However, the researchers found no such correlation between insulin resistance in African Americans, even though middle-age African Americans are four times more likely than whites to suffer from strokes.
"For whites it will soon be recognized as one of the big risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis," said Dr. George Howard of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University. "It's not now."
Howard presented the research during an international medical conference in Winston-Salem.
Howard and others studied insulin resistance as part of a broad-based Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study. Preliminary findings in the study suggest that 90 percent of diabetics and 10 to 20 percent of non-diabetics are insulin resistant.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and processes glucose in the blood that is produced when the body metabolizes carbohydrates. Insulin secreted by people who are insulin-resistant is not very efficient at processing glucose.
Atherosclerosis is a narrowing of the artery due to build up of fatty substances, calcium and blood clotting materials on the interior artery walls. The carotid arteries serving the brain are particularly susceptible. Stroke can result when the carotid artery walls narrow to the point that the brain does not get sufficient blood.
Howard will present the researchers' findings on August 16 at International
Neurosonology '97. The conference, which ends today, has drawn doctors from
around the world to review the latest research on the medical uses of
ultrasound. It is being sponsored by the World Federation of Neurology and the
Contact: Robert Conn or Mark Wright
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center