HEART RISKS FOR DIABETES
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The
cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, known generically as
atorvastatin, reduces cardiovascular events in people with
type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, a study shows.
The findings confirm that
regardless of "cholesterol level at baseline, the use of
atorvastatin by patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension
reduces adverse cardiovascular events by about a
quarter," Dr. Neil R. Poulter of Imperial College,
London, told Reuters Health.
In light of these results and
other data, Poulter added, "physicians really need to
find a good reason why not to include a statin as part of
routine treatment for all patients with type 2 diabetes."
The investigator and his and
colleagues examined data from a large trial that included more
than 10,000 hypertensive patients with no history of coronary
heart disease, but at least three cardiovascular risk factors.
The researchers focused on the
2532 participants who had diabetes at the start of the study.
The subjects, who did not have very high cholesterol levels,
were randomly assigned to take Lipitor or an inactive placebo.
After 3 years, there were 116 (9
percent) major cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or
procedures such as coronary bypass surgery in the Lipitor
group and 151 (12 percent) in the placebo group -- a
significant reduction -- the researchers report in the journal
The team concludes that it seems
reasonable to prescribe statin therapy routinely for people
with diabetes, particularly older patients and those with a
long duration of diabetes.
SOURCE: Diabetes Care, May 2005.
Helps Diabetics Quickly Shed Pounds
By Alison McCook
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - After
eating only traces of carbohydrates for 2 weeks, 10 obese
patients with Type 2 diabetes lost an average of 3.6 pounds,
suggesting that a low-carbohydrate diet works in the
short-term, according to study findings released Monday.
Although participants could eat as
much protein and fat as they wanted during the diet, they
averaged 1,000 fewer calories each day, which was probably the
key factor in their weight loss, the lead author told Reuters
The low-carbohydrate diets or the
Atkins diet work in the short term because followers
"lose weight, and the reason they do is because they eat
less," said Dr. Guenther Boden of Temple University in
Boden cautioned that the two-week
diet was "very drastic." People were allowed to eat
only 20 grams of carbohydrates per day -- practically no
carbohydrates, he said. "There's no way you could stick
to this for any length of time."
Consequently, Boden noted that for
people who want to lose a little bit of weight -- perhaps 20
pounds -- it makes more sense to cut carbohydrates to "a
During the study, Boden and his
team asked 10 obese people with Type 2 diabetes -- the most
common form of the disease -- to follow their usual diets for
7 days, and then cut out practically all carbohydrates for the
next 14 days.
While eating their usual diets,
people consumed approximately 3100 calories each day. During
the 14-day diet, however, they averaged only 2100 calories per
day, and lost almost 4 pounds in 2 weeks.
Boden explained that the amount of
calories people ate on the low-carb diet matched what they
should eat, based on their height. "By taking the carbs
away, they adjusted their excessive caloric intake to a normal
caloric intake, spontaneously," he said.
As a result, he suggested that
there may be something in carbohydrates that fuels appetite,
given that that was the only factor that changed in the
Cutting carbs appeared to also
help normalize diabetics' blood sugar, so much so that some
patients had to reduce their diabetes medication, Boden added.
"For diabetics, you get an additional benefit," he
The authors also carefully
measured how many calories people burned on daily activities
while on the different diets, and found they did not increase
their expenditures while eating low-carb fare. Changes in
water weight also did not explain the weight loss, the authors
report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Boden said that he and his
colleagues did not accept any financial backing from Atkins
Nutritionals, the well-known promoter of the low-carbohydrate
In an accompanying editorial, Dr.
George A. Bray, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center
in Baton Rouge, notes that previous research has shown low-carb
dieters tend to initially lose more weight than other dieters,
but those differences vanish after one year.
If one diet could "cure"
obesity, researchers would have discovered it by now, given
the amount of time they've spent investigating the subject,
All diets limit food choices, he
notes. "I am thus not convinced that one diet has any
more value than another -- they all have value," Bray
SOURCE: Annals of Internal
Medicine, March 15, 2005.