METABOLISM Linking obesity and high cholesterol Obese patients are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and a hardening of blood vessel walls called atherosclerosis. One factor that drives atherosclerosis development in obesity is abnormal blood cholesterol levels. ApoB is the major lipid-binding protein that transports low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL cholesterol) from the liver to blood. Alan Tall of Columbia University and colleagues wanted to better understand the genes that are associated with altered levels of LDL and VLDL cholesterol in an obese mouse model system. The research team discovered that a gene call sortilin-1 was inhibited in obese mice. This inhibition caused an increase in apoB secretion and high cholesterol. Accordingly, restoring sortilin-1 levels in the obese mouse model reduced apoB levels.
One of the critical features of psoriasis is chronic inflammation, a condition also seen in people with insulin resistance, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and abnormal levels of cholesterol. Evidence is now emerging of a link between psoriasis and these other serious diseases, prompting the American Academy of Dermatology to urge patients with psoriasis, particularly those severely affected, to be more aware and monitor their health very closely for signs of these diseases. Dr Joel M. Gelfand, assistant professor of dermatology and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, gave a presentation about it at the American Academy of Dermatology's 70th Annual Meeting in San Diego last week. In the United States there are about 7 million people with psoriasis, including about 3 million who have never been diagnosed.
The food that inspires wariness is on course for inspiring even more wonder from a medical standpoint as scientists report the latest evidence that chili peppers are a heart-healthy food with potential to protect against the No. 1 cause of death in the developed world. The report was part of the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, being held here this week. The study focused on capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed "capsaicinoids." The stuff that gives cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers their heat, capsaicin already has an established role in medicine in rub-on-the-skin creams to treat arthritis and certain forms of pain. Past research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people with that condition, reduce blood cholesterol and ease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form.
Low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) is the "bad" cholesterol, and despite many drugs including statins available to doctors, patients often have trouble reducing their blood level of LCL-C. Sanofi and Regeneron presented data at The American College of Cardiology Meeting on 26th March 2012, showing an impressive reduction using their new antibody treatment known as SAR236553/REGN727. The human antibody is administered subcutaneously and targets PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9). Patients were treated over a period of 8 to 12 weeks and showed between 40 to 70+% reduction in LDL-C where their levels had previously remained stubbornly high using statins. Dr. James McKenney, President and CEO of National Clinical Research, Inc., Professor Emeritus of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, USA, and Principal Investigator of the study said : "Many patients are not able to lower their LDL-C sufficiently by diet and medication despite the availability of statins.
Label changes for statins, a type of cholesterol-lowering medication, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), USA. Labels will include more data on adverse events, drug interactions, and the checking of liver enzymes. The FDA says these changes will provide patients with more information so they can use statins more safely and effectively. Liver enzyme monitoring The need to routinely monitor liver enzymes among patients taking statins has been revised in the labeling. The updated information recommends testing for liver enzymes before beginning to take statins "and as clinically indicated thereafter". The FDA informs that serious liver injury caused by statins is very uncommon, and also hard to predict on a patient-to-patient bases. Periodically monitoring liver enzymes does not seem to impact on serious liver injury risk, nor does it effectively detect serious injury.