’ it can suffer from a more limited patient catchment because of various referral filters. Surveillance by GPs will capture numerator cases as close to the base of the pyramid as possible, but may suffer from greater diagnostic variation than surveillance by specialists. Limiting recruitment to GPs with a special interest, and some training, in occupational medicine is a compromise between the two levels.20

“When surveillance is part of a statutory or other compulsory scheme then incident case identification is a continuous and ongoing process. However, when surveillance is voluntary, for a research objective, it may be preferable to sample over shorter, randomly selected intervals, so as to reduce the demands associated with the data collection and ‘reporting fatigue’. Evidence so far suggests that sampling over shorter time intervals results in higher incidence estimates than continuous sampling.21 […] Although reporting fatigue is an important consideration in tempering conclusions drawn from […] multilevel models, it is possible to take account of this potential bias in various ways. For example, when evaluating interventions, temporal trends in outcomes resulting from other exposures can be used to control for fatigue.23,24 The phenomenon of reporting fatigue may be characterized by an ‘excess of zeroes’ beyond what is expected of a Poisson distribution and this effect can be quantified.27 […] There are several considerations in determining incidence from surveillance data. It is possible to calculate an incidence rate based on the general population, on the population of working age, or on the total working population,19 since these denominator bases are generally readily available, but such rates are not the most useful in determining risk. Therefore, incidence rates are usually calculated in respect of specific occupations or industries.22 […] Ideally, incidence rates should be expressed in relation to quantitative estimates of exposure but most surveillance schemes would require additional data collection as special exercises to achieve this aim.” [for much more on these topics, see also M’ikanatha & Iskander’s book.]

“Estimates of lung cancer risk attributable to occupational exposures vary considerably by geographical area and depend on study design, especially on the exposure assessment method, but may account for around 5–20% of cancers among men, but less (<5%) among women;2 among workers exposed to (suspected) lung carcinogens, the percentage will be higher. […] most exposure to known lung carcinogens originates from occupational settings and will affect millions of workers worldwide.  Although it has been established that these agents are carcinogenic, only limited evidence is available about the risks encountered at much lower levels in the general population. […] One of the major challenges in community-based occupational epidemiological studies has been valid assessment of the occupational exposures experienced by the population at large. Contrary to the detailed information usually available for an industrial population (e.g. in a retrospective cohort study in a large chemical company) that often allows for quantitative exposure estimation, community-based studies […] have to rely on less precise and less valid estimates. The choice of method of exposure assessment to be applied in an epidemiological study depends on the study design, but it boils down to choosing between acquiring self-reported exposure, expert-based individual exposure assessment, or linking self-reported job histories with job-exposure matrices (JEMs) developed by experts. […] JEMs have been around for more than three decades.14 Their main distinction from either self-reported or expert-based exposure assessment methods is that exposures are no longer assigned at the individual subject level but at job or task level. As a result, JEMs make no distinction in assigned exposure between individuals performing the same job, or even between individuals performing a similar job in different companies. […] With the great majority of occupational exposures having a rather low prevalence (<10%) in the general population it is […] extremely important that JEMs are developed aiming at a highly specific exposure assessment so that only jobs with a high likelihood (prevalence) and intensity of exposure are considered to be exposed. Aiming at a high sensitivity would be disastrous because a high sensitivity would lead to an enormous number of individuals being assigned an exposure while actually being unexposed […] Combinations of the methods just described exist as well”.

“Community-based studies, by definition, address a wider range of types of exposure and a much wider range of encountered exposure levels (e.g. relatively high exposures in primary production but often lower in downstream use, or among indirectly exposed individuals). A limitation of single community-based studies is often the relatively low number of exposed individuals. Pooling across studies might therefore be beneficial. […] Pooling projects need careful planning and coordination, because the original studies were conducted for different purposes, at different time periods, using different questionnaires. This heterogeneity is sometimes perceived as a disadvantage but also implies variations that can be studied and thereby provide important insights. Every pooling project has its own dynamics but there are several general challenges that most pooling projects confront. Creating common variables for all studies can stretch from simple re-naming of variables […] or recoding of units […] to the re-categorization of national educational systems […] into years of formal education. Another challenge is to harmonize the different classification systems of, for example, diseases (e.g. International Classification of Disease (ICD)-9 versus ICD-10), occupations […], and industries […]. This requires experts in these respective fields as well as considerable time and money. Harmonization of data may mean losing some information; for example, ISCO-68 contains more detail than ISCO-88, which makes it possible to recode ISCO-68 to ISCO-88 with only a little loss of detail, but it is not possible to recode ISCO-88 to ISCO-68 without losing one or two digits in the job code. […] Making the most of the data may imply that not all studies will qualify for all analyses. For example, if a study did not collect data regarding lung cancer cell type, it can contribute to the overall analyses but not to the cell type-specific analyses. It is important to remember that the quality of the original data is critical; poor data do not become better by pooling.”

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Books, Cancer/oncology, Demographics, Epidemiology, Health Economics, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Statistics | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Mechanisms and Management of Diabetic Painful Distal Symmetrical Polyneuropathy.

“Although a number of the diabetic neuropathies may result in painful symptomatology, this review focuses on the most common: chronic sensorimotor distal symmetrical polyneuropathy (DSPN). It is estimated that 15–20% of diabetic patients may have painful DSPN, but not all of these will require therapy. […] Although the exact pathophysiological processes that result in diabetic neuropathic pain remain enigmatic, both peripheral and central mechanisms have been implicated, and extend from altered channel function in peripheral nerve through enhanced spinal processing and changes in many higher centers. A number of pharmacological agents have proven efficacy in painful DSPN, but all are prone to side effects, and none impact the underlying pathophysiological abnormalities because they are only symptomatic therapy. The two first-line therapies approved by regulatory authorities for painful neuropathy are duloxetine and pregabalin. […] All patients with DSPN are at increased risk of foot ulceration and require foot care, education, and if possible, regular podiatry assessment.”

“The neuropathies are the most common long-term microvascular complications of diabetes and affect those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with up to 50% of older type 2 diabetic patients having evidence of a distal neuropathy (1). These neuropathies are characterized by a progressive loss of nerve fibers affecting both the autonomic and somatic divisions of the nervous system. The clinical features of the diabetic neuropathies vary immensely, and only a minority are associated with pain. The major portion of this review will be dedicated to the most common painful neuropathy, chronic sensorimotor distal symmetrical polyneuropathy (DSPN). This neuropathy has major detrimental effects on its sufferers, confirming an increased risk of foot ulceration and Charcot neuroarthropathy as well as being associated with increased mortality (1).

In addition to DSPN, other rarer neuropathies may also be associated with painful symptoms including acute painful neuropathy that often follows periods of unstable glycemic control, mononeuropathies (e.g., cranial nerve palsies), radiculopathies, and entrapment neuropathies (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome). By far the most common presentation of diabetic polyneuropathy (over 90%) is typical DSPN or chronic DSPN. […] DSPN results in insensitivity of the feet that predisposes to foot ulceration (1) and/or neuropathic pain (painful DSPN), which can be disabling. […] The onset of DSPN is usually gradual or insidious and is heralded by sensory symptoms that start in the toes and then progress proximally to involve the feet and legs in a stocking distribution. When the disease is well established in the lower limbs in more severe cases, there is upper limb involvement, with a similar progression proximally starting in the fingers. As the disease advances further, motor manifestations, such as wasting of the small muscles of the hands and limb weakness, become apparent. In some cases, there may be sensory loss that the patient may not be aware of, and the first presentation may be a foot ulcer. Approximately 50% of patients with DSPN experience neuropathic symptoms in the lower limbs including uncomfortable tingling (dysesthesia), pain (burning; shooting or “electric-shock like”; lancinating or “knife-like”; “crawling”, or aching etc., in character), evoked pain (allodynia, hyperesthesia), or unusual sensations (such as a feeling of swelling of the feet or severe coldness of the legs when clearly the lower limbs look and feel fine, odd sensations on walking likened to “walking on pebbles” or “walking on hot sand,” etc.). There may be marked pain on walking that may limit exercise and lead to weight gain. Painful DSPN is characteristically more severe at night and often interferes with normal sleep (3). It also has a major impact on the ability to function normally (both mental and physical functioning, e.g., ability to maintain work, mood, and quality of life [QoL]) (3,4). […] The unremitting nature of the pain can be distressing, resulting in mood disorders including depression and anxiety (4). The natural history of painful DSPN has not been well studied […]. However, it is generally believed that painful symptoms may persist over the years (5), occasionally becoming less prominent as the sensory loss worsens (6).”

“There have been relatively few epidemiological studies that have specifically examined the prevalence of painful DSPN, which range from 10–26% (79). In a recent study of a large cohort of diabetic patients receiving community-based health care in northwest England (n = 15,692), painful DSPN assessed using neuropathy symptom and disability scores was found in 21% (7). In one population-based study from Liverpool, U.K., the prevalence of painful DSPN assessed by a structured questionnaire and examination was estimated at 16% (8). Notably, it was found that 12.5% of these patients had never reported their symptoms to their doctor and 39% had never received treatment for their pain (8), indicating that there may be considerable underdiagnosis and undertreatment of painful neuropathic symptoms compared with other aspects of diabetes management such as statin therapy and management of hypertension. Risk factors for DSPN per se have been extensively studied, and it is clear that apart from poor glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors play a prominent role (10): risk factors for painful DSPN are less well known.”

“A broad spectrum of presentations may occur in patients with DSPN, ranging from one extreme of the patient with very severe painful symptoms but few signs, to the other when patients may present with a foot ulcer having lost all sensation without ever having any painful or uncomfortable symptoms […] it is well recognized that the severity of symptoms may not relate to the severity of the deficit on clinical examination (1). […] Because DSPN is a diagnosis of exclusion, a careful clinical history and a peripheral neurological and vascular examination of the lower limbs are essential to exclude other causes of neuropathic pain and leg/foot pain such as peripheral vascular disease, arthritis, malignancy, alcohol abuse, spinal canal stenosis, etc. […] Patients with asymmetrical symptoms and/or signs (such as loss of an ankle jerk in one leg only), rapid progression of symptoms, or predominance of motor symptoms and signs should be carefully assessed for other causes of the findings.”

“The fact that diabetes induces neuropathy and that in a proportion of patients this is accompanied by pain despite the loss of input and numbness, suggests that marked changes occur in the processes of pain signaling in the peripheral and central nervous system. Neuropathic pain is characterized by ongoing pain together with exaggerated responses to painful and nonpainful stimuli, hyperalgesia, and allodynia. […] the changes seen suggest altered peripheral signaling and central compensatory changes perhaps driven by the loss of input. […] Very clear evidence points to the key role of changes in ion channels as a consequence of nerve damage and their roles in the disordered activity and transduction in damaged and intact fibers (50). Sodium channels depolarize neurons and generate an action potential. Following damage to peripheral nerves, the normal distribution of these channels along a nerve is disrupted by the neuroma and “ectopic” activity results from the accumulation of sodium channels at or around the site of injury. Other changes in the distribution and levels of these channels are seen and impact upon the pattern of neuronal excitability in the nerve. Inherited pain disorders arise from mutated sodium channels […] and polymorphisms in this channel impact on the level of pain in patients, indicating that inherited differences in channel function might explain some of the variability in pain between patients with DSPN (53). […] Where sodium channels act to generate action potentials, potassium channels serve as the molecular brakes of excitable cells, playing an important role in modulating neuronal hyperexcitability. The drug retigabine, a potassium channel opener acting on the channel (KV7, M-current) opener, blunts behavioral hypersensitivity in neuropathic rats (56) and also inhibits C and Aδ-mediated responses in dorsal horn neurons in both naïve and neuropathic rats (57), but has yet to reach the clinic as an analgesic”.

and C fibers terminate primarily in the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn where the large majority of neurons are nociceptive specific […]. Some of these neurons gain low threshold inputs after neuropathy and these cells project predominantly to limbic brain areas […] spinal cord neurons provide parallel outputs to the affective and sensory areas of the brain. Changes induced in these neurons by repeated noxious inputs underpin central sensitization where the resultant hyperexcitability of neurons leads to greater responses to all subsequent inputs — innocuous and noxious — expanded receptive fields and enhanced outputs to higher levels of the brain […] As a consequence of these changes in the sending of nociceptive information within the peripheral nerve and then the spinal cord, the information sent to the brain becomes amplified so that pain ratings become higher. Alongside this, the persistent input into the limbic brain areas such as the amygdala are likely to be causal in the comorbidities that patients often report due to ongoing painful inputs disrupting normal function and generating fear, depression, and sleep problems […]. Of course, many patients report that their pains are worse at night, which may be due to nocturnal changes in these central pain processing areas. […] overall, the mechanisms of pain in diabetic neuropathy extend from altered channel function in peripheral nerves through enhanced spinal processing and finally to changes in many higher centers”.

Pharmacological treatment of painful DSPN is not entirely satisfactory because currently available drugs are often ineffective and complicated by adverse events. Tricyclic compounds (TCAs) have been used as first-line agents for many years, but their use is limited by frequent side effects that may be central or anticholinergic, including dry mouth, constipation, sweating, blurred vision, sedation, and orthostatic hypotension (with the risk of falls particularly in elderly patients). […] Higher doses have been associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, and caution should be taken in any patient with a history of cardiovascular disease (65). […] The selective serotonin noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) duloxetine and venlafaxine have been used for the management of painful DSPN (65). […] there have been several clinical trials involving pregabalin in painful DSPN, and these showed clear efficacy in management of painful DSPN (69). […] The side effects include dizziness, somnolence, peripheral edema, headache, and weight gain.”

A major deficiency in the area of the treatment of neuropathic pain in diabetes is the relative lack of comparative or combination studies. Virtually all previous trials have been of active agents against placebo, whereas there is a need for more studies that compare a given drug with an active comparator and indeed lower-dose combination treatments (64). […] The European Federation of Neurological Societies proposed that first-line treatments might comprise of TCAs, SNRIs, gabapentin, or pregabalin (71). The U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on the management of neuropathic pain in nonspecialist settings proposed that duloxetine should be the first-line treatment with amitriptyline as an alternative, and pregabalin as a second-line treatment for painful DSPN (72). […] this recommendation of duloxetine as the first-line therapy was not based on efficacy but rather cost-effectiveness. More recently, the American Academy of Neurology recommended that pregabalin is “established as effective and should be offered for relief of [painful DSPN] (Level A evidence)” (73), whereas venlafaxine, duloxetine, amitriptyline, gabapentin, valproate, opioids, and capsaicin were considered to be “probably effective and should be considered for treatment of painful DSPN (Level B evidence)” (63). […] this recommendation was primarily based on achievement of greater than 80% completion rate of clinical trials, which in turn may be influenced by the length of the trials. […] the International Consensus Panel on Diabetic Neuropathy recommended TCAs, duloxetine, pregabalin, and gabapentin as first-line agents having carefully reviewed all the available literature regarding the pharmacological treatment of painful DSPN (65), the final drug choice tailored to the particular patient based on demographic profile and comorbidities. […] The initial selection of a particular first-line treatment will be influenced by the assessment of contraindications, evaluation of comorbidities […], and cost (65). […] caution is advised to start at lower than recommended doses and titrate gradually.”

ii. Sex Differences in All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality, Hospitalization for Individuals With and Without Diabetes, and Patients With Diabetes Diagnosed Early and Late.

“A challenge with type 2 diabetes is the late diagnosis of the disease because many individuals who meet the criteria are often asymptomatic. Approximately 183 million people, or half of those who have diabetes, are unaware they have the disease (1). Furthermore, type 2 diabetes can be present for 9 to 12 years before being diagnosed and, as a result, complications are often present at the time of diagnosis (3). […] Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common comorbidity associated with diabetes, and with 50% of those with diabetes dying of CVD it is the most common cause of death (1). […] Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest age-standardized prevalence of diabetes in Canada (2), and the age-standardized mortality and hospitalization rates for CVD, AMI, and stroke are some of the highest in the country (21,22). A better understanding of mortality and hospitalizations associated with diabetes for males and females is important to support diabetes prevention and management. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to compare the risk of all-cause, CVD, AMI, and stroke mortality and hospitalizations for males and females with and without diabetes and those with early and late diagnoses of diabetes. […] We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study including 73,783 individuals aged 25 years or older in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (15,152 with diabetes; 9,517 with late diagnoses). […] mean age at baseline was 60.1 years (SD, 14.3 years). […] Diabetes was classified as being diagnosed “early” and “late” depending on when diabetes-related comorbidities developed. Individuals early in the disease course would not have any diabetes-related comorbidities at the time of their case dates. On the contrary, a late-diagnosed diabetes patient would have comorbidities related to diabetes at the time of diagnosis.”

“For males, 20.5% (n = 7,751) had diabetes, whereas 20.6% (n = 7,401) of females had diabetes. […] Males and females with diabetes were more likely to die, to be younger at death, to have a shorter survival time, and to be admitted to the hospital than males and females without diabetes (P < 0.01). When admitted to the hospital, individuals with diabetes stayed longer than individuals without diabetes […] Both males and females with late diagnoses were significantly older at the time of diagnosis than those with early diagnoses […]. Males and females with late diagnoses of diabetes were more likely to be deceased at the end of the study period compared with those with early diagnoses […]. Those with early diagnoses were younger at death compared with those with late diagnoses (P < 0.01); however, median survival time for both males and females with early diagnoses was significantly longer than that of those with late diagnoses (P < 0.01). During the study period, males and females with late diabetes diagnoses were more likely to be hospitalized (P < 0.01) and have a longer length of hospital stay compared with those with early diagnoses (P < 0.01).”

“[T]he hospitalization results show that an early diagnosis […] increase the risk of all-cause, CVD, and AMI hospitalizations compared with individuals without diabetes. After adjusting for covariates, males with late diabetes diagnoses had an increased risk of all-cause and CVD mortality and hospitalizations compared with males without diabetes. Similar findings were found for females. A late diabetes diagnosis was positively associated with CVD mortality (HR 6.54 [95% CI 4.80–8.91]) and CVD hospitalizations (5.22 [4.31–6.33]) for females, and the risk was significantly higher compared with their male counterparts (3.44 [2.47–4.79] and 3.33 [2.80–3.95]).”

iii. Effect of Type 1 Diabetes on Carotid Structure and Function in Adolescents and Young Adults.

I may have discussed some of the results of this study before, but a search of the blog told me that I have not covered the study itself. I thought it couldn’t hurt to add a link and a few highlights here.

“Type 1 diabetes mellitus causes increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in adults. We evaluated IMT in young subjects with type 1 diabetes. […] Participants with type 1 diabetes (N = 402) were matched to controls (N = 206) by age, sex, and race or ethnicity. Anthropometric and laboratory values, blood pressure, and IMT were measured.”

“Youth with type 1 diabetes had thicker bulb IMT, which remained significantly different after adjustment for demographics and cardiovascular risk factors. […] Because the rate of progression of IMT in healthy subjects (mean age, 40 years) in the Bogalusa Heart study was 0.017–0.020 mm/year (4), our difference of 0.016 mm suggests that our type 1 diabetic subjects had a vascular age 1 year advanced from their chronological age. […] adjustment for HbA1c ablated the case-control difference in IMT, suggesting that the thicker carotid IMT in the subjects with diabetes could be attributed to diabetes-related hyperglycemia.”

“In the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) study, progression of IMT over the course of 6 years was faster in subjects with type 1 diabetes, yielding a thicker final IMT in cases (5). There was no difference in IMT at baseline. However, DCCT/EDIC did not image the bulb, which is likely the earliest site of thickening according to the Bogalusa Heart Study […] Our analyses reinforce the importance of imaging the carotid bulb, often the site of earliest detectible subclinical atherosclerosis in youth. The DCCT/EDIC study demonstrated that the intensive treatment group had a slower progression of IMT (5) and that mean HbA1c levels explained most of the differences in IMT progression between treatment groups (12). One longitudinal study of youth found children with type 1 diabetes who had progression of IMT over the course of 2 years had higher HbA1c (13). Our data emphasize the role of diabetes-related hyperglycemia in increasing IMT in youth with type 1 diabetes. […] In summary, our study provides novel evidence that carotid thickness is increased in youth with type 1 diabetes compared with healthy controls and that this difference is not accounted for by traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Better control of diabetes-related hyperglycemia may be needed to reduce future cardiovascular disease.”

iv. Factors Associated With Microalbuminuria in 7,549 Children and Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes in the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry.

“Elevated urinary albumin excretion is an early sign of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends screening for microalbuminuria (MA) annually in people with type 1 diabetes after 10 years of age and 5 years of diabetes duration, with a diagnosis of MA requiring two of three tests to be abnormal (1). Early diagnosis of MA is important because effective treatments exist to limit the progression of DKD (1). However, although reduced rates of MA have been reported over the past few decades in some (24) but not all (5,6) studies, it has been suggested that the development of proteinuria has not been prevented but, rather, has been delayed by ∼10 years and that further improvements in care are needed (7).

Limited data exist on the frequency of a clinical diagnosis of MA in the pediatric population with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. Our aim was to use the data from the T1D Exchange clinic registry to assess factors associated with MA in 7,549 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.”

“The analysis cohort included 7,549 participants, with mean age of 13.8 ± 3.5 years (range 2 to 19), mean age at type 1 diabetes onset of 6.9 ± 3.9 years, and mean diabetes duration of 6.5 ± 3.7 years; 49% were female. The racial/ethnic distribution was 78% non-Hispanic white, 6% non-Hispanic black, 10% Hispanic, and 5% other. The average of all HbA1c levels (for up to the past 13 years) was 8.4 ± 1.3% (69 ± 13.7 mmol/mol) […]. MA was present in 329 of 7,549 (4.4%) participants, with a higher frequency associated with longer diabetes duration, higher mean glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level, older age, female sex, higher diastolic blood pressure (BP), and lower BMI […] increasing age [was] mainly associated with an increase in the frequency of MA when HbA1c was ≥9.5% (≥80 mmol/mol). […] MA was uncommon (<2%) among participants with HbA1c <7.5% (<58 mmol/mol). Of those with MA, only 36% were receiving ACEI/ARB treatment. […] Our results provide strong support for prior literature in emphasizing the importance of good glycemic and BP control, particularly as diabetes duration increases, in order to reduce the risk of DKD.

v. Secular Changes in the Age-Specific Prevalence of Diabetes Among U.S. Adults: 1988–2010.

“This study included 22,586 adults sampled in three periods of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–1994, 1999–2004, and 2005–2010). Diabetes was defined as having self-reported diagnosed diabetes or having a fasting plasma glucose level ≥126 mg/dL or HbA1c ≥6.5% (48 mmol/mol). […] The number of adults with diabetes increased by 75% from 1988–1994 to 2005–2010. After adjusting for sex, race/ethnicity, and education level, the prevalence of diabetes increased over the two decades across all age-groups. Younger adults (20–34 years of age) had the lowest absolute increase in diabetes prevalence of 1.0%, followed by middle-aged adults (35–64) at 2.7% and older adults (≥65) at 10.0% (all P < 0.001). Comparing 2005–2010 with 1988–1994, the adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) by age-group were 2.3, 1.3, and 1.5 for younger, middle-aged, and older adults, respectively (all P < 0.05). After additional adjustment for body mass index (BMI), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), or waist circumference (WC), the adjusted PR remained statistically significant only for adults ≥65 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS During the past two decades, the prevalence of diabetes increased across all age-groups, but adults ≥65 years of age experienced the largest increase in absolute change. Obesity, as measured by BMI, WHtR, or WC, was strongly associated with the increase in diabetes prevalence, especially in adults <65.”

The crude prevalence of diabetes changed from 8.4% (95% CI 7.7–9.1%) in 1988–1994 to 12.1% (11.3–13.1%) in 2005–2010, with a relative increase of 44.8% (28.3–61.3%) between the two survey periods. There was less change of prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes (P = 0.053). […] The estimated number (in millions) of adults with diabetes grew from 14.9 (95% CI 13.3–16.4) in 1988–1994 to 26.1 (23.8–28.3) in 2005–2010, resulting in an increase of 11.2 prevalent cases (a 75.5% [52.1–98.9%] increase). Younger adults contributed 5.5% (2.5–8.4%), middle-aged adults contributed 52.9% (43.4–62.3%), and older adults contributed 41.7% (31.9–51.4%) of the increased number of cases. In each survey time period, the number of adults with diabetes increased with age until ∼60–69 years; thereafter, it decreased […] the largest increase of cases occurred in middle-aged and older adults.”

vi. The Expression of Inflammatory Genes Is Upregulated in Peripheral Blood of Patients With Type 1 Diabetes.

“Although much effort has been devoted toward discoveries with respect to gene expression profiling in human T1D in the last decade (15), previous studies had serious limitations. Microarray-based gene expression profiling is a powerful discovery platform, but the results must be validated by an alternative technique such as real-time RT-PCR. Unfortunately, few of the previous microarray studies on T1D have been followed by a validation study. Furthermore, most previous gene expression studies had small sample sizes (<100 subjects in each group) that are not adequate for the human population given the expectation of large expression variations among individual subjects. Finally, the selection of appropriate reference genes for normalization of quantitative real-time PCR has a major impact on data quality. Most of the previous studies have used only a single reference gene for normalization. Ideally, gene transcription studies using real-time PCR should begin with the selection of an appropriate set of reference genes to obtain more reliable results (68).

We have previously carried out extensive microarray analysis and identified >100 genes with significantly differential expression between T1D patients and control subjects. Most of these genes have important immunological functions and were found to be upregulated in autoantibody-positive subjects, suggesting their potential use as predictive markers and involvement in T1D development (2). In this study, real-time RT-PCR was performed to validate a subset of the differentially expressed genes in a large sample set of 928 T1D patients and 922 control subjects. In addition to the verification of the gene expression associated with T1D, we also identified genes with significant expression changes in T1D patients with diabetes complications.

“Of the 18 genes analyzed here, eight genes […] had higher expression and three genes […] had lower expression in T1D patients compared with control subjects, indicating that genes involved in inflammation, immune regulation, and antigen processing and presentation are significantly altered in PBMCs from T1D patients. Furthermore, one adhesion molecule […] and three inflammatory genes mainly expressed by myeloid cells […] were significantly higher in T1D patients with complications (odds ratio [OR] 1.3–2.6, adjusted P value = 0.005–10−8), especially those patients with neuropathy (OR 4.8–7.9, adjusted P value <0.005). […] These findings suggest that inflammatory mediators secreted mainly by myeloid cells are implicated in T1D and its complications.

vii. Overexpression of Hemopexin in the Diabetic Eye – A new pathogenic candidate for diabetic macular edema.

“Diabetic retinopathy remains the leading cause of preventable blindness among working-age individuals in developed countries (1). Whereas proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the commonest sight-threatening lesion in type 1 diabetes, diabetic macular edema (DME) is the primary cause of poor visual acuity in type 2 diabetes. Because of the high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, DME is the main cause of visual impairment in diabetic patients (2). When clinically significant DME appears, laser photocoagulation is currently indicated. However, the optimal period of laser treatment is frequently passed and, moreover, is not uniformly successful in halting visual decline. In addition, photocoagulation is not without side effects, with visual field loss and impairment of either adaptation or color vision being the most frequent. Intravitreal corticosteroids have been successfully used in eyes with persistent DME and loss of vision after the failure of conventional treatment. However, reinjections are commonly needed, and there are substantial adverse effects such as infection, glaucoma, and cataract formation. Intravitreal anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents have also found an improvement of visual acuity and decrease of retinal thickness in DME, even in nonresponders to conventional treatment (3). However, apart from local side effects such as endophthalmitis and retinal detachment, the response to treatment of DME by VEGF blockade is not prolonged and is subject to significant variability. For all these reasons, new pharmacological treatments based on the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of DME are needed.”

“Vascular leakage due to the breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) is the main event involved in the pathogenesis of DME (4). However, little is known regarding the molecules primarily involved in this event. By means of a proteomic analysis, we have found that hemopexin was significantly increased in the vitreous fluid of patients with DME in comparison with PDR and nondiabetic control subjects (5). Hemopexin is the best characterized permeability factor in steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (6,7). […] T cell–associated cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-α are able to enhance hemopexin production in mesangial cells in vitro, and this effect is prevented by corticosteroids (8). However, whether hemopexin also acts as a permeability factor in the BRB and its potential response to corticosteroids remains to be elucidated. […] the aims of the current study were 1) to compare hemopexin and hemopexin receptor (LDL receptor–related protein [LRP1]) levels in retina and in vitreous fluid from diabetic and nondiabetic patients, 2) to evaluate the effect of hemopexin on the permeability of outer and inner BRB in cell cultures, and 3) to determine whether anti-hemopexin antibodies and dexamethasone were able to prevent an eventual hemopexin-induced hyperpermeability.”

“In the current study, we […] confirmed our previous results obtained by a proteomic approach showing that hemopexin is higher in the vitreous fluid of diabetic patients with DME in comparison with diabetic patients with PDR and nondiabetic subjects. In addition, we provide the first evidence that hemopexin is overexpressed in diabetic eye. Furthermore, we have shown that hemopexin leads to the disruption of RPE [retinal pigment epithelium] cells, thus increasing permeability, and that this effect is prevented by dexamethasone. […] Our findings suggest that hemopexin can be considered a new candidate in the pathogenesis of DME and a new therapeutic target.”

viii. Relationship Between Overweight and Obesity With Hospitalization for Heart Failure in 20,985 Patients With Type 1 Diabetes.

“We studied patients with type 1 diabetes included in the Swedish National Diabetes Registry during 1998–2003, and they were followed up until hospitalization for HF, death, or 31 December 2009. Cox regression was used to estimate relative risks. […] Type 1 diabetes is defined in the NDR as receiving treatment with insulin only and onset at age 30 years or younger. These characteristics previously have been validated as accurate in 97% of cases (11). […] In a sample of 20,985 type 1 diabetic patients (mean age, 38.6 years; mean BMI, 25.0 kg/m2), 635 patients […] (3%) were admitted for a primary or secondary diagnosis of HF during a median follow-up of 9 years, with an incidence of 3.38 events per 1,000 patient-years (95% CI, 3.12–3.65). […] Cox regression adjusting for age, sex, diabetes duration, smoking, HbA1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and baseline and intercurrent comorbidities (including myocardial infarction) showed a significant relationship between BMI and hospitalization for HF (P < 0.0001). In reference to patients in the BMI 20–25 kg/m2 category, hazard ratios (HRs) were as follows: HR 1.22 (95% CI, 0.83–1.78) for BMI <20 kg/m2; HR 0.94 (95% CI, 0.78–1.12) for BMI 25–30 kg/m2; HR 1.55 (95% CI, 1.20–1.99) for BMI 30–35 kg/m2; and HR 2.90 (95% CI, 1.92–4.37) for BMI ≥35 kg/m2.

CONCLUSIONS Obesity, particularly severe obesity, is strongly associated with hospitalization for HF in patients with type 1 diabetes, whereas no similar relation was present in overweight and low body weight.”

“In contrast to type 2 diabetes, obesity is not implicated as a causal factor in type 1 diabetes and maintaining normal weight is accordingly less of a focus in clinical practice of patients with type 1 diabetes. Because most patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese and glucose levels can normalize in some patients after weight reduction, this is usually an important part of integrated diabetes care. Our findings indicate that given the substantial risk of cardiovascular disease in type 1 diabetic patients, it is crucial for clinicians to also address weight issues in type 1 diabetes. Because many patients are normal weight when diabetes is diagnosed, careful monitoring of weight with a view to maintaining normal weight is probably more essential than previously thought. Although overweight was not associated with an increased risk of HF, higher BMI levels probably increase the risk of future obesity. Our finding that 71% of patients with BMI >35 kg/m2 were women is potentially important, although this should be tested in other populations given that it could be a random finding. If not random, especially because the proportion was much higher than in the entire cohort (45%), then it may indicate that severe obesity is a greater problem in women than in men with type 1 diabetes.”

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Genetics, Molecular biology, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology, Studies | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Glycated Hemoglobin and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in Singaporean Chinese Without Diagnosed Diabetes: The Singapore Chinese Health Study.

“Previous studies have reported that elevated levels of HbA1c below the diabetes threshold (<6.5%) are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (312). Yet, this research base is not comprehensive, and data from Chinese populations are scant, especially in those without diabetes. This gap in the literature is important since Southeast Asian populations are experiencing epidemic rates of type 2 diabetes and related comorbidities with a substantial global health impact (1316).

Overall, there are few cohort studies that have examined the etiologic association between HbA1c levels and all-cause and cause-specific mortality. There is even lesser insight on the nature of the relationship between HbA1c and significant clinical outcomes in Southeast Asian populations. Therefore, we examined the association between HbA1c and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the Singapore Chinese Health Study (SCHS).”

“The design of the SCHS has been previously summarized (17). Briefly, the cohort was drawn from men and women, aged 45–74 years, who belonged to one of the major dialect groups (Hokkien or Cantonese) of Chinese in Singapore. […] Between April 1993 and December 1998, 63,257 individuals completed an in-person interview that included questions on usual diet, demographics, height and weight, use of tobacco, usual physical activity, menstrual and reproductive history (women only), medical history including history of diabetes diagnosis by a physician, and family history of cancer. […] At the follow-up interview (F1), which occurred in 1999–2004, subjects were asked to update their baseline interview information. […] The study population derived from 28,346 participants of the total 54,243 who were alive and participated at F1, who provided consent at F1 to collect subsequent blood samples (a consent rate of ∼65%). The participants for this study were a random selection of individuals from the full study population who did not report a history of diabetes or CVD at the baseline or follow-up interview and reported no history of cancer.”

“During 74,890 person-years of follow-up, there were 888 total deaths, of which 249 were due to CVD, 388 were due to cancer, and 169 were recorded as respiratory mortality. […] There was a positive association between HbA1c and age, BMI, and prevalence of self-reported hypertension, while an inverse association was observed between educational attainment and HbA1c. […] The crude mortality rate was 1,186 deaths per 100,000 person-years. The age- and sex-standardized mortality rates for all-cause, CVD, and cerebrovascular each showed a J-shaped pattern according to HbA1c level. The CHD and cancer mortality rates were higher for HbA1c ≥6.5% (≥48 mmol/mol) and otherwise displayed no apparent pattern. […] There was no association between any level of HbA1c and respiratory causes of death.”

“Chinese men and women with no history of cancer, reported diabetes, or CVD with an HbA1c level ≥6.5% (≥48 mmol/mol) were at a significant increased risk of mortality during follow-up relative to their peers with an HbA1c of 5.4–5.6% (36–38 mmol/mol). No other range of HbA1c was significantly associated with risk of mortality during follow-up, and in secondary analyses, when the HbA1c level ≥6.5% (≥48 mmol/mol) was divided into four categories, this increased risk was observed in all four categories; thus, these data represent a clear threshold association between HbA1c and mortality in this population. These results are consistent with previous prospective cohort studies identifying chronically high HbA1c, outside of diabetes, to be associated with increased risk for all-cause and CVD-related mortality (312,22).”

“Hyperglycemia is a known risk factor for CVD, not limited to individuals with diabetes. This may be in part due to the vascular damage caused by oxidative stress in periods of hypo- and hyperglycemia (23,24). For individuals with impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance, increased oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction are present before the onset of diabetes (25). The association between chronically high levels of HbA1c and development of and death from cancer is not as well defined (9,2630). Abnormal metabolism may play a role in cancer development and death. This is important, considering cancer is the leading cause of death in Singapore for adults 15–59 years of age (31). Increased risk for cancer mortality was found in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance (30). […] Hyperinsulinemia and IGF-I are associated with increased cancer risk, possibly through mitogenic effects and tumor formation (27,28,37). This is the basis for the insulin-cancer hypothesis. Simply put, chronic levels of hyperinsulinemia reduce the production of IGF binding proteins 1 and 2. The absence of these proteins results in excess bioactive IGF-I, supporting tumor development (38). Chronic hyperglycemia, indicating high levels of insulin and IGF-I, may explain inhibition of cell apoptosis, increased cell proliferation, and increased cancer risk (39).”

ii. The Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Associations of Diabetic Retinopathy With Cognitive Function and Brain MRI Findings: The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial.

“Brain imaging studies suggest that type 2 diabetes–related microvascular disease may affect the central nervous system in addition to its effects on other organs, such as the eye and kidney. Histopathological evidence indicates that microvascular disease in the brain can lead to white matter lesions (WMLs) visible with MRI of the brain (1), and risk for them is often increased by type 2 diabetes (26). Type 2 diabetes also has recently been associated with lower brain volume, particularly gray matter volume (79).

The association between diabetic retinopathy and changes in brain tissue is of particular interest because retinal and cerebral small vessels have similar anatomy, physiology, and embryology (10). […] the preponderance of evidence suggests diabetic retinopathy is associated with increased WML burden (3,1214), although variation exists. While cross-sectional studies support a correlation between diabetic retinopathy and WMLs (2,3,6,15), diabetic retinopathy and brain atrophy (16), diabetic retinopathy and psychomotor speed (17,18), and psychomotor speed and WMLs (5,19,20), longitudinal evidence demonstrating the assumed sequence of disease development, for example, vascular damage of eye and brain followed by cognitive decline, is lacking.

Using Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) data, in which a subset of participants received longitudinal measurements of diabetic retinopathy, cognition, and MRI variables, we analyzed the 1) cross-sectional associations between diabetic retinopathy and evidence of brain microvascular disease and 2) determined whether baseline presence or severity of diabetic retinopathy predicts 20- or 40-month changes in cognitive performance or brain microvascular disease.”

“The ACCORD trial (21) was a multicenter randomized trial examining the effects of intensive glycemic control, blood pressure, and lipids on cardiovascular disease events. The 10,251 ACCORD participants were aged 40–79 years, had poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (HbA1c > 7.5% [58.5 mmol/mol]), and had or were at high risk for cardiovascular disease. […] The ACCORD-Eye sample comprised 3,472 participants who did not report previous vitrectomy or photocoagulation surgery for proliferative diabetic retinopathy at baseline […] ACCORD-MIND included a subset of 2,977 ACCORD participants who completed a 30-min cognitive testing battery, 614 of whom also had useable scans from the MRI substudy (23,24). […] ACCORD-MIND had visits at three time points: baseline, 20 months, and 40 months. MRI of the brain was completed at baseline and the 40-month time point.”

“Baseline diabetic retinopathy was associated with more rapid 40-month declines in DSST and MMSE [Mini-Mental State Examination] when adjusting for demographics and lifestyle factors in model 1 […]. Moreover, increasing severity of diabetic retinopathy was associated with increased amounts of decline in DSST [Digit Symbol Substitution Test] performance (−1.30, −1.76, and −2.81 for no, mild, and moderate/severe NPDR, respectively; P = 0.003) […Be careful about how to interpret that p-value – see below, US] . The associations remained virtually unchanged after further adjusting for vascular and diabetes risk factors, depression, and visual acuity using model 2.”

“This longitudinal study provides new evidence that diabetic retinopathy is associated with future cognitive decline in persons with type 2 diabetes and confirms the finding from the Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study derived from cross-sectional data that lifetime cognitive decline is associated with diabetic retinopathy (32). We found that the presence of diabetic retinopathy, independent of visual acuity, predicts greater declines in global cognitive function measured with the MMSE and that the magnitude of decline in processing speed measured with the DSST increased with increasing severity of baseline diabetic retinopathy. The association with psychomotor speed is consistent with prior cross-sectional findings in community-based samples of middle-aged (18) and older adults (17), as well as prospective studies of a community-based sample of middle-aged adults (33) and patients with type 1 diabetes (34) showing that retinopathy with different etiologies predicted a subsequent decline in psychomotor speed. This study extends these findings to patients with type 2 diabetes.”

“we tested a number of different associations but did not correct P values for multiple testing” [Aargh!, US.]

iii. Incidence of Remission in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: The Diabetes & Aging Study.

(Note to self before moving on to the paper: these people identified type 1 diabetes by self-report or diabetes onset at <30 years of age, treated with insulin only and never treated with oral agents).

“It is widely believed that type 2 diabetes is a chronic progressive condition, which at best can be controlled, but never cured (1), and that once treatment with glucose-lowering medication is initiated, it is required indefinitely and is intensified over time (2,3). However, a growing body of evidence from clinical trials and case-control studies (46) has reported the remission of type 2 diabetes in certain populations, most notably individuals who received bariatric surgery. […] Despite the clinical relevance and importance of remission, little is known about the incidence of remission in community settings (11,12). Studies to date have focused largely on remission after gastric bypass or relied on data from clinical trials, which have limited generalizability. Therefore, we conducted a retrospective cohort study to describe the incidence rates and variables associated with remission among adults with type 2 diabetes who received usual care, excluding bariatric surgery, in a large, ethnically diverse population. […] 122,781 individuals met our study criteria, yielding 709,005 person-years of total follow-up time.”

“Our definitions of remission were based on the 2009 ADA consensus statement (10). “Partial remission” of diabetes was defined as having two or more consecutive subdiabetic HbA1c measurements, all of which were in the range of 5.7–6.4% [39–46 mmol/mol] over a period of at least 12 months. “Complete remission” was defined as having two or more consecutive normoglycemic HbA1c measurements, all of which were <5.7% [<39 mmol/mol] over a period of at least 12 months. “Prolonged remission” was defined as having two or more consecutive normoglycemic HbA1c measurements, all of which were <5.7% [<39 mmol/mol] over a period of at least 60 months. Each definition of remission requires the absence of pharmacologic treatment during the defined observation period.”

“The average age of participants was 62 years, 47.1% were female, and 51.6% were nonwhite […]. The mean (SD) interval between HbA1c tests in the remission group was 256 days (139 days). The mean interval (SD) between HbA1c tests among patients not in the remission group was 212 days (118 days). The median time since the diagnosis of diabetes in our cohort was 5.9 years, and the average baseline HbA1c level was 7.4% [57 mmol/mol]. The 18,684 individuals (15.2%) in the subset with new-onset diabetes, defined as ≤2 years since diagnosis, were younger, were more likely to have their diabetes controlled by diet, and had fewer comorbidities […] The incidence densities of partial, complete, and prolonged remission in the full cohort were 2.8 (95% CI 2.6–2.9), 0.24 (95% CI 0.20–0.28), and 0.04 (95% CI 0.01–0.06) cases per 1,000 person-years, respectively […] The 7-year cumulative incidences of partial, complete, and prolonged remission were 1.5% (95% CI 1.4–1.5%), 0.14% (95% CI 0.12–0.16%), and 0.01% (95% CI 0.003–0.02%), respectively. The 7-year cumulative incidence of any remission decreased with longer time since diagnosis from a high of 4.6% (95% CI 4.3–4.9%) for individuals diagnosed with diabetes in the past 2 years to a low of 0.4% (95% CI 0.3–0.5%) in those diagnosed >10 years ago. The 7-year cumulative incidence of any remission was much lower for individuals using insulin (0.05%; 95% CI 0.03–0.1%) or oral agents (0.3%; 95% CI 0.2–0.3%) at baseline compared with diabetes patients not using medication at baseline (12%; 95% CI 12–13%).”

“In this large cohort of insured adults with type 2 diabetes not treated with bariatric surgery, we found that 1.5% of individuals with recent evidence of clinical diabetes achieved at least partial remission over a 7-year period. If these results were generalized to the 25.6 million U.S. adults living with type 2 diabetes in 2010 (25), they would suggest that 384,000 adults could experience remission over the next 7 years. However, the rate of prolonged remission was extremely rare (0.007%), translating into only 1,800 adults in the U.S. experiencing remission lasting at least 5 years. To provide context, 1.7% of the cohort died, while only 0.8% experienced any level of remission, during the calendar year 2006. Thus, the chances of dying were higher than the chances of any remission. […] Although remission of type 2 diabetes is uncommon, it does occur in patients who have not undergone surgical interventions. […] Our analysis shows that remission is rare and variable. The likelihood of remission is more common among individuals with early-onset diabetes and those not treated with glucose-lowering medications at the point of diabetes diagnosis. Although rare, remission can also occur in individuals with more severe diabetes and those previously treated with insulin.”

iv. Blood pressure control for diabetic retinopathy (Cochrane review).

“Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness. Research has established the importance of blood glucose control to prevent development and progression of the ocular complications of diabetes. Simultaneous blood pressure control has been advocated for the same purpose, but findings reported from individual studies have supported varying conclusions regarding the ocular benefit of interventions on blood pressure. […] The primary aim of this review was to summarize the existing evidence regarding the effect of interventions to control or reduce blood pressure levels among diabetics on incidence and progression of diabetic retinopathy, preservation of visual acuity, adverse events, quality of life, and costs. A secondary aim was to compare classes of anti-hypertensive medications with respect to the same outcomes.”

“We included 15 RCTs, conducted primarily in North America and Europe, that had enrolled 4157 type 1 and 9512 type 2 diabetic participants, ranging from 16 to 2130 participants in individual trials. […] Study designs, populations, interventions, and lengths of follow-up (range one to nine years) varied among the included trials. Overall, the quality of the evidence for individual outcomes was low to moderate.”

“The evidence from these trials supported a benefit of more intensive blood pressure control intervention with respect to 4- to 5-year incidence of diabetic retinopathy (estimated risk ratio (RR) 0.80; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.71 to 0.92) and the combined outcome of incidence and progression (estimated RR 0.78; 95% CI 0.63 to 0.97). The available evidence provided less support for a benefit with respect to 4- to 5-year progression of diabetic retinopathy (point estimate was closer to 1 than point estimates for incidence and combined incidence and progression, and the CI overlapped 1; estimated RR 0.88; 95% CI 0.73 to 1.05). The available evidence regarding progression to proliferative diabetic retinopathy or clinically significant macular edema or moderate to severe loss of best-corrected visual acuity did not support a benefit of intervention on blood pressure: estimated RRs and 95% CIs 0.95 (0.83 to 1.09) and 1.06 (0.85 to 1.33), respectively, after 4 to 5 years of follow-up. Findings within subgroups of trial participants (type 1 and type 2 diabetics; participants with normal blood pressure levels at baseline and those with elevated levels) were similar to overall findings.”

“The available evidence supports a beneficial effect of intervention to reduce blood pressure with respect to preventing diabetic retinopathy for up to 4 to 5 years. However, the lack of evidence to support such intervention to slow progression of diabetic retinopathy or to prevent other outcomes considered in this review, along with the relatively modest support for the beneficial effect on incidence, weakens the conclusion regarding an overall benefit of intervening on blood pressure solely to prevent diabetic retinopathy.”

v. Early Atherosclerosis Relates to Urinary Albumin Excretion and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes: Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes cardio-renal Intervention Trial (AdDIT).

“Children with type 1 diabetes are at greatly increased risk for the development of both renal and cardiovascular disease in later life (1,2). Evidence is accumulating that these two complications may have a common pathophysiology, with endothelial dysfunction a key early event.

Microalbuminuria is a recognized marker of endothelial damage (3) and predicts progression to proteinuria and diabetic nephropathy, as well as to atherosclerosis (4) and increased cardiovascular risk (5). It is, however, rare in adolescents with type 1 diabetes who more often have higher urinary albumin excretion rates within the normal range, which are associated with later progression to microalbuminuria and proteinuria (6).”

“The Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes cardio-renal Intervention Trial (AdDIT) (10) is designed to examine the impact of minor differences in albumin excretion in adolescents on the initiation and progression of cardiovascular and renal disease. The primary cardiovascular end point in AdDIT is carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT). Subclinical atherosclerosis can be detected noninvasively using high-resolution ultrasound to measure the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries, which predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (11,12). […] The primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship of increased urinary albumin excretion and cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents with type 1 diabetes with structural arterial wall changes. We hypothesized that even minor increases in albumin excretion would be associated with early atherosclerosis but that this would be detectable only in the abdominal aorta. […] A total of 406 adolescents, aged 10–16 years, with type 1 diabetes for more than 1 year, recruited in five centers across Australia, were enrolled in this cross-sectional study”.

“Structural changes in the aorta and carotid arteries could be detected in >50% of adolescents with type 1 diabetes […] The difference in aIMT [aortic intima-media thickness] between type 1 diabetic patients and age- and sex-matched control subjects was equivalent to that seen with a 5- to 6-year age increase in the type 1 diabetic patients. […] Aortic IMT was […] able to better differentiate adolescents with type 1 diabetes from control subjects than was carotid wall changes. Aortic IMT enabled detection of the very early wall changes that are present with even small differences in urinary albumin excretion. This not only supports the concept of early intervention but provides a link between renal and cardiovascular disease.

The independent relationship between aIMT and urinary albumin excretion extends our knowledge of the pathogenesis of cardiovascular and renal disease in type 1 diabetes by showing that the first signs of the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetic nephropathy are related. The concept that microalbuminuria is a marker of a generalized endothelial damage, as well as a marker of renal disease, has been recognized for >20 years (3,20,21). Endothelial dysfunction is the first critical step in the development of atherosclerosis (22). Early rises in urinary albumin excretion precede the development of microalbuminuria and proteinuria (23). It follows that the first structural changes of atherosclerosis could relate to the first biochemical changes of diabetic nephropathy. To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide evidence of this.”

“In conclusion, atherosclerosis is detectable from early adolescence in type 1 diabetes. Its early independent associations are male sex, age, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and, importantly, urinary albumin excretion. […] Early rises in urinary albumin excretion during adolescence not only are important for determining risk of progression to microalbuminuria and diabetic nephropathy but also may alert the clinician to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”

vi. Impact of Islet Autoimmunity on the Progressive β-Cell Functional Decline in Type 2 Diabetes.

“Historically, type 2 diabetes (T2D) has not been considered to be immune mediated. However, many notable discoveries in recent years have provided evidence to support the concept of immune system involvement in T2D pathophysiology (15). Immune cells have been identified in the pancreases of phenotypic T2D patients (35). Moreover, treatment with interleukin-1 receptor agonist improves β-cell function in T2D patients (68). These studies suggest that β-cell damage/destruction mediated by the immune system may be a component of T2D pathophysiology.

Although the β-cell damage and destruction in autoimmune diabetes is most likely T-cell mediated (T), immune markers of autoimmune diabetes have primarily centered on the presence of circulating autoantibodies (Abs) to various islet antigens (915). Abs commonly positive in type 1 diabetes (T1D), especially GAD antibody (GADA) and islet cell Abs (ICA), have been shown to be more common in patients with T2D than in nondiabetic control populations, and the presence of multiple islet Abs, such as GADA, ICA, and tyrosine phosphatase-2 (insulinoma-associated protein 2 [IA-2]), have been demonstrated to be associated with an earlier need for insulin treatment in adult T2D patients (14,1620).”

“In this study, we observed development of islet autoimmunity, measured by islet Abs and islet-specific T-cell responses, in 61% of the phenotypic T2D patients. We also observed a significant association between positive islet-reactive T-cell responses and a more rapid decline in β-cell function as assessed by FCP and glucagon-SCP responses. […] The results of this pilot study led us to hypothesize that islet autoimmunity is present or will develop in a large portion of phenotypic T2D patients and that the development of islet autoimmunity is associated with a more rapid decline in β-cell function. Moreover, the prevalence of islet autoimmunity in most previous studies is grossly underestimated because these studies have not tested for islet-reactive T cells in T2D patients but have based the presence of autoimmunity on antibody testing alone […] The results of this pilot study suggest important changes to our understanding of T2D pathogenesis by demonstrating that the prevalence of islet autoimmune development is not only more prevalent in T2D patients than previously estimated but may also play an important role in β-cell dysfunction in the T2D disease process.”

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Cancer/oncology, Cardiology, Diabetes, Epidemiology, Immunology, Medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Studies | Leave a comment

Ophthalmology – National EM Board Review Course

The lecture covers a lot of different stuff. Some links:

Blepharitis.
Dacryocystitis.
Dacryoadenitis.
Chalazion.
Orbital Cellulitis.
Cranial Nerves III, IV, and VI: The Oculomotor System.
Argyll Robertson pupil.
Marcus Gunn pupil.
Horner syndrome.
Third nerve palsy.
Homonymous hemianopsia.
Central Retinal Artery Occlusion.
Central Retinal Vein Occlusion.
Optic Neuritis.
Retinal detachment.
Temporal Arteritis.
Conjunctivitis.
Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC).
Uveitis.
Hypopyon.
Keratitis.
Herpes Zoster Ophthalmicus.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhage.
Corneal Abrasion.
Corneal Laceration.
Globe Rupture.
Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma.
Hyphema.
Endophthalmitis.
Retrobulbar hemorrhage.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Lectures, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology | Leave a comment

A few diabetes papers of interest

i. Cost-Effectiveness of Prevention and Treatment of the Diabetic Foot.

“A risk-based Markov model was developed to simulate the onset and progression of diabetic foot disease in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes managed with care according to guidelines for their lifetime. Mean survival time, quality of life, foot complications, and costs were the outcome measures assessed. Current care was the reference comparison. Data from Dutch studies on the epidemiology of diabetic foot disease, health care use, and costs, complemented with information from international studies, were used to feed the model.

RESULTS—Compared with current care, guideline-based care resulted in improved life expectancy, gain of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and reduced incidence of foot complications. The lifetime costs of management of the diabetic foot following guideline-based care resulted in a cost per QALY gained of <$25,000, even for levels of preventive foot care as low as 10%. The cost-effectiveness varied sharply, depending on the level of foot ulcer reduction attained.

CONCLUSIONS—Management of the diabetic foot according to guideline-based care improves survival, reduces diabetic foot complications, and is cost-effective and even cost saving compared with standard care.”

I won’t go too deeply into the model setup and the results but some of the data they used to feed the model were actually somewhat interesting in their own right, and I have added some of these data below, along with some of the model results.

“It is estimated that 80% of LEAs [lower extremity amputations] are preceded by foot ulcers. Accordingly, it has been demonstrated that preventing the development of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes reduces the frequency of LEAs by 49–85% (6).”

“An annual ulcer incidence rate of 2.1% and an amputation incidence rate of 0.6% were among the reference country-specific parameters derived from this study and adopted in the model.”

“The health outcomes results of the cohort following standard care were comparable to figures reported for diabetic patients in the Netherlands. […] In the 10,000 patients followed until death, a total of 1,780 ulcer episodes occurred, corresponding to a cumulative ulcer incidence of 17.8% and an annual ulcer incidence of 2.2% (mean annual ulcer incidence for the Netherlands is 2.1%) (17). The number of amputations observed was 362 (250 major and 112 minor), corresponding to a cumulative incidence of 3.6% and an annual incidence of 0.4% (mean annual amputation incidence reported for the Netherlands is 0.6%) (17).”

“Cornerstones of guidelines-based care are intensive glycemic control (IGC) and optimal foot care (OFC). Although health benefits and economic efficiency of intensive blood glucose control (8) and foot care programs (914) have been individually reported, the health and economic outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of both interventions have not been determined. […] OFC according to guidelines includes professional protective foot care, education of patients and staff, regular inspection of the feet, identification of the high-risk patient, treatment of nonulcerative lesions, and a multidisciplinary approach to established foot ulcers. […] All cohorts of patients simulated for the different scenarios of guidelines care resulted in improved life expectancy, QALYs gained, and reduced incidence of foot ulcers and LEA compared with standard care. The largest effects on these outcomes were obtained when patients received IGC + OFC. When comparing the independent health effects of the two guidelines strategies, OFC resulted in a greater reduction in ulcer and amputation rates than IGC. Moreover, patients who received IGC + OFC showed approximately the same LEA incidence as patients who received OFC alone. The LEA decrease obtained was proportional to the level of foot ulcer reduction attained.”

“The mean total lifetime costs of a patient under either of the three guidelines care scenarios ranged from $4,088 to $4,386. For patients receiving IGC + OFC, these costs resulted in <$25,000 per QALY gained (relative to standard care). For patients receiving IGC alone, the ICER [here’s a relevant link – US] obtained was $32,057 per QALY gained, and for those receiving OFC alone, this ICER ranged from $12,169 to $220,100 per QALY gained, depending on the level of ulcer reduction attained. […] Increasing the effectiveness of preventive foot care in patients under OFC and IGC + OFC resulted in more QALYs gained, lower costs, and a more favorable ICER. The results of the simulations for the combined scenario (IGC + OFC) were rather insensitive to changes in utility weights and costing parameters. Similar results were obtained for parameter variations in the other two scenarios (IGC and OFC separately).”

“The results of this study suggest that IGC + OFC reduces foot ulcers and amputations and leads to an improvement in life expectancy. Greater health benefits are obtained with higher levels of foot ulcer prevention. Although care according to guidelines increases health costs, the cost per QALY gained is <$25,000, even for levels of preventive foot care as low as 10%. ICERs of this order are cost-effective according to the stratification of interventions for diabetes recently proposed (32). […] IGC falls into the category of a possibly cost-effective intervention in the management of the diabetic foot. Although it does not produce significant reduction in foot ulcers and LEA, its effectiveness resides in the slowing of neuropathy progression rates.

Extrapolating our results to a practical situation, if IGC + OFC was to be given to all diabetic patients in the Netherlands, with the aim of reducing LEA by 50% (St. Vincent’s declaration), the cost per QALY gained would be $12,165 and the cost for managing diabetic ulcers and amputations would decrease by 53 and 58%, respectively. From a policy perspective, this is clearly cost-effective and cost saving compared with current care.”

ii. Early Glycemic Control, Age at Onset, and Development of Microvascular Complications in Childhood-Onset Type 1 Diabetes.

“The aim of this work was to study the impact of glycemic control (HbA1c) early in disease and age at onset on the occurrence of incipient diabetic nephropathy (MA) and background retinopathy (RP) in childhood-onset type 1 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—All children, diagnosed at 0–14 years in a geographically defined area in northern Sweden between 1981 and 1992, were identified using the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Registry. From 1981, a nationwide childhood diabetes care program was implemented recommending intensified insulin treatment. HbA1c and urinary albumin excretion were analyzed, and fundus photography was performed regularly. Retrospective data on all 94 patients were retrieved from medical records and laboratory reports.

RESULTS—During the follow-up period, with a mean duration of 12 ± 4 years (range 5–19), 17 patients (18%) developed MA, 45 patients (48%) developed RP, and 52% had either or both complications. A Cox proportional hazard regression, modeling duration to occurrence of MA or RP, showed that glycemic control (reflected by mean HbA1c) during the follow-up was significantly associated with both MA and RP when adjusted for sex, birth weight, age at onset, and tobacco use as potential confounders. Mean HbA1c during the first 5 years of diabetes was a near-significant determinant for development of MA (hazard ratio 1.41, P = 0.083) and a significant determinant of RP (1.32, P = 0.036). The age at onset of diabetes significantly influenced the risk of developing RP (1.11, P = 0.021). Thus, in a Kaplan-Meier analysis, onset of diabetes before the age of 5 years, compared with the age-groups 5–11 and >11 years, showed a longer time to occurrence of RP (P = 0.015), but no clear tendency was seen for MA, perhaps due to lower statistical power.

CONCLUSIONS—Despite modern insulin treatment, >50% of patients with childhood-onset type 1 diabetes developed detectable diabetes complications after ∼12 years of diabetes. Inadequate glycemic control, also during the first 5 years of diabetes, seems to accelerate time to occurrence, whereas a young age at onset of diabetes seems to prolong the time to development of microvascular complications. […] The present study and other studies (15,54) indicate that children with an onset of diabetes before the age of 5 years may have a prolonged time to development of microvascular complications. Thus, the youngest age-groups, who are most sensitive to hypoglycemia with regard to risk of persistent brain damage, may have a relative protection during childhood or a longer time to development of complications.”

It’s important to note that although some people reading the study may think this is all ancient history (people diagnosed in the 80es?), to a lot of people it really isn’t. The study is of great personal interest to me, as I was diagnosed in ’87; if it had been a Danish study rather than a Swedish one I might well have been included in the analysis.

Another note to add in the context of the above coverage is that unlike what the authors of the paper seem to think/imply, hypoglycemia may not be the only relevant variable of interest in the context of the effect of childhood diabetes on brain development, where early diagnosis has been observed to tend to lead to less favourable outcomes – other variables which may be important include DKA episodes and perhaps also chronic hyperglycemia during early childhood. See this post for more stuff on these topics.

Some more stuff from the paper:

“The annual incidence of type 1 diabetes in northern Sweden in children 0–14 years of age is now ∼31/100,000. During the time period 1981–1992, there has been an increase in the annual incidence from 19 to 31/100,000 in northern Sweden. This is similar to the rest of Sweden […]. Seventeen (18%) of the 94 patients fulfilled the criteria for MA during the follow-up period. None of the patients developed overt nephropathy, elevated serum creatinine, or had signs of any other kidney disorder, e.g., hematuria, during the follow-up period. […] The mean time to diagnosis of MA was 9 ± 3 years (range 4–15) from diabetes onset. Forty-five (48%) of the 94 patients fulfilled the criteria for RP during the follow-up period. None of the patients developed proliferative retinopathy or were treated with photocoagulation. The mean time to diagnosis of RP was 11 ± 4 years (range 4–19) from onset of diabetes. Of the 45 patients with RP, 13 (29%) had concomitant MA, and thus 13 (76.5%) of the 17 patients with MA had concomitant RP. […] Altogether, among the 94 patients, 32 (34%) had isolated RP, 4 (4%) had isolated MA, and 13 (14%) had combined RP and MA. Thus, 49 (52%) patients had either one or both complications and, hence, 45 (48%) had neither of these complications.”

“When modeling MA as a function of glycemic level up to the onset of MA or during the entire follow-up period, adjusting for sex, birth weight, age at onset of diabetes, and tobacco use, only glycemic control had a significant effect. An increase in hazard ratio (HR) of 83% per one percentage unit increase in mean HbA1c was seen. […] The increase in HR of developing RP for each percentage unit rise in HbA1c during the entire follow-up period was 43% and in the early period 32%. […] Age at onset of diabetes was a weak but significant independent determinant for the development of RP in all regression models (P = 0.015, P = 0.018, and P = 0.010, respectively). […] Despite that this study was relatively small and had a retrospective design, we were able to show that the glycemic level already during the first 5 years may be an important predictor of later development of both MA and RP. This is in accordance with previous prospective follow-up studies (16,30).”

“Previously, male sex, smoking, and low birth weight have been shown to be risk factors for the development of nephropathy and retinopathy (6,4549). However, in this rather small retrospective study with a limited follow-up time, we could not confirm these associations”. This may just be because of lack of power, it’s a relatively small study. Again, this is/was of personal interest to me; two of those three risk factors apply to me, and neither of those risk factors are modifiable.

iii. Eighteen Years of Fair Glycemic Control Preserves Cardiac Autonomic Function in Type 1 Diabetes.

“Reduced cardiovascular autonomic function is associated with increased mortality in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (14). Poor glycemic control plays an important role in the development and progression of diabetic cardiac autonomic dysfunction (57). […] Diabetic cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) can be defined as impaired function of the peripheral autonomic nervous system. Exercise intolerance, resting tachycardia, and silent myocardial ischemia may be early signs of cardiac autonomic dysfunction (9).The most frequent finding in subclinical and symptomatic CAN is reduced heart rate variability (HRV) (10). […] No other studies have followed type 1 diabetic patients on intensive insulin treatment during ≥14-year periods and documented cardiac autonomic dysfunction. We evaluated the association between 18 years’ mean HbA1c and cardiac autonomic function in a group of type 1 diabetic patients with 30 years of disease duration.”

“A total of 39 patients with type 1 diabetes were followed during 18 years, and HbA1c was measured yearly. At 18 years follow-up heart rate variability (HRV) measurements were used to assess cardiac autonomic function. Standard cardiac autonomic tests during normal breathing, deep breathing, the Valsalva maneuver, and the tilt test were performed. Maximal heart rate increase during exercise electrocardiogram and minimal heart rate during sleep were also used to describe cardiac autonomic function.

RESULTS—We present the results for patients with mean HbA1c <8.4% (two lowest HbA1c tertiles) compared with those with HbA1c ≥8.4% (highest HbA1c tertile). All of the cardiac autonomic tests were significantly different in the high- and the low-HbA1c groups, and the most favorable scores for all tests were seen in the low-HbA1c group. In the low-HbA1c group, the HRV was 40% during deep breathing, and in the high-HbA1c group, the HRV was 19.9% (P = 0.005). Minimal heart rate at night was significantly lower in the low-HbA1c groups than in the high-HbA1c group (P = 0.039). With maximal exercise, the increase in heart rate was significantly higher in the low-HbA1c group compared with the high-HbA1c group (P = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS—Mean HbA1c during 18 years was associated with cardiac autonomic function. Cardiac autonomic function was preserved with HbA1c <8.4%, whereas cardiac autonomic dysfunction was impaired in the group with HbA1c ≥8.4%. […] The study underlines the importance of good glycemic control and demonstrates that good long-term glycemic control is associated with preserved cardiac autonomic function, whereas a lack of good glycemic control is associated with cardiac autonomic dysfunction.”

These results are from Norway (Oslo), and again they seem relevant to me personally (‘from a statistical point of view’) – I’ve had diabetes for about as long as the people they included in the study.

iv. The Mental Health Comorbidities of Diabetes.

“Individuals living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, and eating disorder diagnoses. Mental health comorbidities of diabetes compromise adherence to treatment and thus increase the risk for serious short- and long-term complications […] Young adults with type 1 diabetes are especially at risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes and premature mortality. […] we summarize the prevalence and consequences of mental health problems for patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and suggest strategies for identifying and treating patients with diabetes and mental health comorbidities.”

“Major advances in the past 2 decades have improved understanding of the biological basis for the relationship between depression and diabetes.2 A bidirectional relationship might exist between type 2 diabetes and depression: just as type 2 diabetes increases the risk for onset of major depression, a major depressive disorder signals increased risk for on set of type 2 diabetes.2 Moreover, diabetes distress is now recognized as an entity separate from major depressive disorder.2 Diabetes distress occurs because virtually all of diabetes care involves self-management behavior—requiring balance of a complex set of behavioral tasks by the person and family, 24 hours a day, without “vacation” days. […] Living with diabetes is associated with a broad range of diabetes-related distresses, such as feeling over-whelmed with the diabetes regimen; being concerned about the future and the possibility of serious complications; and feeling guilty when management is going poorly. This disease burden and emotional distress in individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, even at levels of severity below the threshold for a psychiatric diagnosis of depression or anxiety, are associated with poor adherence to treatment, poor glycemic control, higher rates of diabetes complications, and impaired quality of life. […] Depression in the context of diabetes is […] associated with poor self-care with respect to diabetes treatment […] Depression among individuals with diabetes is also associated with increased health care use and expenditures, irrespective of age, sex, race/ethnicity, and health insurance status.3

“Women with type 1 diabetes have a 2-fold increased risk for developing an eating disorder and a 1.9-fold increased risk for developing subthreshold eating disorders than women without diabetes.6 Less is known about eating disorders in boys and men with diabetes. Disturbed eating behaviors in women with type 1 diabetes include binge eating and caloric purging through insulin restriction, with rates of these disturbed eating behaviors reported to occur in 31% to 40% of women with type 1 diabetes aged between 15 and 30 years.6 […] disordered eating behaviors persist and worsen over time. Women with type 1 diabetes and eating disorders have poorer glycemic control, with higher rates of hospitalizations and retinopathy, neuropathy, and premature death compared with similarly aged women with type 1 diabetes without eating disorders.6 […] few diabetes clinics provide mental health screening or integrate mental/behavioral health services in diabetes clinical care.4 It is neither practical nor affordable to use standardized psychiatric diagnostic interviews to diagnose mental health comorbidities in individuals with diabetes. Brief paper-and-pencil self-report measures such as the Beck Depression Inventory […] that screen for depressive symptoms are practical in diabetes clinical settings, but their use remains rare.”

The paper does not mention this, but it is important to note that there are multiple plausible biological pathways which might help to explain bidirectional linkage between depression and type 2 diabetes. Physiological ‘stress’ (think: inflammation) is likely to be an important factor, and so are the typical physiological responses to some of the pharmacological treatments used to treat depression (…as well as other mental health conditions); multiple drugs used in psychiatry, including tricyclic antidepressants, cause weight gain and have proven diabetogenic effects – I’ve covered these topics before here on the blog. I’ve incidentally also covered other topics touched briefly upon in the paper – here’s for example a more comprehensive post about screening for depression in the diabetes context, and here’s a post with some information about how one might go about screening for eating disorders; skin signs are important. I was a bit annoyed that the author of the above paper did not mention this, as observing whether or not Russell’s sign – which is a very reliable indicator of eating disorder – is present or not is easier/cheaper/faster than performing any kind of even semi-valid depression screen.

v. Diabetes, Depression, and Quality of Life. This last one covers topics related to the topics covered in the paper above.

“The study consisted of a representative population sample of individuals aged ≥15 years living in South Australia comprising 3,010 personal interviews conducted by trained health interviewers. The prevalence of depression in those suffering doctor-diagnosed diabetes and comparative effects of diabetic status and depression on quality-of-life dimensions were measured.

RESULTS—The prevalence of depression in the diabetic population was 24% compared with 17% in the nondiabetic population. Those with diabetes and depression experienced an impact with a large effect size on every dimension of the Short Form Health-Related Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (SF-36) as compared with those who suffered diabetes and who were not depressed. A supplementary analysis comparing both depressed diabetic and depressed nondiabetic groups showed there were statistically significant differences in the quality-of-life effects between the two depressed populations in the physical and mental component summaries of the SF-36.

CONCLUSIONS—Depression for those with diabetes is an important comorbidity that requires careful management because of its severe impact on quality of life.”

I felt slightly curious about the setup after having read this, because representative population samples of individuals should not in my opinion yield depression rates of either 17% nor 24%. Rates that high suggest to me that the depression criteria used in the paper are a bit ‘laxer’/more inclusive than what you see in some other contexts when reading this sort of literature – to give an example of what I mean, the depression screening post I link to above noted that clinical or major depression occurred in 11.4% of people with diabetes, compared to a non-diabetic prevalence of 5%. There’s a long way from 11% to 24% and from 5% to 17%. Another potential explanation for such a high depression rate could of course also be some sort of selection bias at the data acquisition stage, but that’s obviously not the case here. However 3000 interviews is a lot of interviews, so let’s read on…

“Several studies have assessed the impact of depression in diabetes in terms of the individual’s functional ability or quality of life (3,4,13). Brown et al. (13) examined preference-based time tradeoff utility values associated with diabetes and showed that those with diabetes were willing to trade a significant proportion of their remaining life in return for a diabetes-free health state.”

“Depression was assessed using the mood module of the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders questionnaire. This has been validated to provide estimates of mental disorder comparable with those found using structured and longer diagnostic interview schedules (16). The mental disorders examined in the questionnaire included major depressive disorder, dysthymia, minor depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. [So yes, the depression criteria used in this study are definitely more inclusive than depression criteria including only people with MDD] […] The Short Form Health-Related Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (SF-36) was also included to assess the quality of life of the different population groups with and without diabetes. […] Five groups were examined: the overall population without diabetes and without depression; the overall diabetic population; the depression-only population; the diabetic population without depression; and the diabetic population with depression.”

“Of the population sample, 205 (6.8%) were classified as having major depression, 130 (4.3%) had minor depression, 105 (3.5%) had partial remission of major depression, 79 (2.6%) had dysthymia, and 5 (0.2%) had bipolar disorder (depressed phase). No depressive syndrome was detected in 2,486 (82.6%) respondents. The population point prevalence of doctor-diagnosed diabetes in this survey was 5.2% (95% CI 4.6–6.0). The prevalence of depression in the diabetic population was 23.6% (22.1–25.1) compared with 17.1% (15.8–18.4) in the nondiabetic population. This difference approached statistical significance (P = 0.06). […] There [was] a clear difference in the quality-of-life scores for the diabetic and depression group when compared with the diabetic group without depression […] Overall, the highest quality-of-life scores are experienced by those without diabetes and depression and the lowest by those with diabetes and depression. […] the standard scores of those with no diabetes have quality-of-life status comparable with the population mean or slightly better. At the other extreme those with diabetes and depression experience the most severe comparative impact on quality-of-life for every dimension. Between these two extremes, diabetes overall and the diabetes without depression groups have a moderate-to-severe impact on the physical functioning, role limitations (physical), and general health scales […] The results of the two-factor ANOVA showed that the interaction term was significant only for the PCS [Physical Component Score – US] scale, indicating a greater than additive effect of diabetes and depression on the physical health dimension.”

“[T]here was a significant interaction between diabetes and depression on the PCS but not on the MCS [Mental Component Score. Do note in this context that the no-interaction result is far from certain, because as they observe: “it may simply be sample size that has not allowed us to observe a greater than additive effect in the MCS scale. Although there was no significant interaction between diabetes and depression and the MCS scale, we did observe increases on the effect size for the mental health dimensions”]. One explanation for this finding might be that depression can influence physical outcomes, such as recovery from myocardial infarction, survival with malignancy, and propensity to infection. Various mechanisms have been proposed for this, including changes to the immune system (24). Other possibilities are that depression in diabetes may affect the capacity to maintain medication vigilance, maintain a good diet, and maintain other lifestyle factors, such as smoking and exercise, all of which are likely possible pathways for a greater than additive effect. Whatever the mechanism involved, these data indicate that the addition of depression to diabetes has a severe impact on quality of life, and this needs to be managed in clinical practice.”

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Cardiology, Diabetes, Health Economics, Medicine, Nephrology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Papers, Personal, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, Psychology | Leave a comment