(photo credit: Courtesy)
A common test to diagnose gestational diabetes – a temporary condition during
pregnancy that can harm both mother and child if left untreated – also has
predictive power for Type II adult-onset diabetes, according to a new Tel Aviv
Dr. Gabriel Chodick of TAU Medical Faculty’s
epidemiology and preventive medicine department has proven that women who “fail”
the glucose challenge test – a series of four blood tests conducted over a
single four-hour period – have a higher chance of developing adult-onset
diabetes later in life.
In his latest research, published recently in the
journal Diabetic Medicine, Chodick found that nearly half the women who fail all
four of the tests, demonstrating an elevated blood sugar level, developed Type
II diabetes within a decade.
Gestational diabetes currently affects 3
percent to 5% of all pregnant women in the US and other Western countries, and
rates are continuing to rise, Chodick says. “It’s an epidemic that can be
stopped with information and action.” His study proves statistically what has
been anecdotally believed by health care practitioners in the
“While doctors take this into consideration, there usually isn’t
close follow-up in the clinical setting,” says Chodick. He adds that women in
the highest risk group (those who fail all four of the tests) should be given
special counselling and intervention to prevent the onset of diabetes, which can
greatly diminish quality of life and lead to adverse effects if blood sugar is
not controlled, including heart disease, stroke, loss of limbs, blindness and
In the retrospective study, Chodick, Dr.
Shalev and colleagues collected data on more than 185,000 Israeli women who took
the glucose challenge test and then then obtained data from the health registry
on what percentage contracted diabetes later in life. They found that women who
failed all four glucose challenge blood tests had a nearly 50% risk of
developing Type II diabetes within the next 10 years. Those who failed three of
the four tests had a 20% overall chance of developing the disease within the
same period. “This is the firstever study to show the long-term health of those
who failed the glucose challenge test,” says Chodick.
commonly advise that women with gestational diabetes exercise and supplement
their diet with fiber (and, in the most extreme circumstances, take insulin
injections), women who take the advice usually have the health of their child in
mind, not themselves. After giving birth, they often resume adverse eating and
lifestyle habits. Now Chodick hopes to change attitudes and policies through his
new study. In the US, Israel and Europe, he concludes, health maintenance
organizations are thinking about eliminating the glucose battery test from their
coverage, potentially putting fetal health in danger and preventing women from
receiving invaluable predictive information.
OUTPATIENT EATING DISORDERS
CENTER The first center outside the center of the country for day treatment of
teenagers with eating disorders has been opened at Ziv Medical Center in Safed.
Half of the cost has been supplied by a Dutch family and the rest by the Health
Ministry. The center allows the youngsters to live at home while receiving
psychological and other treatment in the hospital. The one-stop,
multidisciplinary center represents a new approach in treating anorexia, bulimia
and other eating disorders; until now, victims have been hospitalized as
psychiatric department inpatients. The new facility provides individual and
group therapy and guidance to the parents as well.
OMEGA 3 LINKED WITH
LOWER BREAST CANCER RISK There is growing evidence that fish oil supplements
(omega 3) may play a role in preventing breast cancer, in addition to heart
disease and others, according to a recent report in Cancer Epidemiology,
Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in
Seattle, led by Dr. Emily White, asked 35,016 postmenopausal women who did not
have a history of breast cancer to complete a 24-page questionnaire about their
use of non-vitamin, non-mineral “specialty” supplements in the Vitamins and
Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study.
After six years of follow-up by the
retrospective study, 880 cases of breast cancer were identified. The team found
that regular use of fish oil supplements was linked with a 32% lower risk of
invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease. The use of
other specialty supplements, many of which are commonly taken by women to treat
symptoms of menopause, was not associated with breast cancer risk.
research is the first to demonstrate a link between the use of fish oil
supplements and a reduction in breast cancer. However, more studies are needed
to confirm the conclusions, White said. Harvard researchers are currently
enrolling 20,000 patients for the prospective randomized Vitamin D and Omega-3
Trial (also called VITAL), which will assess the impact of fish oil supplements
and vitamin D on cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Meanwhile, research at
the Mayo Clinic has found that Ixempra (ixabepilone), the Bristol-Myers-Squibb
drug for “triple negative” breast cancer, offers hope to patients.
is a very aggressive type of tumor that results from a specific genetic profile
and has not responded well to Herceptin and other breast cancer drugs. The
therapy can increase the likelihood that the tumor is a chronic illness that can
be handled, the study found, rather than a disease that kills.