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1.  Short term effects of a low-carbohydrate diet in overweight and obese subjects with low HDL-C levels 
Background
The aim of this study was to evaluate short-term effects of a low-carbohydrate diet in overweight and obese subjects with low HDL-C levels.
Methods
Overweight (BMI between 25-30 kg/m2) or obese (BMI over 30 kg/m2) subjects with low HDL-C levels (men with HDL-C <1.03, women <1.29 mmol/l) were invited to the study. A 1400 kcal 75-gram carbohydrate (CHO) diet was given to women and an 1800 kcal 100-gram CHO diet was given to men for four weeks. The distribution of daily energy of the prescribed diet was 21-22% from CHO, 26-29% from protein and 49-53% from fat. Subjects completed a three-day dietary intake record before each visit. Anthropometric indices, body fat ratio, blood lipids, glucose and insulin were measured. Baseline and week-four results were compared with a Wilcoxon signed ranks test.
Results
Twenty-five women and 18 men participated. Basal median LDL-C level of men was 3.11 and basal median LDL-C level of women was 3.00 mmol/l. After four weeks of a low-carbohydrate diet, the median energy intake decreased from 1901 to 1307 kcal/day, daily energy from carbohydrate from 55% to 33%, body weight from 87.7 to 83.0 kg and HDL-C increased from 0.83 to 0.96 mmol/l in men (p < 0.002, for all). After four weeks of a low-carbohydrate diet, the median energy intake tended to decrease (from 1463 to 1243 kcal, p = 0.052), daily energy from carbohydrate decreased from 53% to 30% (p < 0.001) and body weight decreased from 73.2 to 70.8 kg (p < 0.001) in women, but HDL-C did not significantly change (from 1.03 to 1.01 mmol/l, p = 0.165). There were significant decreases in body mass index, waist circumference, body fat ratio, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglyceride and insulin levels in all subjects.
Conclusions
HDL-C levels increased significantly with energy restriction, carbohydrate restriction and weight loss in men. HDL-C levels didn't change in women in whom there was no significant energy restriction but a significant carbohydrate restriction and a relatively small but significant weight loss. Our results suggest that both energy and carbohydrate restriction should be considered in overweight and obese subjects with low HDL-C levels, especially when LDL-C levels are not elevated.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-10-18
PMCID: PMC2994852  PMID: 21062488
2.  Cost-effectiveness comparison between palpation- and ultrasound-guided thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsies 
Background
The aim of this study is to perform a cost-effectiveness comparison between palpation-guided thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsies (P-FNA) and ultrasound-guided thyroid FNA biopsies (USG-FNA).
Methods
Each nodule was considered as a case. Diagnostic steps were history and physical examination, TSH measurement, Tc99m thyroid scintigraphy for nodules with a low TSH level, initial P-FNA versus initial USG-FNA, repeat USG-FNA for nodules with initial inadequate P-FNA or USG-FNA, hemithyroidectomy for inadequate repeat USG-FNA. American Thyroid Association thyroid nodule management guidelines were simulated in estimating the cost of P-FNA strategy. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists guidelines were simulated for USG-FNA strategy. Total costs were estimated by adding the cost of each diagnostic step to reach a diagnosis for 100 nodules. Strategy cost was found by dividing the total cost to 100. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated by dividing the difference between strategy cost of USG-FNA and P-FNA to the difference between accuracy of USG-FNA and P-FNA. A positive ICER indicates more and a negative ICER indicates less expense to achieve one more additional accurate diagnosis of thyroid cancer for USG-FNA.
Results
Seventy-eight P-FNAs and 190 USG-FNAs were performed between April 2003 and May 2008. There were no differences in age, gender, thyroid function, frequency of multinodular goiter, nodule location and diameter (median nodule diameter: 18.4 mm in P-FNA and 17.0 mm in USG-FNA) between groups. Cytology results in P-FNA versus USG-FNA groups were as follows: benign 49% versus 62% (p = 0.04), inadequate 42% versus 29% (p = 0.03), malignant 3% (p = 1.00) and indeterminate 6% (p = 0.78) for both. Eleven nodules from P-FNA and 18 from USG-FNA group underwent surgery. The accuracy of P-FNA was 0.64 and USG-FNA 0.72. Unit cost of P-FNA was 148 Euros and USG-FNA 226 Euros. The cost of P-FNA strategy was 534 Euros and USG-FNA strategy 523 Euros. Strategy cost includes the expense of repeat USG-FNA for initial inadequate FNAs and surgery for repeat inadequate USG-FNAs. ICER was -138 Euros.
Conclusion
Universal application of USG-FNA for all thyroid nodules is cost-effective and saves 138 Euros per additional accurate diagnosis of benign versus malignant thyroid nodular disease.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00571090
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-14
PMCID: PMC2688006  PMID: 19445710

Results 1-2 (2)