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American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, May 14-18

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists' 23rd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress

The annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists was held from May 14 to 18 in Las Vegas and attracted approximately 17,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in endocrinology. The conference highlighted recent advances in endocrinology and included research on diabetes and metabolic disorders.

In one study, Larissa Avilés-Santa, M.D., of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Division of Cardiovascular Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues found that the overall prevalence of diabetes was higher than previously thought among Hispanics/Latinos.

"We found a prevalence of 16.9, compared to 15.6 found in the Hispanic arm of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Specifically, we found that Hispanics/Latinos of Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican background have the highest prevalence of diabetes, at 18 percent," said Avilés-Santa. "The lowest prevalence of diabetes was found among South Americans, followed by Cubans. Overall, we found that there are differences in prevalence of diabetes in different Hispanic groups."

The investigators also assessed the prevalence of prediabetes.

"We found that the prevalence of prediabetes was 36 percent, which was a little higher than the prevalence in the U.S. general population of 34 percent," said Avilés-Santa. "Hispanics of Dominican background had the lowest prevalence (about 31 percent) and those of Mexican background had the highest prevalence of prediabetes. In addition, we also found a direct relationship between prediabetes and BMI."

In terms of metabolic syndrome, the investigators found a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome among women, at 36 percent (men at 34 percent), as compared to the last cycle of NHANES which found a prevalence in the general population of 22.5 percent.

"This is the right time to work together for the improvement of the health of the largest minority group in the nation. Cross-collaboration among health care providers, clinical and basic researchers, and those responsible for health policies is essential," said Aviles-Santa. "And at the clinical care level, exploring how to engage Hispanic patients to become active participants in their health management would be a step forward in the improvement of Hispanic health."

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During another presentation, Jayson Lusk, Ph.D., of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, provided insight into whether the government should intervene in the obesity epidemic. Overall, according to Lusk, obesity is an extremely costly and serious issue for a number of reasons; however, regulations and motivations for public policies do not appear compelling.

"The cost of obesity is born by the individual and the public, but justification for government action is often weak and not always based on economic consequences," said Lusk. "There are a number of different issues related to that. It is important for the public to pay some of the costs themselves."

According to Lusk, the government should inform individuals within the community about the risks associated with being overweight or obese as well as encourage them to invest in their own well-being.

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In a series of case studies, Aren Skolnick, D.O., of the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., and colleagues found that the number of men who suffer from anorexia is higher than previously thought, and the presence of anorexia negatively impacts management and treatment for endocrine conditions.

"Talking to the patient and taking a history is the most important thing. Find out their eating habits, social support, nutrition intake, etc. That's going to tell you a lot of what you need to know," Skolnick said in a statement.

Skolnick found that male anorexia patients were unlikely to respond to treatment for endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism due to being undernourished. In addition, once patients were treated for their malnourishment, endocrine abnormalities improved without further treatment being required.

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In another study, Gregory Randolph, M.D., of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, and colleagues evaluated the vocal outcomes of 30 professional vocalists who had undergone thyroidectomy using intraoperative monitoring of the vocal cords. The investigators found that all vocalists had returned to singing professionally postoperatively, with no statistical difference in vocal cord function seen before or after surgery.

"We do know that thyroid surgery is associated with nerve injury, vocal cord paralysis, or nerve paralysis that can occur in up to 10 percent of thyroidectomies and can lead to voice loss and difficulty swallowing, so these are very, very important complications to avoid," Randolph said in a statement. "These issues are magnified when you're dealing with a patient where such complications would not only involve loss of voice, but loss of career."

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Stella Lucia Volpe, Ph.D., R.D., of Drexel University in Philadelphia, and colleagues evaluated the effects of juicing, vitamin supplementation, and hydration strategies among athletes and individuals who regularly visited the gym.

"People are always looking for things that might make them a better athlete or give them a better workout. They still need to know that it's important to eat well and exercise, but these additions can also make a difference," Volpe said in a statement.

Beet root juice, despite only being studied in competitive cyclists, may be beneficial in fighting exhaustion. It may also have some heart health benefits, although no formal studies have been conducted regarding the link between beet root juice and cardiovascular disease. In addition, tart cherry juice appears to have some anti-inflammatory benefits and may provide some benefits to those suffering with arthritis.

"If someone's activity is limited because of arthritis or other inflammatory issues, but they can feel even a little bit better by consuming some tart cherry juice, it might encourage them to be more active," Volpe said in a statement. "It can still help with exercise performance even if the person is not exercising at an elite level."

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Physician's Briefing