Study indicates the potential of new tests in long-term diabetes complications

Monitoring glucose levels is imperative for diabetes patients, but for some the standard Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test is not valid. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota have determined that the fructosamine tests and a novel assay for glycated albumin may be useful for predicting complications related to diabetes. The results will be published in the latest edition of The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

HbA1c, which is also used to diagnose diabetes, reflects exposure to glucose in the blood over the previous 2-3 months. However, this test will not work in patients with anemia, kidney disease, hemoglobinopathies, HIV, and other conditions. The study measured HbA1c, fructosamine and glycated albumin in blood samples from over 12,000 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. The ARIC Study is a community-based cohort of persons from Washington County, MD; Jackson, MS; Forsyth County, NC; and suburban Minneapolis, MN who have been followed for clinical outcomes since 1987. Fructosamine is approved for clinical use in the United States but rarely used. The glycated albumin test is widely used in Japan but not approved for use in the United States. A major barrier to using these non-traditional markers is that they have not been related to the clinical outcomes of diabetes or compared to HbA1c.

"We compared the associations of HbA1c, fructosamine, and glycated albumin with two of the most important clinical outcomes related to diabetes: retinopathy (eye disease) and kidney disease," notes lead author Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, associate professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We found that fructosamine and glycated albumin were strongly associated with retinopathy and kidney disease. [T]hese associations were similar to those observed for HbA1c with these outcomes."

The results of the study suggest that fructosamine and glycated albumin may be useful substitutes for monitoring glucose control in patients with diabetes when HbA1c is not available or not valid. Because fructosamine and glycated are measures of short-term (2-4 week) glucose control and change more rapidly than HbA1c, they could also be useful for monitoring changes in diabetes treatments.

"Further studies are needed to understand the value of these tests in the clinic," Selvin added.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Elevated glucose associated with undetected heart damage

Feb 02, 2012

A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) injures the heart, even in patients without a history of heart disease or diabetes. Researchers ...

Recommended for you

Screening for diabetes at dental visits using oral blood

Feb 26, 2015

It is estimated that 8.1 million of the 29.1 million Americans living with diabetes are undiagnosed and many who have diabetes have poor glycemic control. Given that each year many Americans visit a dental provider but not ...

CBT, sertraline insufficient in diabetes and depression

Feb 26, 2015

(HealthDay)—For patients with diabetes and depression, improvements in depression are seen with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or sertraline, with a significant advantage for sertraline, but glycemic ...

Early signs in young children predict type 1 diabetes

Feb 26, 2015

New research shows that it is possible to predict the development of type 1 diabetes. By measuring the presence of autoantibodies in the blood, it is possible to detect whether the immune system has begun to break down the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.