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Vol. LXIV, No. 22
October 26, 2012
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Digest

After Diabetes During Pregnancy, Healthy Diet Linked to Reduced Type 2 Diabetes Risk

By sticking to a healthy diet in the years after pregnancy, women who develop diabetes during pregnancy can greatly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
By sticking to a healthy diet in the years after pregnancy, women who develop diabetes during pregnancy can greatly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

By sticking to a healthy diet in the years after pregnancy, women who develop diabetes during pregnancy can greatly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study that appeared online in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Previously, it was not known how much the risk for type 2 diabetes in these women could be lowered through adhering to a healthy diet.

In about 5 percent of U.S. pregnancies, women who do not have diabetes before becoming pregnant develop high blood sugar levels in pregnancy. This condition, called gestational diabetes, raises a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life up to seven-fold, compared to pregnant women who don’t have gestational diabetes.

The study found the greatest reductions in type 2 diabetes risk were for women who followed diets rich in whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes and included poultry, seafood and nuts, with limited intake of red and processed meats.

“Our findings indicate that women with gestational diabetes aren’t necessarily preordained to develop type 2 diabetes,” said senior author Dr. Cuilin Zhang of NICHD, where much of the analysis was conducted. “It appears they may have some degree of control. Sticking to a healthy diet may greatly reduce their chances for developing diabetes later in life.” NIDDK and NCI provided funding support.

Researchers Provide Detailed View of Brain Protein Structure

Researchers have published the first highly detailed description of how neurotensin, a neuropeptide hormone that modulates nerve cell activity in the brain, interacts with its receptor. Their results suggest that neuropeptide hormones use a novel binding mechanism to activate a class of receptors called G-protein coupled receptors.

“The knowledge of how the peptide binds to its receptor should help scientists design better drugs,” said NINDS’s Dr. Reinhard Grisshammer, an author of the study published in Nature.

Binding of neurotensin initiates a series of reactions in nerve cells. Previous studies have shown that neurotensin may be involved in Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, temperature regulation, pain and cancer cell growth.

Grisshammer and colleagues used X-ray crystallography to show what the receptor looks like in atomic detail when it is bound to neurotensin. The study was supported by NINDS, NIDDK and other institutions.

Risk Gene for Alzheimer’s Associated with Lower Brain Amyloid

Researchers investigating a known gene risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease discovered it is associated with lower levels of beta amyloid—a brain protein involved in Alzheimer’s—in cognitively healthy older people. The findings suggest that a mechanism other than one related to beta amyloid accumulation may influence disease risk associated with the gene. The study, by researchers at NIA, was published online Sept. 27 in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

The scientists studied a variation in the complement receptor-1 (CR1) gene, a newly identified gene associated with risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, in cognitively normal older volunteers. Participants with this gene variant were found to have less brain amyloid than those without the risk variant. In addition, the CR1 gene variant was found to interact with APOE, the most robust genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, to influence the amount of brain amyloid.

Study Reveals Genomic Similarities Between Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer

One subtype of breast cancer shares many genetic features with high-grade serous ovarian cancer, a cancer that is very difficult to treat, according to researchers supported by NCI and NHGRI. The findings suggest that the two cancers are of similar molecular origin, which may facilitate the comparison of therapeutic data for subtypes of breast and ovarian cancers.

The researchers, using data generated as part of the Cancer Genome Atlas, described new insights into the 4 standard molecular subtypes based on a comprehensive characterization of samples from 825 breast cancer patients. The study was published online Sept. 23 and in print Oct. 4 in Nature.—compiled by Carla Garnett


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