FDA could speed approval process for obesity drugs | A1C improvements curb 5-year mortality risk in diabetes | Study links weight-loss drug to better A1C levels
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October 24, 2012
TRI SmartBrief
Research transforming the study of diabetes and obesity

Top Story
FDA could speed approval process for obesity drugs
Treatments whose benefits may outweigh their risks, including those that treat obesity, infectious diseases and drug-resistant bacteria, could get fast-tracked for approval. An FDA commissioner said such drugs could be labeled for "special medical use," and could require faster clinical trials with a smaller group of patients so the drugs can be prescribed to those who need them most. Bloomberg Businessweek (10/11)
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Science & Research
A1C improvements curb 5-year mortality risk in diabetes
Data on 12,359 type 2 diabetes patients with poor glucose control revealed those who showed A1C improvements were less likely to die of any cause within five years compared with those who had no improvement in glucose levels. Participants with improved A1C were also less likely than those with poor glycemic control to develop coronary heart disease and experience fatal cardiovascular disease, researchers noted. The results were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting. InternalMedicineNews.com (free registration) (10/18)
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Study links weight-loss drug to better A1C levels
Type 2 diabetes patients who took the weight-loss drug Qsymia attained a 0.4% mean reduction in A1C, compared with only 0.1% in the placebo group, an analysis of data from the CONQUER trial showed. Another review of the trial data found fewer patients on Qsymia treatment needed to increase their diabetes medication intake during the 56-week study. The findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting. MedPage Today (free registration) (10/6)
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Sleep deprivation affects insulin resistance, study finds
Lack of sleep resulted in a 30% reduction in insulin response in the fat cells of sleep-deprived participants, according to a small study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers also found sleep-deprived participants had nearly three times higher insulin rates, compared with those who were well-rested, which could increase their risk of type 2 diabetes. HealthDay News (10/15)
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Experts ID mechanism behind overeating, diabetes link
Overeating impaired the brain insulin's ability to suppress glucose release from the liver and lipolysis in fat tissue, resulting in diabetes and obesity onset in rats fed with a high-fat diet, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found. The results appear in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Newstrack India/Asian News International (10/18)
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Proneurotensin is tied to diabetes, mortality risk in women
Swedish researchers found that high levels of the proneurotensin peptide was associated with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and death in women. The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that proneurotensin levels may serve as markers for disease risk, researchers said. Diabetes.co.uk (U.K.) (10/11)
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What were the most interesting developments coming out of last month's Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society?
Mobile/eHealth and weight control  71.43%
Drug development in obesity space  14.29%
Relationship between obesity and cancer  14.29%
Promoting adherence among patients  0.00%
Racial disparities in weight loss  0.00%
Products & Innovation
Pharmaceutical firm opens access to drug information
GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty announced last week that researchers can now access information related to the company's clinical trials, including anonymized patient-level outcomes for trials of failed and approved treatments. Witty also pledged to pursue publication of the outcomes of clinical tests of his company's drugs in peer-reviewed scientific journals, regardless of the results of the trials. MedCityNews.com/Reuters (10/11)
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Trends & Technology
ONC to conduct nationwide HIE survey in laboratories
The ONC is set to launch the National Survey on Health Information Exchange in Clinical Laboratories to assess the level at which labs share information with doctors. The agency will create a baseline level for data exchange between laboratories and providers using the survey data, with the ultimate goal of offering more targeted assistance to states as they create strategies for laboratory exchange. Health Data Management (10/18)
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UPMC to create data warehouse for personalized medicine research
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will spend $100 million on a five-year initiative to create a data warehouse that is expected to advance research on personalized medicine and improve patient care. The first part of the plan is to install the technology infrastructure needed to house data from more than 200 information sources from UPMC and outside entities. Healthcare Finance News (10/1)
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Other News
TRI News
TRI's Dr. Steven R. Smith comments on advances in obesity treatment options
Emerging treatments in weight management were a major focus at the North American Menopause Society's 23rd Annual Meeting earlier this month. As new anti-obesity drugs enter the market, and metrics beyond traditional BMI and weight circumference (WC) measurements are becoming more commonplace, there is a greater understanding of the fundamental risks associated with obesity. "I think we're at a turning point in the medical practice regarding obesity therapy," said Dr. Steven Smith, scientific director of TRI. "Now we have tools in the tool kit other than [just] encouraging and using lifestyle management techniques in the office." Read the complete story.
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Poll: November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. How are you planning to show support?
Check out the results of this poll in next month's TRI SmartBrief.
VoteParticipate in a walk sponsored by my local chapter of a diabetes organization
VoteDonate to my favorite diabetes-focused charity
VoteWear special clothing or diabetes-themed accessories, such as awareness bracelets
VoteUse social media to share advice for improving diabetes self-management
VoteAdvocate for increased research funding to find a cure
Not all those who wander are lost."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien,
British writer, poet, philologist and professor
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