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E Carmina, N Napoli, R A Longo, G B Rini and R A Lobo

Objective: Metabolic syndrome (MBS) is a common disorder and is thought to be extremely prevalent in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In the USA the prevalence of MBS in PCOS has been reported to be as high as 43–46% using Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP-III) criteria. Because of differences in diet, lifestyle and genetic factors, we postulated that the prevalence of MBS might not be as high in Italian women. This study sought to determine the prevalence of MBS in Italian women using both the ATP-III and the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria and to determine whether the prevalence is influenced by the way in which PCOS is diagnosed.

Design: Assessment of the prevalence of MBS in 282 women with PCOS, aged 18–40 years, living in western Sicily. Eighty-five age- and weight-matched normal women served as controls.

Methods: Patients were divided into those with chronic anovulation and hyperandrogenism (classic PCOS; n = 225) and others with hyperandrogenism and polycystic ovaries but who were ovulatory (ovulatory PCOS; n = 57). A 75 g oral glucose tolerance test was carried out, as were lipid determinations; insulin resistance was assessed by the Quantitative Insulin-Sensitivity Check Index (QUICKI). We used ATP-III and WHO criteria to diagnose MBS.

Results: Using ATP-III criteria, the prevalence of MBS was 8.2% and using WHO criteria it was 16% in Italian women with PCOS. In controls, the prevalence was 2.4% using both methods. In classic PCOS patients, MBS was higher (8.9% by ATP-III, 17.3% by WHO) than in ovulatory PCOS (5% and 10.6% respectively). Body weight significantly modified prevalence rates.

Conclusion: MBS is substantially higher in women with PCOS than in the general population, and the prevalence is higher in those women diagnosed by classic criteria. However, the prevalence of MBS in PCOS appears to be much lower in Italy than in the USA.

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P R Ebeling, R A Adler, G Jones, U A Liberman, G Mazziotti, S Minisola, C F Munns, N Napoli, A G Pittas, A Giustina, J P Bilezikian and R Rizzoli

Objective

The central role of vitamin D in bone health is well recognized. However, controversies regarding its clinical application remain. We therefore aimed to review the definition of hypovitaminosis D, the skeletal and extra-skeletal effects of vitamin D and the available therapeutic modalities.

Design

Narrative and systematic literature review.

Methods

An international working group that reviewed the current evidence linking bone and extra-skeletal health and vitamin D therapy to identify knowledge gaps for future research.

Results

Findings from observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in vitamin D deficiency are discordant, with findings of RCTs being largely negative. This may be due to reverse causality with the illness itself contributing to low vitamin D levels. The results of many RCTs have also been inconsistent. However, overall evidence from RCTs shows vitamin D reduces fractures (when administered with calcium) in the institutionalized elderly. Although controversial, vitamin D reduces acute respiratory tract infections (if not given as bolus monthly or annual doses) and may reduce falls in those with the lowest serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels. However, despite large ongoing RCTs with 21 000–26 000 participants not recruiting based on baseline 25OHD levels, they will contain a large subset of participants with vitamin D deficiency and are adequately powered to meet their primary end-points.

Conclusions

The effects of long-term vitamin D supplementation on non-skeletal outcomes, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the optimal dose and serum 25OHD level that balances extra-skeletal benefits (T2DM) vs risks (e.g. CVD), may soon be determined by data from large RCTs.