Health Highlights: April 10, 2008

"We know that there are patients at high risk for osteoporosis, sometimes already having suffered a broken bone, who aren't getting diagnosed and treated. We have to figure out why not," Dr. Robert Lindsay, GLOW executive committee co-chair and chief of internal medicine at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, N.Y., said in a prepared statement.

"Globally we have an aging female population that wants to maintain independence and vitality. We can help by finding the key to improving diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating disease," Lindsay said.

"We want to understand regional differences in physician and patient behavior and how that impacts patient outcomes. Hopefully, armed with that knowledge, we will be able to recommend best practices and improve the management of osteoporosis worldwide," Professor Pierre Delmas, GLOW executive committee co-chair and professor of medicine and rheumatology at the Universite Claude Bernard in Lyon, France, said in a prepared statement.


Intestinal Nerves May Play Role in Blood Sugar Control

Canadian researchers have found that the intestines play a major role in controlling blood sugar levels, a discovery that could help in efforts to create safer and more effective diabetes medications, the Toronto Star reported.

The University Health Network team's tests on rats revealed that a set of nerves in the intestines is intimately involved in controlling blood glucose levels. This cluster of nerves senses the presence of food and signals the brain to halt the liver's glucose production. But the researchers found that a high-fat diet can switch off this signaling system, the Star reported.

"The cure for diabetes is to lower blood glucose levels... and this will be an innovative and effective approach to do that," said study senior author Tony Lam, the Star reported.

He noted that the gut can access drugs directly, instead of having to rely on blood for drug delivery. This finding about the role of intestines in controlling blood sugar levels could make it easier to create drugs to correct blood sugar problems.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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