Friday, February 27, 2009

Dried Blood Spot Screening for Cardiometabolic Risk Markers shows Benefits of Exercise

The prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease is increasing at an alarming rate. Several clinical and observational studies have demonstrated reduced risk of diabetes when physical activity increases. Simple screening tools are needed to monitor effects of treatment interventions in individuals at high risk.

At ZRT Laboratory in Beaverton, Oregon we assessed the application of dried blood spot technology to measure important cardiometabolic risk markers. Dried blood spot collection has advantages compared to conventional blood draws, such as minimal invasiveness, low sample volume, convenience of repeated measurements and ease of sample storage and transport.

Fifteen participants (28- 63 years of age) enrolled in a fitness study that included 30 minute exercise/ brisk walking five days a week for four months. Levels of insulin, hemoglobin A1c, C-reactive protein and triglycerides were measured in blood spot samples obtained by a simple and easy finger stick before and after the program. Dried blood spot samples were stored at -20C until used for analysis using modified methods developed in house from commercially available assays.

Insulin levels decreased significantly ; triglycerides dropped by 18% and C-reactive protein levels also showed significant improvement. The HbA1c levels remained unchanged during the program.

In conclusion, exercise/ brisk walking for 30 minutes five days a week for four months improved cardiometabolic risk factors independently as confirmed by dried bloodspot testing. This simple screening method has important implications for monitoring overall cardiometabolic health of high risk individuals.

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