Page 15 - research hubs
P. 15

Research Hub
for Improving
Obesity and
Diabetes Care
Transforming the Prediction and Treatment of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
More than 400 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes. One out of four will die as a result of the illness or related complications. Worse yet, the World Health Organization predicts that the number of diabetes-related deaths worldwide will double within two decades.
Understanding the causes of diabetes, discovering measures to stem the tide of the disease, and developing new and effective treatments are critical to world health.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the prevalence of classical risk factors such as obesity, poor diet, and heart disease serve as straightforward predictors for developing type 2 diabetes. However, more recent research has revealed that these dependent risk factors vary significantly from one population sector to another.
At the Research Hub for Improving Obesity and Diabetes Care, interdisciplinary teams of researchers and clinicians are isolating specific ethnic groups where diabetes predictors vary greatly. For example, diabetes risk scores that were validated in Caucasian or Asian populations failed to predict diabetes in other populations.
Researchers at the Hub are examining the hypothesis that both genomic and metabolic factors are vital to creating reliable predictor scales for specific ethnic groups, both for diabetes and for a greater tendency toward obesity.
The Hub has begun a comparative investigative study based on three population groups meeting pre-diabetes criteria: Negev Bedouins, Ethiopian Jews, and a cross-section from the general population. By analyzing clinical parameters (i.e., family history, medications, liver function, kidney damage, and lipid measurements), researchers hope to improve phenotyping in search of novel predictors.
Hub researchers believe that reliable predictors of type 2 diabetes are pivotal for the development of cost-effective, early-stage preventive interventions. This, in turn, can dramatically enhance the future prognosis of pre-diabetic patients, dramatically improving how diabetes and obesity are treated in the future.
In terms of obesity, Hub researchers are studying bariatric surgery patients. They believe that metabolic factors may play a seminal role in determining who is a “better” candidate for bariatric surgery.

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