The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting -- ENDO 09 -- took place from June 10 to 13 in Washington, D.C., and attracted about 7,500 scientists and clinicians from all over the world. The meeting presented 80 symposia and addressed recent advances in areas including obesity, endocrine disrupters, diabetes, growth hormones, sex steroids, and thyroid cancer.
"We had a very successful plenary lecture program," said Endocrine Society president, Robert M. Carey, M.D., of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. "One of the big highlights was the lead-off presidential plenary presentation by Nobel Prize winners Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D., and Michael S. Brown, M.D., both of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas on 'The Cholesterol Feedback Story: How Genes Control Cholesterol.'"
"Another beautifully done lecture was presented by Doug Wallace, Ph.D., of the University of California in Irvine, who spoke on 'A Mitochondrial Etiology of Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome' and gave us an incredible description of how nuclear genes in mitochondria are largely governed by the female sex chromosome and are extremely important in type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome," Carey said. "It opened up a whole new perspective on the genetics of diabetes."
At the meeting, the Endocrine Society presented its first-ever Scientific Statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in multiple consumer products such as plastic water bottles. "We summarized all the research on these compounds' toxic effects to disrupt hormones from the reproductive system to the heart and brain," Carey said.
The Scientific Statement also recommended more basic and clinical research on endocrine disrupters, increased education in the medical and scientific communities about their health effects, and changes in public policy and awareness.
Several studies presented at the meeting addressed new health risks associated with endocrine disrupters. Among them was a study presented by Hong-Sheng Wang, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati, which showed that female rodents that received BPA and estrogen at levels usually found in human females were likely to develop harmful arrhythmias.
"We have identified a new possible risk for female heart health, caused by increased levels of estrogens in the body and exposure to the environmental estrogen, BPA," co-author, Scott Belcher, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati's Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, said in a statement.
Other highlights included "Biomarkers in Cardiovascular Endocrinology in Clinical Trials and Drug Development," the annual forum hosted by the Endocrine Society's Corporate Liaison Board. "There's a lot of new research on biomarkers for tissue damage in high blood pressure and diabetes, which together are the leading causes of end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis," Carey said. "If we can identify the tissue damage early enough, we can treat patients as aggressively as possible to prevent further damage."
Carey cited highly-sensitive C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in blood vessels. He also highlighted the potential of a newer biomarker, Lp-PLA2. "That seems to be more specific than highly sensitive C-reactive protein for inflammation in blood vessels," he said. "Since inflammation in blood vessels is linked to atherosclerosis, which is also linked to heart attacks and strokes, than having a marker that identifies the inflammatory condition should prompt the physician to treat patients much more aggressively for lipid disorders and hypertension."
Numerous studies addressed advances in the science of weight loss. Among them was a study by Shalamar Sibley, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who assessed serum vitamin D levels in 38 overweight men and women before and after they were placed on a 750 calorie-deficit diet for 11 weeks.
The researchers found that every 1 ng/mL increase in the precursor form of vitamin D (25-hydroxycholecalciferol) was associated with additional loss of almost a half pound during the diet and that every 1 ng/mL increase in the hormonal form of vitamin D (1, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol) was associated with an additional loss of almost one-quarter pound. They also found that subjects with higher baseline levels of both forms were more likely to lose abdominal fat.
"Our results suggest the possibility that the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will lead to better weight loss," Sibley said in a statement. "Our findings need to be followed up by the right kind of controlled clinical trial to determine if there is a role for vitamin D supplementation in helping people lose weight when they attempt to cut back on what they eat."
ENDO: Older Men Benefit From Testosterone Supplementation
MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged and older men with low testosterone levels, testosterone supplementation may improve signs of metabolic syndrome and other health measures, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting, held from June 10 to 13 in Washington, D.C.
ENDO: Hormones Linked to Beneficial Effects in Elderly
MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Mild age-associated increases in thyroid-stimulating hormone may be linked with increased longevity, and supplementation with another hormone -- ghrelin -- may benefit frail elderly women with unexplained weight loss, according to two studies presented at the Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting, held from June 10 to 13 in Washington, D.C.
ENDO: 'Lap-Band' Surgery Benefits Obese Teens
FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- In morbidly obese adolescents, minimally invasive laparoscopic gastric banding surgery -- a procedure currently only approved for adults -- can improve or even reverse signs of metabolic syndrome, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting, held from June 10 to 13 in Washington, D.C.
ENDO: Bariatric Surgery Linked to Fracture Risk
THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery have an increased risk of fractures, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting, held from June 10 to 13 in Washington, D.C.
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