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Levels of certain enzyme lower in those with Type 2 diabetes, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

BOSTON — An enzyme found in the mitochondria of cells decreased in the skeletal muscle of those with Type 2 diabetes, according to researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center.

The study sought to understand how decreased levels of enzyme Sirt3 might influence the metabolism of cells, particularly how it could affect insulin action in cells. According to the study, Sirt3 levels in the skeletal muscle of those with Type 2 diabetes decreases by at least 50%, compared with those without Type 2 diabetes, researchers said. This may indicate why insulin resistance develops, which is one of the indicators of Type 2 diabetes.

“Ours is perhaps the first study to understand what is going wrong in the mitochondria of those with diabetes,” said senior author C. Ronald Kahn, head of the Joslin section on integrative physiology and metabolism and the Mary K. Iacocca professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Many studies have shown that the mitochondria don’t work well in those with diabetes. This points to a cause of why they don’t work well.”

The mitochondria of cells, known as the "powerhouse," converts energy into usable forms. Kahn said the study showed that when Sirt3 levels are low, as they are in the case of diabetes, the mitochondria of the cells are not as efficient in energy metabolism as they should be. The study also indicated that drug makers may want to develop drugs that boost Sirt3 enzyme levels, which potentially could help fight the disease. 

“Agents which increase Sirt3 activity could, therefore, potentially reverse at least some of the adverse effects of Type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote in the paper, which was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Kroger, The Little Clinic announce availability of flu shots

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI — Kroger has announced that it is offering early flu vaccinations for patients within its 1,900 pharmacy locations nationwide and at the 79 Little Clinic locations in select stores.

The flu shots are administered by Kroger pharmacists or Little Clinic nurse practitioners or physician assistants.

"Health experts recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step to protect against seasonal flu viruses," Kroger VP pharmacy Lincoln Lutz said. "Kroger’s family of stores offers a variety of options to our customers, including needle-free flu vaccinations available in many locations and a customized Workplace Flu program to help companies provide for their employees."

Kroger pharmacists and Little Clinic nurses administered more than 1 million flu vaccinations during the 2010-2011 flu season.
 

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HHS boosts smoking cessation, vaccinations with $137 million to states

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday awarded $137 million to states to boost prevention and public health initiatives, including support for smoking-cessation programs and vaccinations.

Awarded in nearly every state, the grants enhance state, tribal, local and territorial efforts to provide tobacco cessation services, strengthen public health laboratory and immunization services, prevent healthcare-associated infections, and provide comprehensive substance abuse prevention and treatment.

“More than ever, it is important to help states fight disease and protect public health,” stated HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These awards are an important investment and will enable states and communities to help Americans quit smoking, get immunized and prevent disease and illness before they start.”

The awards include nearly $5 million to help states and territories enhance and expand the national network of tobacco cessation quit-lines to increase the number of tobacco users who quit. Quit-lines are the toll-free numbers people can call to obtain smoking-cessation treatments and services. And more than $42 million has been earmarked to support improvements to the Immunization Information Systems (registries) and other immunization information technologies, the development of systems to improve billing for immunization services, the planning and implementation of adult immunization programs, the enhancement of vaccination capacity located in schools, and evaluations of the impact on disease of recent vaccine recommendations for children and adolescents.

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