The Endocrine Society's Annual Meeting, June 15-18, 2008

The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting

ENDO 2008 -- the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting -- took place June 15-18 in San Francisco, attracted more than 7,000 attendees from around the world, and showcased the latest advances in endocrine research and clinical care. Topics included the impact of diabetes and insulin resistance in women, a possible new benefit associated with bariatric surgery, and interventions aimed at reducing metabolic syndrome.

Ionna Gouni-Berthold, M.D. of the University of Cologne in Germany, presented research showing a gender disparity in the treatment of diabetics with heart disease. She and her colleagues assessed treatment patterns in almost 45,000 type 2 diabetics, including 9,521 men and 8,050 women who also had cardiovascular disease.

Although the researchers found no disparities in the management of patients without heart disease, they found that women with heart disease were 44 percent more likely than men to have high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 15 percent less likely to receive lipid-lowering medications, 19 percent more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure, and 15 percent more likely to have poor long-term blood-sugar control.

"More aggressive treatment of cardiovascular disease in women with diabetes may improve the gender disparity in cardiovascular disease mortality," Gouni-Berthold said in a statement. "Patients should speak with their doctors about the intensity of treatment modalities."

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Another study showed that pregnant women with insulin resistance have a higher rate of pregnancy and birth complications and suggested that a simple blood test may predict such complications. Presented by Weerapan Khovidhunkit, M.D., of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, HOMA may represent an alternative to oral glucose tolerance testing. "The oral glucose tolerance test is time-consuming," he said in a statement. "Also, many women cannot tolerate an oral glucose tolerance test due to nausea and vomiting." Because the study was conducted in a group of women who already had high glucose levels, however, he cautioned that further studies are needed in other populations before doctors routinely advise pregnant women to undergo HOMA testing.

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Two studies suggested that bariatric surgery may improve immune function in morbidly obese adults and adolescents. In one study, Alfredo Halpern, Ph.D., of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues assessed 28 adults who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery and lost an average of 78.5 pounds within six months. The researchers found that natural killer cell activity increased by almost 79 percent and also observed an enhanced response in associated cytokines such as interferon-gamma and interleukins 2, 12 and 18.

Bariatric surgery "may protect against infections and cancer by improving the activity of certain immune cells," Halpern said in a statement.

In another study, Ilene Fennoy, M.D., of the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, and colleagues assessed 14 adolescents who underwent minimally invasive laparoscopic gastric banding. After six months, the subjects lost an average of 20 pounds and showed significant improvements in several measures of metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides and elevated blood sugar. The researchers also observed improvements in liver and immune function.

"Laparoscopic gastric banding offers the possibility of a new therapy for morbidly obese adolescents who have medical complications," Fennoy said in a statement.

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A study presented by Helene Bihan, M.D., of Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, France, showed that a simple intervention involving just two visits to the doctor's office can dramatically reduce metabolic syndrome. She and her colleagues studied 82 subjects aged 45 to 60 who received a published guide and a 45-minute session with a doctor who advised changes in diet and exercise habits. Three months later, the subjects had a second session with the doctor to review the initial advice.

After six months, the researchers found that the subjects had decreased their intake of unhealthy food, and that 39 percent of the men and 17 percent of the women reported a higher level of physical activity. They also found that 30 percent of the subjects had lower blood pressure, 29 percent had lower levels of triglycerides, and 25 percent had a smaller waist circumference. Out of 82 patients, only 43 still met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.

"The prevalence of metabolic syndrome can decrease with a short, cost-effective program of education, and involving the patient's general practitioner," Bihan said in a statement.

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ENDO: Low Testosterone Linked to Increased Death Risk

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Regardless of age, men with low testosterone levels have a higher risk of death. In older men with low levels, however, testosterone replacement may lead to significant improvements in signs of the metabolic syndrome and may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to study findings presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 in San Francisco.

Abstract - Haring
Abstract - Saad
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ENDO: Novel Drug Blocks Growth of Breast Cancer Cells

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- A small molecule inhibitor blocks the estrogen receptor (ER) by a novel mechanism, blocking gene expression in drug-sensitive and drug-resistant cancer cells and inhibiting their growth, according to study findings presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 in San Francisco. The research was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in May.

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ENDO: Stem Cells Improve Bone Repair in Mice

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Stem cells transplanted into mice with a fracture improve fracture repair, which may have implications for fractures that fail to heal, according to study findings presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 in San Francisco.

Abstract #P2-652
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ENDO: Compound in Red Wine Reduces Fat Cells

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- A compound found in red wine and a protein that promotes the growth and survival of nerve cells may be important for the treatment and prevention of obesity, according to two studies presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 in San Francisco.

Abstract #P2-96
Abstract #P3-224
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ENDO: Insulin Resistance Tied to Birth/Pregnancy Problems

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- High degrees of insulin resistance in women may increase their rates of pregnancy complications and birth complications, and testing pregnant women for insulin resistance may be a useful way to predict problems, according to study findings presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 in San Francisco.

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Physician's Briefing