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Vol. LXVII, No. 20
September 25, 2015
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Digest

More Than Half of Asian Americans with Diabetes Are Undiagnosed

More than half of Asian Americans and nearly half of Hispanic Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed, according to researchers from NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their results were published Sept. 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Additionally, prevalence of diabetes for all American adults went up, from nearly 10 percent to over 12 percent between 1988 and 2012. Diabetes prevalence—how common the condition is—also went up in every age, sex, level of education, income and racial/ethnic subgroup. One bright spot: The proportion of people with diabetes that was undiagnosed decreased 23 percent between 1988-1994 and 2011-2012. The statistics account for age differences across the surveys.

Using newly available 2011-2012 data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers were able to quantify diabetes prevalence for Asian Americans for the first time and found that they have the highest proportion of diabetes that was undiagnosed among all ethnic and racial subgroups studied, at 51 percent. Diabetes was also common in Asian Americans, at 21 percent. Hispanic Americans had the highest prevalence of diabetes at nearly 23 percent, with 49 percent of that undiagnosed.

“The large proportion of people with undiagnosed diabetes points to both a greater need to test for type 2 diabetes and a need for more education on when to test for type 2 diabetes, especially since populations such as Asian Americans may develop type 2 at a lower body mass than other groups,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Catherine Cowie, director of diabetes epidemiology programs at NIDDK.

Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases

Calorie restriction lowers some risk factors for age-related diseases.

An NIH-supported study provides some of the first clues about the impact of sustained calorie restriction in adults. Results from a 2-year clinical trial show calorie restriction in normal-weight and moderately overweight people failed to have some metabolic effects found in laboratory animal studies. However, researchers found calorie restriction modified risk factors for age-related diseases and influenced indicators associated with longer life-span, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance. The study was reported in the September issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Calorie restriction is a reduction in calorie intake without deprivation of essential nutrients. It has been shown to increase longevity and delay the progression of a number of age-related diseases in multiple animal studies.

“The study found that this calorie restriction intervention did not produce significant effects on the pre-specified primary metabolic endpoints, but it did modify several risk factors for age-related diseases,” said NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes.

In laboratory animals, calorie restriction’s favorable effects on life-span have generally been found when it is begun in youth or early middle age. An equivalent trial in people would take decades. However, shorter trials can determine feasibility, safety and effects on quality of life, disease risk factors, predictors of life-span and effects on mechanisms influenced by calorie restriction in laboratory animal studies.

The study also assessed calorie restriction’s effects on mood (particularly hunger-related symptoms) and found no adverse effects. No increased risk of serious adverse clinical events was reported.

Rates of Survival Increasing for Extremely Preterm Infants

Extremely preterm infants, those born before the 28th week of pregnancy, are surviving in greater numbers and escaping serious illness, according to a comprehensive review of births in an NIH research network.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reviewed the birth records of more than 35,000 premature infants born from 1993 to 2012 in 26 U.S. centers participating in the Neonatal Research Network, a program funded by NICHD.

Among the major findings:

  • Infants born at 23 and 24 weeks survived in greater numbers over the 20-year period. Of those born at 24 weeks, for example, only 52 percent survived in 1993 while 65 percent survived in 2012.
  • A higher number of premature infants survived without major illnesses. For infants born at 27 weeks, for example, survival without major illness increased from 29 percent in 1993 to 47 percent in 2012.

“NICHD has funded newborn care research for many years,” said Dr. Rosemary Higgins, who oversees the Neonatal Research Network. “We’re now seeing the results of that investment in improvements in survival and outcomes.” More than 450,000 premature babies are born each year in the United States. Higgins attributed the boost in survival to advances in maternal and newborn care, such as the increased use of antenatal steroids, drugs given to women at risk for preterm birth to help stimulate lung development in the fetus.


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