Friday, 24 June 2011

Diet that reversed kidney failure in diabetic mice

We missed this report when it came out, but thought it worth including.

A BBC News report covers some research where diabetic mice were fed a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrate. And damage to the kidneys caused by too much sugar was reversed.

The researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York used mice with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Once kidney damage had developed, half the mice were put onto the ketogenic diet for eight weeks.

The highly controlled diet, which is 87% fat, mimics the effect of starvation and should not be used without medical advice. After eight weeks the researchers noted that kidney damage was reversed.

It is also questionable whether the diet used in this model would be sustainable for humans, even in the short term.”

The researchers also need to figure out the exact process that leads to repair.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: "This research was carried out in mice so it is difficult to see how these results would translate into any real benefits for people with diabetes at this stage.

As diabetes is a major factor in causing kidney damage and leading to dialysis, IF this could be translated in to something that was usable in humans, it could lead to a major improvement for diabetics.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Australian Problems with Dialysis

Here we highlight two recent news articles about Australia, for a change.

The first report claims that "kidney disease is rampant in the Northern Territories".

The basis for this claim is new figures showing that end-stage kidney disease in NT is approximately three times that of the rest of Australia. The figures are due to the higher proportion of Aboriginal people living in that area, and Aboriginals are one of the groups who generally suffer much more from kidney problems. Often due to diabetes and the associated kidney damage.

Reported by ABC.Net and Topnews.

The second report says that "Aborigines are choosing to die rather than travel for dialysis" - another dramatic headline.

This report opens with a statement that Aborigines (or indigenous Australians for the politically correct among you) are eight times more likely to die from chronic kidney disease than other Australians. The reason is claimed to be that the lack of nearby dialysis services forces people to travel long distances for treatment, and many do not like this. Especially as South Australia was refusing to fund interstate dialysis treatments for people living in remote areas of the state.

We read this article at The Australian.

Let's hope this dreadful state of affairs is eventually improved.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Vytorin Lowers Heart Disease Risk in Kidney Patients

Vytorin, a drug used for lowering cholesterol levels, has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease among kidney patients by up to 25 percent, according to the results obtained by Oxford University research scientists who carried out the research on a group of 9,270 kidney disease patients, with the work starting in 2003.

The measured improvement was 17% but many patients were not on the drug for the entire test period, and the researchers estimate that the improvement would have been 25% if they had.

Patients with chronic kidney disease are at high risk of suffering a heart attack. Lowering the LDL levels (the so-called bad cholesterol) reduces the risks for healthy people, but this latest study shows it works very well for chronic kidney disease patients too, reports Dr. Colin Baigent of Oxford University, in the June 9th online version of The Lancet

Vytorin is a low statin drug (statins are not processed well by kidney patients) combined with Zetia (ezetimibe). The research was funded in part by the drug's manufacturer, Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals.

While this will not cure any kidney disease, it reduces the problem of death from a secondary cause. Given that it is estimated that 10% of people have some form of kidney disease, the research is considered to have major implications in improcing health and life-span.