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 New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>