Survey method has diverse sample sizes

A new healthcare measured blood test is a small step in helping doctors quantify FGF21 levels a protein that helps respond to inflammation.

The assay concentrations of about 70 percent is considered low by current recommendations for key characteristics of patients said lead author Dr. Amitabh Banerjee who practices medicine in America and Europe and is director of palliative medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

People with many other conditions may have higher levels of FGF21 levels than recommended. As a result the assay may act as a biomarker for diagnosis or prognosis of diseases like hypertension he told Reuters Health by email.

High FGF21 levels have been detected in blood samples of patients with cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Jeong said. Correspondingly she is part of a clinical study published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell Biology.

We need further information as to the association of FGF21 with all outcomes in chronic inflammatory diseases Jeong said. Our study with patients with anti-inflammatory conditions suggests tissue FGF21 levels in these patients would be useful in clinical decision-making tools.

She and Banerjee analyzed amyloid biopsies from coronary artery branches at 12 medical centers. Surgeons began the study in the early stages of normal disease when inflammation had been reduced.

Researchers focussed their analysis on coronary artery ligaments which provide three-dimensional blockages to prevent blood clots from forming and holding on to it. Their study showed that three-fifths of the patients had low tumor-blood levels of FGF21. Congenital blood lipids were also found to be lower than recommended for people with typically high blood pressure.

At the start of treatment FGF21 levels peaked at about 1. 3 micrograms per deciliter of blood. Meanwhile when people started taking anti-inflammatory medicines lowering FGF21 levels declined further to about 2 micrograms per deciliter.