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Past News Items - February 2021


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In the News

Higher excess COVID-19 death risk in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes

Effects of a 2-Year Primary Care Lifestyle Intervention on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors

Aker BioMarine enters into research collaboration for Alzheimer’s

Early COVID-19 Treatment Successful—Despite Skeptics




Released: February 2021


Higher excess COVID-19 death risk in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes

A largescale analysis led by the University of Exeter and funded by Diabetes UK, has found a disproportionately higher COVID-19 death risk in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes, raising questions over vaccination strategies across Europe.

 

The study, accepted for publication in Diabetologia, found that compared to people of a similar age without type 2 diabetes, the additional COVID-19 mortality risk from having type 2 diabetes increases the younger someone is. Although the risk is low in absolute terms, the increase has a significant potential to impact middle-aged people particularly, as it elevates their existing age-related risk of COVID-19. For example, a person aged 50 with type 2 diabetes has the equivalent COVID-19 mortality risk of a 66-year-old person without diabetes: an additional risk of 16 years. This difference reduces with increasing age, so that the COVID-19 mortality risk of a person aged 70 with diabetes is similar to that of someone without diabetes aged 78: an additional risk of eight years.

While some countries such as the UK and Germany already prioritize people with type 2 diabetes for vaccines, this is not being consistently applied across comparable countries including many in Europe.

Dr. Andrew McGovern, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research, said: "It's important to remember the risk to middle-aged people with diabetes of dying from COVID-19 is very low in absolute terms compared with the elderly. However, vaccine roll-out across Europe should be done in order of risk. Strategies to define priority groups for vaccination must consider the disproportionate relative risk of COVID-19 mortality in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes whose COVID-19 risk is already elevated by their age. We recommend that anyone with diabetes takes up the vaccine as soon as it's available to them."

The research team also involved the University of Warwick, the Alan Turing Institute, and University College London. The team accessed published data from three UK studies, including tens of millions of people in the community and in hospital across the country. They looked at differences in the risk of dying from COVID-19 by both age and whether or not a person has diabetes—which was predominately type 2 diabetes.

Dr. John Dennis, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common health conditions. This means providing accurate information on age-specific COVID-19 risk for people with type 2 diabetes is really important. Our study highlights how we can use cutting-edge data science to provide precision diabetes research that can inform the complex real-time discussion on Europe-wide COVID-19 vaccination strategy."

Bridget Turner, Director of Policy Campaigns and Improvement at Diabetes UK, said: "We know that people with diabetes have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus throughout this pandemic, and that the majority of those who have become seriously ill or died have been of older age. This new research funded by Diabetes UK gives important new insights into how much type 2 diabetes adds to the overall risk of dying from coronavirus at different ages, particularly the additional risk that the condition adds in middle-age.

"The UK has made good progress on prioritizing those who are most vulnerable for vaccination—which includes all adults with diabetes—but we need to continue to work at pace to identify and protect those individuals at higher risk. At Diabetes UK we believe we can best do this by rolling out across the NHS the tool for assessing individual COVID-19 risk, which was promised, but so far, has yet to materialize.

"The most important thing anyone with diabetes can do to reduce their risk is to avoid catching the virus in the first place by continuing to social distance, wash hands and wear masks and to take a coronavirus vaccine when offered one."

 

Source: University of Exeter

 

Released: February 2021


Effects of a 2-Year Primary Care Lifestyle Intervention on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors

A 24-month lifestyle intervention provided in the primary care setting by health coaches improved cardiometabolic risk factors among patients with obesity compared with usual care alone, according to data published in Circulation.

 

These findings from the PROPEL trial demonstrated the impact of intensive lifestyle intervention in lowering BMI and improving HDL and metabolic syndrome severity among patients with obesity.

 

PROPEL trial design

 

“Intensive lifestyle interventions are the first-line approach to promote weight loss and to effectively treat obesity and manage associated health risks,” Christoph Höchsmann, PhD, of the ingestive behavior laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and colleagues wrote. “However, only a small proportion of the population has access to intensive lifestyle interventions in academic health centers. Therefore, uptake of similar approaches by primary care, the cornerstone of medical care in the United States, is imperative for a meaningful effect on the global obesity prevalence and for achieving public health goals to reduce health inequities.”

The PROPEL trial randomly allocated 18 clinics to provide intensive lifestyle interventions through health coaches or usual care to 803 adults with obesity (mean age, 49 years; mean BMI, 37 kg/m2; 67% Black; 84% women). Participants in the intervention group underwent a 24-month high-intensity lifestyle-based obesity treatment program in weekly sessions up to month 7 and monthly through 24 months. The usual care group received standard primary care.

Participants at clinics allocated to the intensive lifestyle intervention group received a comprehensive, high-intensity lifestyle intervention program based on Diabetes Prevention Program, Look AHEAD and CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-Term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy Phase) and consistent with the 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology/The Obesity Society guidelines,” the researchers wrote. “The regimen was adapted to be literacy and culturally appropriate for a low-income target population.”

Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention

 

Researchers found that participants in the intervention arm lost more weight in 24 months compared with those who received usual care (mean difference, 4.51%; 95% CI, 5.93 to 3.1; P < .01).

At 12 months, larger reductions in fasting glucose occurred in the intervention group compared with the usual care group (mean difference, 7.1 mg/dL; 95% CI, 12 to 2.1; P < .01); however, there was no difference at 24 months (mean difference, 0.8 mg/dL; 95% CI, 6.2 to 4.6; P = .76).

Increases in HDL were greater in the lifestyle intervention arm compared with the usual care group at 12 and 24 months (mean difference at 24 months, 4.6 mg/dL; 95% CI, 2.9-6.3; P < .01).

At 24 months, the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL in the intervention arm was lower compared with the usual care groups (mean difference, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.14; P < .01), and the intervention group had less metabolic syndrome severity (mean z score difference, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.06; P = .01).

“A major strength of PROPEL is it’s sample, consisting of a racially diverse, low-income population that typically lacks access to effective weight-loss treatment in clinical research or primary care,” the researchers wrote. “The minimal inclusion/exclusion criteria of the trial allow broad generalizability to other underserved populations across the United States. Furthermore, the present results underline the effectiveness of a comprehensive and scalable weight loss and cardiometabolic risk factor treatment model that applies to many primary care settings.”

 

 

Source:  Publish-Ahead-of-Print in Circulation  (link  Effects of a 2-Year Primary Care Lifestyle Intervention on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: A Cluster-Randomized Trial | Circulation (ahajournals.org))

 

Released: February 2021


Aker BioMarine enters into research collaboration for Alzheimer’s

Global biotech innovator Aker BioMarine enters into a research collaboration with Université de Sherbrooke Department of Medicine, to investigate if LPC-bound EPA/DHA is effective in preventing cognitive decline linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Aker BioMarine will supply the research team its krill-based LPC EPA/DHA product, LYSOVETA™.

 

While there is strong evidence linking DHA to better cognitive scores and lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, clinical trials using fish oil as the source for EPA/DHA have not been conclusive. To help fill this gap, a research team from the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada will test if LYSOVETA, Aker BioMarine’s new delivery platform based on LPC-bound EPA/DHA from krill, is more effective in increasing the concentration of DHA in the brain and improving cognition.


“Alzheimer’s is a disease without a cure, which is why we are actively exploring whether LYSOVETA can help improve cognitive abilities among those who are affected by it. Université de Sherbrooke is a leader in this field of study, and we believe that by working with them and ensuring an ample supply of our krill-based products, we can make significant headway in furthering their research and getting more conclusive answers on how EPA/DHA can more effectively improve brain health,” said Matts Johansen, CEO, Aker BioMarine.

The study, led by Dr. Mélanie Plourde from Université de Sherbrooke, will use different formulations of EPA/DHA to investigate if LPC is a superior source of these fatty acids in populations that are genetically at-risk for Alzheimer’s disease. More specifically, the team will evaluate the link between genetic variations in lipid metabolism and transport of EPA/DHA across the blood brain barrier using knock in mice for human E4 (hAPOE4) or E3 (hAPOE3) genetic variants. One group will receive Aker BioMarine’s LYSOVETA, LPC-bound EPA/DHA derived from Antarctic krill, while the other will receive triglyceride-bound EPA/DHA from fish oil. The team will investigate the uptake of these fatty acids and effect on cognitive score to see if LPC bound EPA/DHA can have a positive effect for those at risk-populations.

What if, for cognitive decline, we just have missed the target because the supplement/drug formulations were not appropriately designed to target the brain? Our hypothesis is that by using a new EPA/DHA formulation, such as LYSOVETA, we can direct more DHA into the right areas of the brain to improve cognition,” said Dr. Mélanie Plourde, Professor, Université de Sherbrooke.

 

“We are excited about this study and eager to start testing LYSOVETA, as we believe we can make significant progress in our knowledge and understanding about the delivery mechanisms for DHA and its potential impact on people with Alzheimer’s.”

 

Since its inception, Aker BioMarine has worked closely with universities worldwide to study the health benefits of its products derived from Antarctic krill. To increase knowledge on the effects of LPC-bound EPA and DHA, Aker BioMarine will continue to expand its collaborations to partners who are eager to explore the benefits of this carrier on human health.

 

About LYSOVETA™

 

In late 2020, Aker BioMarine launched LYSOVETA™, a new delivery platform based on LPC-bound EPA and DHA from krill. It marked a significant breakthrough that promises to open up new opportunities within the brain, eye and other important health areas. It is sustainability sourced from Antarctic krill and processed at Aker BioMarine’s facility in Houston. The company plans for a commercial launch of the product for human health in 2022.

 

Released: February 2021


Early COVID-19 Treatment Successful—Despite Skeptics

On Jan. 14, 2021, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reconsidered the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Ventura Clinical Trials, owned and operated by Dr. Sabine Hazan, is one of the institutions researching Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine—with remarkable success.

Dr. Stanley Frochtzwajg, the chief medical officer with Community Memorial Health System that operates Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, Ojai Valley Hospital and numerous clinics across the California county is one of Dr. Hazan's patients. Dr. Frochtzwaig tested positive for COVID-19 last month. Following Hazan's protocol which includes a combination therapy and formulated (made in America) vitamins. Frochtzwajg says, "I definitely started to show improvements in my fatigue, my fever resolved . . . taste and smell returned about a week after starting treatment." Hazan has treated hundreds of patients from across the U.S.  who tested positive for COVID-19. Go to https://vcreporter.com/2021/02/ventura-hospital-chief-with-covid-treated-at-home/ for the complete story.

Hazan, a gastroenterologist, has been sequencing the human microbiome looking for microbial answers to digestive and other disorders. When the COVID-19 outbreak began, Hazan decided to use her resources to seek a remedy. "We found 4 unique variants in eight patients very quickly and 33 mutations across all patients. We began trials to see if was possible that some people might respond to simple treatments or avoid the infection altogether." Go to  https://progenabiome.com/clinical-trials for more information.

In a paper published by Gut Pathogens, "Detection of SARS-CoV-2 from patient fecal samples by whole genome sequencing," Hazan's team discovered the virus in stool samples taken 45 days after some patients tested positive for COVID. "The virus lingers in some people much longer than we originally thought. The chance for contagion by these people is still high over a month later." Hazan's paper can be seen at https://progenabiome.com/publications.

 

Hazan's recent book on gut health, Let's Talk Sh!t: Disease, digestion and fecal transplants is available on Amazon.

 

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