Posts tagged biomarkers
C-reactive Protein: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

When something’s wrong with the body, the innate immune system kicks into high gear, sending inflammatory molecules through the body, which help recruit macrophages – the cellular garbage collectors – to the scene. Recent publications show systemic inflammation goes hand-in-hand with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and atherosclerotic vessels. Researchers have been trying to pinpoint which inflammatory markers could potentially be used as biomarkers for CVD risk or progression. Current efforts have zeroed in on one marker in particular, the C-reactive protein, in the hopes of finding a way to assess a person’s risk for CVD both non-invasively and well before a cardiovascular event occurs. Preliminary evidence has shown that in the normal population, the higher the C-reactive protein level, the higher the risk for CVD. But what exactly is a normal population? These days, a full serving of heart disease often comes with a heaping side of Type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic kidney disease, creating a so-called “co-morbidity” of chronic diseases. Not surprisingly, these secondary disease states also affect the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood. So when a patient has more than one chronic condition, how useful is measuring the C-reactive protein level in predicting CVD risk?

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New Biomarkers for Diabetes

Obesity (determined by BMI) and blood glucose levels are by far the best predictors of whether a person will develop diabetes. Yet doctors are always on high alert for new biomarkers that may be more sensitive indicators of which patients will develop diabetes in the near future. The idea of using biomarkers to predict diabetes is not entirely new. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) values are now routinely being monitored to screen for at-risk patients. However, a new study in PLoS One shows that several new biomarkers in the blood may further our understanding of exactly who’s at risk for diabetes, and increase our knowledge of the etiology of the disease.

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