Cardiovascular outcomes are improving for type two diabetics

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There have been large reductions in myocardial infarction, cardiac death, and all cause mortality over the last fifteen years in Denmark for type two diabetics. For instance, the cumulative seven year risk of myocardial infarction reduced from6.9% to 28%. These reductions occurred over a period of time when there has been a lot more emphasis on using drugs to reduce cardiovascular risk. (Diabetes Care 2021)

In Sweden blood was tested to see how much dairy products were being consumed. Those who consumed the most dairy fat had 25% less risk of myocardial infarction compared to the lowest risk.

As many dietary guidelines recommend limiting dairy products in order to limit saturated fat intake, perhaps they should take note.

An article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that if the carbohydrate – insulin model of obesity is correct, then instead of calorie control diets and exercise to reduce obesity, focus should be put on low carbohydrate diets.

What do white rings round your corneas indicate?

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Adapted from BMJ 23 Nov 2021

In a German study of ten thousand people aged between 40 and 80 years old, 21% of men and 17% of women had white rings round their irises of the eyes. You may have noticed these in your parents or yourself and may have wondered what this means.

The average age of the group was 60. Researchers noted that corneal arcus is more likely in men than women, increases with age, and increases with lipid levels.

Corneal arcus has no relevance to socioeconomic status, body mass index, arterial blood pressure or HbA1c levels.

A ketogenic drink has been found to improve cognitive performance in those with mild cognitive impairment

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Adapted from A ketogenic drink improves cognition in mild cognitive impairment: Results of a 6 month RCT by Melanie Fortier et al. Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 2021.

Brain energy rescue is being tested to see if it can reduce cognitive decline in patients with mild cognitive impairment. It has previously been discovered that the brain has problems using glucose for fuel even before symptoms develop, but brain ketone use remains constant in both Alzheimers (A) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Increasing ketones available to the brain has been shown to improve cognitive symptoms.

A really easy way to increase blood ketone levels is to give a drink containing ketogenic medium chain fatty acids. This has been found to increase brain energy uptake via PET scans. This follow on trial was done to assess whether improvement in cognition after six months occurred.

This study was conducted in Quebec Canada. Very strict entry criteria were applied and the patients were randomised to the ketogenic drink or to a placebo drink. The drinks appeared and tasted identical.

122 participants were enrolled. In total 39 completed the ketogenic arm and 44 the placebo arm. They were well matched regarding age, sex, education, functional ability and cognitive scores, absence of depressive features, blood pressure, blood chemistry and APOE 4 status. ( A genetic variability that greatly increases the chance of developing dementia).

More participants dropped out of the ketogenic group mainly due to gastrointestinal side effects. The drop out rate overall was 32% and 38% in the ketogenic group. None of the side effects were serious.

The results showed that performance on widely used tests of episodic memory, executive function and language improved over 6 months in the ketogenic group compared to the placebo group. Improvement was directly correlated with the plasma level of ketones.

The dose used was 15g of kMCT twice a day.

This seems to be a very reasonable intervention for early cognitive decline particularly since no drugs are approved for MCI and drugs used for Alzheimers do not delay cognitive decline in MCI. It is possible that effects would be enhanced if patients also undertook a ketogenic diet. Further trials are now warranted to see if diagnosis of Alzheimers can be delayed in those suffering from mild cognitive impairment.

NICE: Use pillows to sleep on your side in the last 3 months of pregnancy

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Adapted from BMJ 6 Nov 2021 NICE: Routine antenatal care for women and their babies.

Although the evidence base is small, evidence suggests that after 28 weeks of pregnancy, women who fall asleep on their backs, have an increased risk of having a baby born small for gestational age or even stillbirth.

They suggest that women use pillows to alter their position in bed so that lying on their side is easier.

This was the main new bit of information from this updated review which is important for women to know. The last review was published in 2008.

Women don’t need to go via their GP to access antenatal care. They can self refer, make an appointment with a midwife, any other appropriate health care professional, or via school nurses, community centre or refugee hostel. At a midwife led booking appointment she will be given information on all the things she can modify, by doing or not doing things to improve her chances of having a healthy baby. Partner involvement is considered to be helpful at all stages of pregnancy and delivery.

They also state that if a woman has vaginal bleeding after 13 weeks of pregnancy, she should be referred to hospital. (This normally happens and is not new advice).

Rates of maternal mortality and stillbirth are highest among women and babies from deprived areas, and higher among black, mixed ethnicity and Asian women compared with white women.

Routine ultrasound scanning is not recommended in low risk singleton pregnancies during the third trimester.

Improved life expectancy for severe kidney disease on keto diets

Teresa Rodriguez is a Florida USA specialist dietician who has undertaken training with the Charlie Foundation to provide help to patients who have severe kidney disease of various types. Some conditions, previously thought to be untreatable, such as Polycystic Kidney Disease respond to the ketogenic diet and the quality of life and life expectancy for these people has been transformed.

Teresa sees patients in person and coaches them online and via Facebook. She is expecting her book, aimed at both physicians and patients, Keto for Kidney Disease, to be published in March 22.

Teresa comes from Puerto Rico and speaks fluent Spanish and American English and can provide learning in both languages.

I was one of several doctors who were treated to an online presentation by Teresa recently, and was amazed to see how different her approach and results are compared to NHS “usual” treatment and results.

I was taught that there wasn’t really much you could do about Polycystic Kidneys except for dialysis and transplantation when the kidneys eventually failed. She explained that PKD is actually a metabolic condition and that it responds to a ketogenic diet of usually 20g carbohydrate a day. There can be other aggravating factors such as oxalate overload and the kidney needs support to avoid the formation of kidney stones. Many patients will need to drink lemon juice in the mornings and have a much higher fluid intake than usual.

She optimises the patient’s diet based on the results of a detailed clinical history and blood and urine results. She finds that Cystatin C is a much more reliable predicator of kidney function than standard tests such as Creatinine Clearance. She often has to modify drug prescriptions. The blood pressure must be kept within normal limits to reduce deterioration in kidney function but Calcium channel blockers are not beneficial in PKD compared to ACE inhibitors and Sartans. Metformin, however is beneficial.

There is increasing interest in Ketogenic Diet Therapy and Therapeutic Carbohydrate Restriction worldwide.

Fibre is not the answer for diverticulosis prevention

Adapted from A high fiber diet does not protect against asymptomatic diverticulosis by Anne F Peery et al. Gastroenterology Volume 142, Issue 2, February 2012 Pages 266-272.

The complications of diverticulosis cause considerable morbidity in the developed world. Many physicians and patients believe that a high fibre diet and frequent bowel movements are the key to its prevention. We sought to determine whether low fibre or high fat diets that include large quantities of red meat, constiptation or physical inactivity increase the risk for asymptomatic diverticulosis.

We performed a cross sectional study of 2,104 adults aged 30 to 80 who were getting an outpatient colonoscopy from 1998 to 2010. Diet and physical activity were assessed in interviews using validated techniques.

As we expected the numbers of people with diverticulosis increased as they aged. High fibre intake did not reduce the prevalence of diverticulosis. Indeed, those in the highest quartile of fibre intake had more diverticulosis per person than the lowest. Risk increased with increasing amounts of total fibre, fibre from grains, soluble and insoluble fibre. Constipation was also not a risk factor. Those who had more than 15 bowel movements a week had a 70% higher risk compared to those with less than 7 bowel movements a week. Neither physical inactivity or intake of fat or red meat was associated with diverticulosis.

These results indicated that the generally accepted “risk factors” for diverticulosis need to be reconsidered.

For one poor man’s real life experience with this condition read:

http://yelling-stop.blogspot.com/2010/08/diverticulitis-my-story.html

He found that wheat products and seed oils were the main factor and he wishes he had found this out before having a miserable 15 years with gut pain and diarrhea.

Tim Noakes: Nutrition Network Courses for Health Professionals

Homepage | Nutrition Network (nutrition-network.org)

Tim Noakes shot to fame in the low carb community by being accused of malpractice by two South African dieticians for giving dietary advice when he was not a registered dietician. After five long miserable years and the support of international colleagues he won the case. Anna Dahlquist, a Swedish GP had gone through the same thing a few years before this, and not only won her case, but managed to get the Swedish food guidelines for people with diabetes changed.

Professor Noakes has established online training for health professionals covering a variety of useful topics. Participants can be from all over the world and will receive accreditation. The full list of topics can be found by clicking on the homepage in BOLD above.

University College London: Diabetes has trebled in England in the last 25 years

Researchers from UCL analysed the results the latest results from the Health Survey for England.

Data from 8,200 adults and 2,000 children living in private households showed that diabetes has risen in men from 3% to 9% and from 2% to 6% in women since 1994.

Those from poorer households and those with obesity are much more likely to be affected than the slim and affluent. 16% from the poorest homes had diabetes compared to 7% in the highest income group. If you are of normal weight there is a 5% chance of diabetes, 9% if you are overweight and 15% if you are obese.

Obesity is a marker for poverty. 39% of women in deprived areas were obese compared to 22% from least deprived areas. The weight of children was closely correlated with their parents.

Professor Jennifer Mindell said,” Diabetes has become more common in both high and low income countries over the last few decades. It increases the risks of circulatory diseases and cancers. This year we have also seen a rise in serious infection and death such as with Covid-19. Obesity reduction would help all of these problems.”

The survey also asked about GP visits. 69% of men and 82% of women had consulted a GP in the previous six months. GP consultations are more common in older ages, especially among men and those who are overweight or obese. 84% said they went about their physical health problems, 11% for physical and mental problems and 5% for an emotional or mental health problem. Women tended to seek more help for mental health problems than men.

Echoing all the other parameters, consultations for mental health problems were more frequent in those with lower incomes. 25% consulted from the lowest income group compared to 15% from the most affluent group.

Elizabeth Fuller, Research Director at NatCen said, ” One in five women and one in eight men screened positive for a possible eating disorder. This can mean eating too much or too little, obsessing with weight or body shape, having strict routines around food or purging after eating. People who are obese, younger adults and women are more likely to be affected.”

Blood pressure difference between arms can be a risk factor for cognitive decline…as well as other things.

From Systolic inter-arm blood pressure difference and cognitive decline in older people, a cohort study. Christopher E Clark. BJGP July 2020

 

A prospective study was done in 1,113 Italians whose average age was 66.4 years. Even a difference of only 5 degrees between the arms was associated with a greater level of cognitive decline.

My comment: In UK GP practices, only one arm is used to check the blood pressure. In my case, it was the arm that was nearest to the desk. Perhaps we should check both ? Inter-arm BP differences are both associated with cardiovascular disease, and this in turn affects dementia. Then of course, is the question, what can you do about it? For a further discussion of the subject here is Pharmacist Antonio Bess from Diabetes in Control.

Cognitive Decline: Just Life, or a Preventable Disease?
Feb 22, 2020

Editor: David L. Joffe, BSPharm, CDE, FACA

Author: Antonio Bess, Pharm D Candidate, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University School of Pharmacy

Cognitive decline is associated with many diseases and medications, but the exact mechanisms are not clearly understood.
Diabetes, obesity, and declining cognitive function are all associated with increased prevalence with increasing age.

Diabetes is a known risk factor for eye, kidney, neurological and cardiovascular diseases, but its effect on declining cognitive function has been in question. Previous studies have found associations between patients who have diabetes and poor glycemic control and significantly faster cognitive decline. Other studies have demonstrated a pattern in which diabetes, high blood pressure, and high body mass index in midlife predict dementia in late life.

In this prospective study, individuals were followed for up to ten years to find associations between indices in diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, inflammation, and blood pressure with cognitive decline. The indices of interest were measured separately among those with and without central obesity.
The Monongahela‐Youghiogheny Healthy Aging Team is a population‐based cohort of participants recruited randomly from 2006 to 2008, who were 65 and older, and were from a group of small towns in southwestern Pennsylvania. The study is focused on the epidemiology of cognitive decline and dementia in an area that still has not recovered economically from the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s.

Participants were analyzed at study entry, and annual follow up. To measure cognitive function, participants were given a panel of neuropsychological tests tapping the domains of attention/processing speed, executive function, memory, language, and visuospatial function. At study entry and annually, BP, BMI, waist‐hip ratio, and depressive symptoms  were measured.
Key variables at the time of blood draw, including age, sex, race (white vs. nonwhite), education (high school [HS] or less vs. more than HS), APOE*4 allele carrier status, mCES‐D score, BMI, WHR, systolic BP (SBP), and the following laboratory assay variables: CRP, glucose, HbA1c, insulin, HOMA‐IR, resistin, adiponectin, and GLP‐1 were all reviewed to identify predictors of cognitive decline.
Among 1982 participants who were recruited and underwent full assessment at baseline from 2006 to 2008, only 478 individuals were able to provide fasting blood samples. Of this group of individuals, the median age was 82 years; 66.7% were women; 96.7% were white, and 49.0% had more than HS education.

Compared to the 1504 original participants without fasting blood data, at baseline, these 478 were significantly younger (74.6 vs. 78.6 years; P < .001); more likely to be women (66.7% vs. 59.2%; P = .004); more likely to be of European descent (96.7% vs. 94.1%; P < .001); more likely to have at least HS education (49.0% vs. 38.6%; P < .001); but about equally likely to be APOE*4 carriers (19.3% vs. 21.5%; P = .350).
In unadjusted analysis in the sample as a whole, faster cognitive decline was associated with greater age, less education, APOE*4 carriage, higher depression symptoms (mCES‐D score), and higher adiponectin level. HbA1c was significantly associated with cognitive decline.

After stratifying by the median waist-hip ratio, HbA1c remained related to cognitive decline in those with higher waist-hip ratios. Faster cognitive decline was associated, in lower waist-hip ratio participants younger than 87 years, with adiponectin of 11 or greater; and in higher waist-hip ratio participants younger than 88 years, with HbA1c of 6.2% or greater. Higher adiponectin levels predicted a steeper cognitive decline in the lower waist-hip ratio group.
Abdominal obesity plays a crucial role in cognitive decline in those with diabetes. The microvascular disease may play a more significant role than macrovascular disease. Midlife obesity contributes to cognitive decline but there was no midlife data in this study. Future studies should include a large minority, midlife population. Adiponectin levels need to be carefully assessed as well.

Practice Pearls:
In individuals younger than 88 years old, central obesity can lead to faster cognitive declines.
Obesity, diabetes, and aging contribute to cognitive decline, so it’s hard to distinguish the most significant risk.
Adiponectin may be a novel independent risk factor for cognitive decline and should be reviewed.

Ganguli, Mary, et al. “Aging, Diabetes, Obesity, and Cognitive Decline: A Population‐Based Study.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Feb. 2020, p. jgs.16321, doi:10.1111/jgs.16321.
Ganguli, Mary, et al. Aging, Diabetes, Obesity, and Cognitive Decline: A Population-Based Study. 2020, pp. 1–8, doi:10.1111/jgs.16321.
Tuligenga, Richard H., et al. “Midlife Type 2 Diabetes and Poor Glycaemic Control as Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline in Early Old Age: A Post-Hoc Analysis of the Whitehall II Cohort Study.” The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, vol. 2, no. 3, Elsevier Limited, Mar. 2014, pp. 228–35, doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70192-X.
Cukierman, T., et al. “Cognitive Decline and Dementia in Diabetes – Systematic Overview of Prospective Observational Studies.” Diabetologia, vol. 48, no. 12, Springer, 8 Dec. 2005, pp. 2460–69, doi:10.1007/s00125-005-0023-4.

Antonio Bess, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Pharmacy

Dietary gluten in pregnancy is related to an increased risk of type one diabetes in the child

Adapted from Antvorskov JC et al. Association between maternal gluten intake and type one diabetes in offspring. BMJ 22 September 2018

This research was based on a study of Danish women’s food frequency questionnaires completed 25 weeks after their first pregnancies ended. The incidence of diabetes in the children was then noted from January 1996 till May 2016 from the Danish Registry of Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes. After certain exclusions had been made over 63,500 were analysed.

The mean gluten intake per day was 13g ranging from 7g to more than 20g per day.

The incidence of diabetes in the child increased proportionately according to gluten intake. The women who had  20g or more intake had double the type one diabetes in their offspring compared to those who ate 7g or less.

As type one diabetes has risen seemingly inexplicably over the last few decades, there has been a lot of consideration into possible environmental triggers. Gluten is a storage protein found in wheat, rye and barley.  In animal studies, a wheat free diet in the mother has been found to dramatically reduce the incidence of diabetes in the child.

It has been suggested that gluten can affect gut permeability, gut microbiotica and cause low grade inflammation.

Although there is this association between gluten and type one diabetes it could be that other factors, for example the advanced glycation products from the baking process, that are to blame.  Unwanted additives to grain  could also be a factor eg mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides and fertilisers.

Mothers who eat a lot of gluten may similarly feed their children a lot of gluten. They also may pass gliadin from wheat into the breast milk.

Although this research suggests that high amounts of gluten may be problematic in pregnancy, further research will need to be done before dietary recommendations are likely to be changed.