NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2014

Research Updates

Analysis: Dietary supplements increasingly linked to liver injuries: Dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries that turn up in hospitals, up from 7 percent a decade ago, according to an analysis by the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network, which was established by the NIH to track patients who suffer liver damage from certain drugs and alternative medicines. The research found that many of the products implicated in liver injuries were bodybuilding supplements spiked with unlisted steroids, and herbal pills and powders promising to increase energy and help consumers lose weight.

Growth more stunted in lower-income youth with kidney disease: Even with more prescriptions for growth hormone, children and adolescents with chronic kidney disease were less likely to grow to normal height ranges if they came from lower-income families, according to NIH-funded research. The study also suggests that increasing treatment adherence may help. Results from the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Study are published in the December issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

First detailed analysis of molecular structure of amyloid plaques: NIDDK and NIH’s Center for Information Technology investigators, together with colleagues from the University of Chicago, developed methods for determining the molecular structures of A-beta fibrils in brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease based on solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The work represents the first detailed analysis of the molecular structures of the deposits that develop in patients with the disease. The analysis may provide a way to diagnose mild cognitive impairment in live patients.