How important is Homocysteine research for Alzheimer’s disease?

How important is Homocysteine research for Alzheimer’s disease?

It is widely recognised that high homocysteine levels in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia) can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, which in turn may lead to atherogenesis and ischemic injury.  High homocysteine levels are therefore a possible risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD), or heart disease.

However a new study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis in April 2016 (conducted by Young Cheul Chung and colleagues, from Rockefeller University in New York City) has looked into the growing evidence to suggest that hyperhomocysteinemia is also correlated with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  This study was undertaken to clarify the specific role of elevated homocysteine levels in Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology.

The study was carried out on mice, and showed a promising link between high levels of homocysteine and Alzheimer’s disease.  It showed that diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model leads to severe cerebral amyloid angiopathy and parenchymal amyloid-β deposition, as well as significant impairments in learning and memory, suggesting that elevated levels of plasma homocysteine and its metabolite, homocysteine thiolactone, contribute to Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Commenting on an earlier study, Dr Susanne Sorensen, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society UK said that the molecule [homocysteine] is carried by everyone, but those who go on to develop some dementias appear to have higher levels of the compound.  She also stressed that research is needed to establish just what role if any homocysteine plays in the development of dementia and how best to keep levels of the molecule low.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental decline that can occur in middle to old age, due to a degeneration of the brain. It is the most common cause of premature senility, and is also the most common form of dementia, affecting 62% of those diagnosed.  Vascular dementia is another form, affecting 17% of those diagnosed.

Paul McGivern, Clinical Chemistry R&D Manager at global healthcare company Randox Laboratories, has commented

Dementia is a terminal condition and with 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, there is an urgent need for further research into the link between Alzheimer’s disease and homocysteine levels.  If we can better establish this link, it may give future researchers the tools necessary to find a prevention, or even a cure to this condition.

With the number of dementia sufferers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025, soaring to 2 million by 2051, the need for further research into the link between homocysteine levels and Alzheimer’s disease has never been more pressing.

For health professionals

Randox Laboratories offer an automated test for the biochemistry measurement of homocysteine.  This is available for use on a wide range of manufacturer’s analysers.  Please contact reagents@randox.com for further information, or to request a kit insert or application.


Randox employee hosts bake sale in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust

Randox employees enjoyed a bake sale yesterday at our headquarters in Crumlin. The bake sale was hosted by Randox employee Rachel Walls on behalf of her sister, Ursula McKenna, who will be running both the Dublin Marathon and Manchester half Marathon later this year in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Ursula McKenna has raised an impressive £3000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and is set to continue her efforts in raising money for this great cause. Having run the London Marathon twice, with the last one completed on Sunday 24th April, her motivation stems from personal empathy of the condition;

Our cousin suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, and running a few marathons is easy compared to what he has to deal with on a daily basis’

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic condition caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water across the cell wall. This causes mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract, causing problems with breathing and digestion. An estimated 1 in 2,500 babies born in the UK have Cystic Fibrosis, with more than 2.5 million people in the UK carrying the faulty gene.  Currently there is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, however there are treatments to help manage the symptoms.

Ursula’s dedication to the cause is evident and this extends to her family through their help and support. The bake sale hosted by Rachel yesterday at Randox included scrumptious treats made by the family, and helped raise £308! In addition to hosting fundraising events, her brother also ran the New York Marathon in 2014 and will be joining Ursula in running the Dublin Marathon in October. Hoping to beat her previous completion times of 4:27 in her first marathon and 4:07 in her second marathon, Ursula aims to complete the Dublin Marathon in less than 4 hours. Good luck!

Ursula McKenna, London Marathon 24th April '16

Grand National Sponsor Randox goes back to its roots with Point-to-Point Racing Event

Global healthcare company Randox, recently unveiled as the main sponsor for the Grand National under the banner of Randox Health, is committed to supporting local grass roots horse racing, as this weekend it hosts the Point-to-Point Steeplechases at Crumlin, County Antrim, in association with the Killultagh, Old Rock and Chichester Hunt.

Point-to-Points are now firmly established in national hunt racing, with several champion horses starting their careers on the Irish Point-to-Point circuit.

Following the Randox Point-to-Point 2014, Classic Place was sold to Gigginstown House Stud, owned by Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary, who we all know to be the owner of The Crabbie’s Grand National 2016 winner, Rule The World.

Last year multiple All Ireland Champion Derek O’Connor registered a double, partnering Ballycross to victory for Templepatrick trainer Colin McKeever and leading local owner Wilson Dennison, followed by Chosen Dream at the fifth. O’Connor also recorded a brace of winners having scored with Sister Saragh at the first and Frost at the fifth.

But don’t worry if you’re not a racing enthusiast – the Randox Point-to-Point is the perfect day out for all the family. The increasingly popular event will host a unique Artisan village, showcasing a variety of food, drink and crafts stalls including, homemade jams, chutneys and sauces, ceramics, handmade chocolate and jewellery, woollen knits, handmade tea towels and tote bags, cakes, photography and much more!

Randox Managing Director, Dr Peter FitzGerald, highlighted the company’s equestrian heritage and is looking forward to both this year’s Point-to-Point, and next year’s Grand National:

“We are pleased to host the Point-to-Point with the Killultagh, Old Rock and Chichester Hunt, where champions are made. As a global company with firm links to our local heritage, we are proud to be involved with grass roots equestrian sports, which are part of the local community and sports scene.  This history of being involved in equestrian events has naturally progressed to our sponsorship of the Grand National, and is fitting with our ambition. We look forward to this year’s two day Point-to-Point – where we might spot a future Randox Health Grand National winner!”

The Randox Point-to-Point will take place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd of April, at Largy Road in Crumlin. The first race on Friday 22nd of April will start at 4pm; on Saturday 23rd of April, the first race takes place at 2pm.

General admission is £5 per person, with free entry for children under the age of 16.

Admission via the Laurelbank, Largy Road Crumlin, BT29 4RN.

Craft stalls are provided by North Down Crafts Collective and The Prince’s Trust charity.

For more information on the Randox Point-to-Point, email events@randox.com


BBC Newsline investigates legal highs with Randox Testing Services

This week, Randox Testing Services opened the doors of its laboratory to BBC Newsline, and Donna Traynor, to offer an expert opinion on legal highs.  Legal highs are mood-altering or stimulant substances whose sale is not banned by current legislation. They are made up of various chemical ingredients and replicate a similar user experience of illegal drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. They are extremely addictive and can have fatal side effects.

April 2016 marks the anniversary of one such case. The tragic passing of Adam Owens, a 17 year old boy who died after taking a legal high known as Sky brought this issue to the spotlight, and now one year on, the BBC want to know what is being done to tackle this issue.

The most difficult issue to combat with legal highs is that their chemical make-up is constantly being altered in order to get around legislation. As they keep changing it is difficult to create tests for these substances as they constantly evolve. Addressing this issue, Dr Mark Piper, Head of Toxicology at Randox Testing Services explained what is currently being done to try and counter this problem:

“We counter it here at Randox by continually developing new tests. In the past 12 months, Randox has developed over 115 new tests for new types of psychoactive substances.

These drugs are continually being developed and evolving into new types of substances which have previously fallen outside of the legislation, so it is a challenge for the likes of ourselves as drug testing laboratories to continually develop new tests to detect these substances.”

The prevalence of legal high use makes this an issue that cannot be avoided. Randox Testing Services are dedicated in their commitment to continually develop new tests in the fight against legal highs.

For more information on our services related to legal highs click here or contact testingservices@randox.com


Randox named in The Sunday Times Profit Track 100 League Table

This week saw the publication of The Sunday Times Profit Track 100, and we are delighted to announce that Randox has been named at number 65 in the league table which ranks the 100 private UK companies with the fastest-growing profits over a three-year period.

Stuart Lisle, of BDO Accountants, featured Randox in his piece; ‘Innovation and trade make a good formula for expansion’, noting impressive findings that:

  • Randox supplies 10% of the world’s cholesterol tests
  • Our diagnostic products are used in 145 countries across the globe

Stuart Lisle commented;

“After outperforming most of our peers, Britain is entering a period of economic uncertainty: stock markets are volatile, growth in China is slowing, Europe’s recovery has stalled and, as the Bank of England governor Mark Carney noted in March, the possibility of Brexit is not helping.  Our polling shows that 70% of mid-market companies think leaving the EU would make running their businesses harder but there are strong arguments on both sides of the debate.

Thankfully, while our politicians talk in Westminster, our mid-market companies are getting on with business, driving growth by innovating at home and trading overseas.

This year’s Profit Track 100 contains numerous examples.  Just look at what Peter FitzGerald, founder of Randox Laboratories is achieving.  From humble beginnings in his parents’ garden shed in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, he has developed the firm into one the supplies 10% of the world’s cholesterol tests as well as a range of other diagnostic instruments used in 145 countries…and it is one of 55 companies in this year’s Profit Track 100 that are growing by selling internationally.”

We would like to thank Stuart for recognising our success and innovation.  We are extremely proud of how far the company has come – from humble beginnings over 34 years ago, to a company with more than 1400 employees of 44 nationalities, including 300 research scientists and engineers.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox said:

“The growth that we have witnessed over the last 3 years principally enables us to further strengthen our infrastructure and increase the world leading research and development we are conducting – to achieve the earliest possible diagnosis of a very wide range of clinical conditions. We remain dedicated to saving lives and improving health worldwide, and reinvesting our profits helps ensure that we will realise our vision.”

The Profit Track 100 league table is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.


New test developed by Randox will reduce severe side effects of chemotherapy for leukemia patients

Global healthcare company Randox, recently unveiled as the sponsors for the Grand National 2017 under the banner of Randox Health, today announced it has been awarded an Innovate UK Award, for their pioneering work in the development of a diagnostic test for Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients.

Randox’s award-winning test will enable the stratification of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) patients, to determine patient response, before chemotherapeutic treatment.  Currently, aggressive chemotherapy is given at diagnosis for the 2900 patients diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia every year in the UK, yet up to 40% of patients do not respond to this treatment due to the type of their cancer cells, and the patient’s genetic make-up.

The competition was therefore designed to promote the development of new diagnostic products and services for use in stratified medicine; in this case studying groups of leukemia patients to predict which treatments their cancers are likely to respond to.

Dr Cherith Reid, Project Manager for the AML Test at Randox, commented;

“As with any illness, it is important to select the best treatment and care for AML patients based on their diagnosis. The majority of AML patients are over 60 years old, and with the rise in the elderly population, increased prevalence of the disease is predicted. Currently, patients in this age range who are deemed fit for treatment are prescribed cytarabine chemotherapy, where the patient’s reaction to this drug is uninformed and is based on a trial-and-error approach.    The information provided by our test will allow us to identify patients whose cancer is drug responsive, and treat them accordingly, possibly with lower doses of chemotherapy, reducing its severe side-effects. We want to assist clinicians in selecting the best treatment and care for patients as early as possible to improve patient outcomes.”

Phase one of the project includes an economic study to measure the health economic benefits for The National Health Service, conducted by The National Institute for Health Research Diagnostic Evidence Co-Operative London.

Professor George Hanna, NIHR DEC London Centre Director, commented;

“The stratification of patients within the NHS has been widely acknowledged as an important method for the efficient use of resources, as well as improving patient experience. New in vitro diagnostic tests that can classify patients in this way – such as the test being developed at Randox for Leukemia patients – personalise patient care to better inform treatment decisions which will hopefully lead to improved health outcomes and fewer side effects. This is particularly important for Leukemia patients who face the severe side effects of chemotherapy.  Through the collaboration of Randox Laboratories and the NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative London, we have a unique opportunity to evaluate the adoption pathway of the new Randox AML technology to translate it to the bedside where it can best benefit patient care.”

“Determining Acute Myeloid Leukemia patient response to chemotherapeutic treatment” was selected by Innovate UK in the “Stratified Medicine: connecting the UK infrastructure” competition.

Pictured: Dr Cherith Reid


Innovations in Gestational Diabetes testing

More and more women in the United States are waiting until they’re older to start having children.

The number of births to women aged 45–49 rose 14% in 2013 from 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics Report.  With this comes the responsibility by clinicians and laboratories to better assess those at risk of gestational diabetes and to aid better control of the condition for those who already have it.  Quick and precise detection of risk of gestational diabetes and associated complications by clinical labs will provide women with the autonomy to take control of their maternal health.

Innovations in maternal health testing have meant that analysis such as adiponectin and enzymatic fructosamine are now available in automated biochemistry formats and with more accurate methodologies; allowing laboratories to assess gestational diabetes risk, and evaluate control of the condition with ease, speed and accuracy.  Testing of such analytes have historically been non-routine and not easily accessible for clinical laboratories, and now with little adjustment within the laboratory, these can be added to the test menu allowing for detailed patient testing profiles.

Current innovations in the area of gestational diabetes testing will ultimately secure the health, both during and post-pregnancy, of mother and baby.

Randox Laboratories are a global manufacturer of automated adiponectin and fructosamine biochemistry assays.  For further information, download our brochure or contact reagents@randox.com


INFOGRAPHIC: What is Diabetes?

A shocking 7 million people worldwide are diagnosed with diabetes each year! As such, it is one of the biggest challenges to healthcare today. Help raise awareness of diabetes by sharing our infographic:


Why do labs favour automated assays over ELISAs?

Efficiencies

The use of ELISAs for clinical testing within a laboratory is notably time and personnel consuming, with heavy resources used on manual interaction.  Moving from ELISA technique to an automated biochemistry method for detection of the same analyte increases time and personnel efficiency considerably – time and management efficiencies equal cost effectiveness. The significance of ensuring quality in testing practices, and as such confidence in clinical results, is also a key consideration for running automated biochemistry tests over manual ELISA testing techniques. The risk of error, contamination and therefore compromising clinical results (which is higher when running ELISA methods) will be greatly reduced through the alternative biochemistry automation.

Expansion

By transitioning analytes historically only available on ELISA to automated biochemistry methods, laboratories are able to expand their test offerings to patients and clinicians.  As an example within key cardiovascular testing, analysis such as H-FABP, 11dhTxB₂, adiponectin and sPLA₂ being available in an automated biochemistry format allows laboratories to expand their testing and test menu with ease. Automated biochemistry analytes increase testing range, with little adjustment within the laboratory, allowing for detailed patient testing profiles, without the manual restrictions placed by running ELISA techniques.

Randox Laboratories are a global manufacturer of a range of automated biochemistry assays, available on hundreds of manufacturers’ analysers. For further information, download our brochure or contact reagents@randox.com.


How reliable is BMI?

BMI is commonly used to assess how healthy we are, but how reliable is BMI as a measure of health?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is frequently used to measure health. This involves comparing your weight in relation to your height to give you an indication of your weight status.  It will categorise you as being either underweight, overweight, obese or healthy. Although widely used, BMI is often argued to be inaccurate as it doesn’t take into account muscle mass, age, sex, ethnicity and fitness levels. Even with a ‘healthy’ BMI, you could still be at risk of developing illnesses such as heart diseases, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

A more accurate indicator of health is the waist-to-hip ratio, found by dividing waist width by hip width. A wider waist circumference gives you an indication of total body fat as well as the level of visceral fat. Visceral fat is essentially body fat stored within the abdominal cavity; the internal fat that surrounds the organs.

There is a growing body of research which suggests that visceral fat or so-called ‘belly fat’ is the most dangerous type of fat, with it being linked to chronic diseases such as cancers, heart diseases and diabetes-related illnesses. Furthermore, visceral fat levels have even been suggested to predict type 2 diabetes, although this is a warning sign more commonly displayed in women rather than men.

Factors which contribute to increased visceral fat levels include lifestyle habits such as stress and exercise habits; dietary contributors and demographics such as age, ethnicity and even gender.

Presence of a blood analyte (or component) called adiponectin is closely linked with visceral fat levels.  An ever-increasing number of clinical studies highlight that lower levels of adiponectin indicate higher levels of visceral fat. Adiponectin levels can be tested to give you an accurate measurement of the level of visceral fat you are carrying.

In short, monitoring visceral fat levels is a much more accurate measure of risk of a number of diseases including cancers, CVD and diabetes than BMI; which does not take into account muscle mass, age, sex, ethnicity and fitness level.  A true measure of visceral fat levels can be measured using the adiponectin test, which can be requested from your doctor today!

For health professionals

Adiponectin is an adipokine exclusively secreted by adipocytes which has an important role in a number of metabolic processes such as fatty acid oxidation and glucose regulation.

Randox Adiponectin assay is an automated biochemistry assay for the measurement of adiponectin in serum or plasma, and is available for use on most biochemistry analysers.   For more information, please contact us: reagents@randox.com


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