SCIENTIFIC SHORTS

 

Below are select scientific and healthy living articles written by Douglas Toal and published online in various blogs and technical newsletters. 

Doctor Talking to Boy in Wheelchair
Is Metabolomics Ready for the Clinic?
AACC Scientific Shorts
Douglas Toal
Inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) are rare genetic disorders that cause alterations or deficiencies in enzymes involved in metabolism. As a result, metabolic pathways are disrupted, and the body cannot properly metabolize food into energy. Furthermore, the disruption in metabolism can cause substrate accumulation resulting in moderate to severe symptoms, including life-long disability and death. IEM’s typically present in early childhood but can become symptomatic at any age.
Father and Daughter with Sparkler
A Clinical Microbiologist Explains How To Get Your Probiotic To Actually Work
MindBodyGreen
Douglas Toal
One person may take a probiotic to offset the effects of antibiotic use, one may be looking for a natural way to lower cholesterol levels, and another may want to improve overall digestion and immunity. Some experts will tell you to consult the scientific literature to identify probiotic strains that have demonstrated efficacy in clinical trial studies. However, before the literature is consulted, let's take a step back and ask a more fundamental and important question: How do probiotics work, and do they work the same for everyone?
Intensive Diabetic Care For Patients wit
Paving the way for prediabetes diagnostics: biomarkers that reflect impaired glucose tolerance
Medical Laboratory Observer
Douglas Toal
In 2014, the global prevalence of diabetes was estimated to be at nine percent among adults age 18 and over, with approximately 1.5 million deaths directly attributed to the disease. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh-leading cause of death worldwide.1,2 Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has become a worldwide pandemic that continues unabated, and there remains a great public health need for biomarkers that can detect early signs of the disease (prediabetes) so that those at greatest risk can implement lifestyle changes that delay or prevent the disease.
Doctor and Patient
Paving the way for prediabetes diagnostics: biomarkers that reflect insulin resistance
Medical Laboratory Observer
Douglas Toal
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by reduced sensitivity to insulin in muscle, liver, and adipose tissue, a condition referred to as “insulin resistance.” Insulin resistance develops before the onset of diabetes and is a predictor of the disease. In fact, insulin resistance can be present more than 10 years prior to diabetes and can be seen prior to any changes in glycemic measures.1 Most people with insulin resistance are able to maintain normal glycemic levels by increasing β-cell secretion to compensate for diminished insulin activity. Over time, though, the β-cells of the pancreas may not produce sufficient insulin to compensate for the increased resistance, and this leads to progressive glucose intolerance (prediabetes) and diabetes.
Doctor Office
Can Global Metabolomic Profiling be used as a Clinical Tool for Inborn Error of Metabolism Screening?
AACC Scientific Shorts
Douglas Toal
Global metabolomic profiling of patient cohorts is a powerful tool for the discovery of diagnostic biomarkers. Recently we have conducted translational research to extend the application of metabolomics from population studies and biomarker discovery to individual patient testing (N-of-one studies) for the detection of Inborn Errors on Metabolism (IEM). Here, I will briefly summarize our experience with clinical metabolomics and explain how we believe that this global approach holds great promise for individual patient testing as a supplemental tool for IEM diagnosis.