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Archive for the ‘Top News’ Category

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Gout was once thought of as a disease only for kings or the wealthy, brought on by overindulgence in rich foods, read meat, and alcohol, but today this painful condition is more prevalent in the general population than you might think. A form of arthritis, gout occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood, either because a person is predisposed to produce more uric acid or because the kidneys can’t excrete it fast enough or in sufficient quantity. Sharp urate crystals can form in and around the joints (in the feet, ankles, knees, hands, or wrists, but most often in the big toe), causing swelling, redness, and intense pain. Obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and kidney disease can lead to high levels of uric acid.

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis revealed that uric acid may cause metabolic syndrome, a set of symptoms that increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. – New Culprit Identified in Metabolic Syndrome

An interesting article from the Telegraph covers a brief history of gout, symptoms and causes, and AstraZeneca’s efforts to develop a new drug to treat rising cases in the United Kingdom and here at home. – ‘Victorian Disease’ Gout Is Still Big Business

A recent story in Renal & Urology News describes an increased risk of gout for living kidney donors, possibly due to lower glomerular filtration rates. - Living Kidney Donors Are At Higher Gout Risk

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Researchers continue to make important and sometimes surprising discoveries about PKD and the PKD1 gene. Here is a roundup of the latest PKD findings.

A University of Colorado School of Medicine study has shown that pravastatin can slow down the growth of PKD cysts in children and young adults. – Statins Given Early Decrease Progression of Kidney Disease

University of Queensland researchers have found that the PKD1 gene not only causes kidney disease, but also controls a major cancer highway.  - Kidney Disease Gene Controls Cancer Highway

Scientists from University of Kansas Medical Center have uncovered interesting data about cancer risk in transplant patients with PKD. – Kidney Transplant Patients with PKD May Have A Reduced Risk of Cancer Compared to Patients Without PKD


Friday, January 31st, 2014

Lately we’ve been reading some interesting news articles about things we should or shouldn’t do to maintain kidney health.

Researchers from University of Granada in Spain have found that popular high protein diets can increase the long-term risk of developing kidney disease and can contribute to kidney stones. – High Protein Diets, Like the Popular Dr. Dukan Diet, Increase the Risk of Developing Kidney Disease in Rats

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is so important when it comes to caring for your kidneys. Scientists at the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh have discovered that exposing the skin to sunlight lowers blood pressure by altering the levels of nitric oxide in the skin and blood. – Here Comes The Sun to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Wayne State University scientists have shown that tocotrienols in Vitamin E improved lipid profiles in hemodialysis patients, reducing triglycerides and increasing good cholesterol. More studies are needed, but the initial research is promising. – Wayne State Discovers Potential Treatment for Better Heart Health in Hemodialysis Patients

You might want to stand up while you read this. Kansas State University researchers have found that people who sit less and get moving more often have a lower risk of chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Previous studies have already shown that prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of kidney disease, particularly in women. - Take a Stand and Be Active to Reduce Chronic Disease, Make Aging Easier


Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

This has been a big week for stories about innovative approaches to organ donation. Last Sunday, the New York Times featured an amazing story about 60 people linked by a transplant chain that changed the lives of 30 patients with kidney disease. It all began with one man inspired by an acquaintance who had recently donated a kidney to a friend. – Lives Forever Linked Through Kidney Transplant Chain

A new program in Israel will give transplant priority to patients who are signed up to be organ donors. – In Israel, A New Approach to Organ Donation

Some transplant hospitals are using “less than perfect” organs to save lives. “When so many people are waiting, we need to be more creative in our use of organs,” says Dr. Darla Granger, transplant surgeon at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. – Organs From Less-Than-Ideal Donors Save Patients’ Lives

Another New York Times story contains fascinating insight into the current state of transplantion in the United States. Experts agree a national registry would maximize the number of kidney transplants through donation chains. But will we ever have one?  – Lack of Unified System Hampers Kidney Transplants

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Metabolic syndrome describes a set of symptoms that increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Those risk factors are:

  • high blood pressure
  • obesity, particularly extra weight around the waist
  • insulin resistance
  • low good cholesterol
  • higher levels of triglycerides

Patients are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome when they have 3 or more of these symptoms.

There have been a number of interesting discoveries about metabolic syndrome in the news lately. Scientists have found a link between metabolic syndrome and kidney disease which could lead to early interventions to prevent the syndrome as well as diabetes and kidney disease. – Metabolic Syndrome May Cause Kidney Disease

Researchers from the Gladstone Institutes have discovered how a gene called SIRT3 increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. – Gene That Exacerbates Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Diabetes Identified

Metabolic syndrome is also associated with increased incidence of kidney stones. An article from Internal Medicine News provides some insight into statistics and a possible cause for kidney stones in obese individuals. – Kidney Stones Linked to CVD, Metabolic Syndrome


Monday, June 27th, 2011

Last week was an exciting one for diabetes news. In addition to our recent post about a new drug that can improve kidney function in Type 2 diabetics, there have been many other interesting discoveries.

Newcastle University researchers in England have found that a very extreme diet can reverse Type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed patients. The diet reduced fat levels in the pancreas and liver, helping insulin production to return to normal. It isn’t known whether results will be permanent. – Type 2 Diabetes in Newly Diagnosed “Can Be Reversed”

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that a generic vaccine for tuberculosis that transiently reversed Type 1 diabetes in mice could work in humans as well. – Research Shows Promise in Reversing Type 1 Diabetes and Massachusetts General Hospital, Iacocca Foundation Announce Promising Results of Phase I Diabetes Trial

According to a new study, young adults with Type 1 diabetes have thicker, stiffer carotid arteries, a risk factor for heart disease. – Young People with Type 1 Diabetes at Risk for Heart Disease, Research Shows Another study found that Type 1 diabetic girls show signs of risk factors for heart disease at an early age. – Diabetic Girls May Have Heart Risk Factors

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have conducted two studies that may impact future treatment for diabetes. In the first study, the scientists discovered a signalling pathway that makes insulin-releasing beta cells more sensitive to high blood glucose levels. The second study found that blood levels of a lipoprotein rise prior to the onset of Type 1 diabetes. They theorize that inhibiting the lipoprotein known as ApoCIII could delay onset of the disease. – New Discoveries in Diabetes Suggest Novel Ways to Treat, Delay the Disease

Researchers from the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife have identified a gene linked to having low body fat as well as an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. – Genetic Study Shows That Low Body Fat May Not Lower Risk for Heart Disease & Diabetes

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

There are so many studies and stories about blood pressure in the news this week! Georgia Health Sciences University will be undertaking an interesting study to find out whether lower blood pressure reduces kidney disease progression in CKD patients age 55 and older. - Study Examines Whether Lower Blood Pressure Reduces Kidney Disease Progression

This is a very specific and intriguing example of blood pressure reduction due to singing. It may have to do with the calming effect of singing for this individual and perhaps it’s linked to the breathing required for singing. (The story that follows this one elaborates on the correlation between breathing and blood pressure.) - Singing Reduces Blood Pressure Prior to Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Here’s another study that points out the role music, singing, and joy can play in reducing stress and blood pressure. - Laughter, Music May Lower Blood Pressure Study Says

This study is encouraging because no matter how carefully you watch your sodium at home, sometimes you end up eating at a restaurant or party where you have less control over salt in your food. - Physical Activity Decreases Salt’s Effect on Blood Pressure

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Here are two top kidney research breakthroughs that would compliment dialysis and one, involving a study of zebra fish, which could eliminate the need for dialysis and transplantation altogether!

The biological artificial kidneys described in this Medical Minute audio segment wouldn’t eliminate dialysis altogether, but they have fascinating potential. – Investigators Developing Biological Artificial Kidneys

This breakthrough would provide new hope for dialysis patients with unhealthy veins. – Bioengineered Veins Could Be Used for Dialysis

Zebra fish may show us how to regenerate diseased human kidneys. – Adult Stem Cells Found in Fish

Friday, January 21st, 2011

In the wake of ProPublica’s eye-opening series on the risks and cost of dialysis, there have been some interesting articles suggesting ways to improve care. And given current changes in health care and Medicare, home hemodialysis may prove to be a viable option for more patients in the near future.

Here’s a doctor’s take on Dialysis Units – The Last Open Wards of Medicine.

Nephrology News & Issues has some interesting commentary on the ProPublica series. The ProPublica Dialysis Series

Friday, December 17th, 2010

This was an exciting week for kidney research and therapy breakthroughs! Here are the top 4.

Novel Virus-Based Gene Therapy for Metastatic Kidney Cancer Developed at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center

Blood Test for Cystatin C Can Predict Complications of Kidney Disease

National Kidney Foundation Study Reveals that Lupus is More Lethal Form of Kidney Disease in Children

University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago Surgeons Offer Obese Kidney Patients New Hope with Robotic Transplantation