Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study of iron overload yields surprising results

28.04.2005


Early results of the largest and most diverse screening study of a genetic condition that causes too much iron to build up in the body show that Asians and Pacific Islanders have the highest mean levels of iron in their blood of all ethnic groups involved, including African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, and Native Americans.



Hemochromatosis, one of the most common inherited disorders among Caucasians, can lead to iron overload, or a buildup of iron in the body’s organs. This extra iron, which can be easily treated if detected early, can increase the risk of diabetes, arthritis, sexual dysfunction, liver disease and liver cancer and heart disease.

When the study is completed, researchers hope to have answers to the key questions that will help policymakers decide whom should be screened for hemochromatosis and iron overload, when should they be screened, and what screening methods should be used.


At the start of the study in 1999, it was known that most cases of hemochromatosis in Caucasians result from a mutation in the hemochromotosis (HFE) gene. The mutation, known as C282Y, was first discovered in 1996. Little was known about iron overload in other racial and ethnic groups.

Surprisingly, results of the Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening Study (HEIRS) show that Asians and Pacific Islanders had the highest blood iron levels but the lowest prevalence of HFE mutations. The full results of the screening study appear in the April 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Wake Forest University School of Medicine was the coordinating center for the study, which recruited more than 100,000 participants in primary care settings and seven blood drawing laboratories in the United States and Canada.

The five-year study is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Other major findings of the study include the following:

Caucasians had the highest prevalence of the C282Y mutation in both copies of their HFE gene (4.4 per 1,000 people). Though this is the gene combination most likely the result in hemochromatosis, the risk of developing symptoms is less than 60 percent.
The prevalence rates of this combination in other ethnic groups were: Native Americans (1.1 per 1,000), Hispanics (2.7 per 10,000), African Americans (1.4 per 10,000), Pacific Islanders (1.2 per 10,000), and Asians (3.9 per 10 million).
Most participants with the C282Y/C282Y combination had elevated levels of iron in the blood. Men with this genotype were more likely to report a history of liver disease than participants without HFE mutations.

"Our findings help us better understand the prevalence of these conditions in other ethnic groups," said David Reboussin, Ph.D., associate professor of biostatistics at Wake Forest’s School of Medicine. "The result that really surprised us was the finding that Asians and Pacific Islanders had the highest levels of iron in the blood, even though they had the lowest prevalence of the genotype most often associated with hemochromatosis."

Reboussin said it’s possible that Asians and Pacific Islanders may have a different genetic mutation that has not yet been discovered, or perhaps they have high levels of iron, but not hemochromatosis. He said that later phases of the study, which involve a more detailed study visit and follow-up data on these participants from their primary care physicians, will answer these important questions.

The HEIRS study is being conducted at five field centers in the United States and Canada: Howard University (Washington, D.C.), Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Northwest and Hawaii (Portland, Ore., and Honolulu, Hawaii), London Health Sciences Centre (London and Toronto, Ontario), University of Alabama at Birmingham, and University of California, Irvine.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>