Albu, Jeanine B., MD
Fuel utilization, diet composition and exercise in African American women
General Research Subject: Obesity
Focus: Clinical Therapeutics/New Technology\Pharmacologic Treatment of Diabetes or its Complications, Exercise\Human, Obesity\Clinical Treatment
Type of Grant: Minority Undergraduate Internship
Project Start Date: January 1, 2012
Project End Date: December 31, 2012
Mentor: Jeanine B. Albu, MD Undergraduate Intern: Kim Kelly Dinham
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating and or/curing diabetes?
Obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes as well as for heart disease and is highly prevalent in African Americans, particularly women. The current project will focus on a novel, time-efficient and effective exercise training program, high intensity interval training, aimed at reducing risk factors for obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease in African American women. We and others have previously studied and identified risk factors for obesity and weight gain as well as direct risk factors for development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease in African American women such as low rates of fat utilization, insulin resistance and low aerobic endurance. In this study we will determine whether high-intensity interval training exercise program will improve rates of fat utilization, insulin resistance and aerobic endurance capacity in 24 pre-menopausal overweight and obese African American women as compared to 24 sedentary controls. During the training time period all women will be counseled to follow the same weight-maintaining, heart-healthy dietary pattern. This type of exercise training has a good potential for clinical translation as the shorter exercise time may improve compliance, the biggest deterrent for exercise training programs success. Prevention of obesity or further weight gain and reversal of decreased aerobic capacity and insulin resistance in younger individuals such as African American women of child-bearing age (pre-menopausal) could be crucial to decrease the worrisome trends of obesity-related illnesses, such as typ2 diabetes and heart disease, in African Americans.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
We will study the effect of a time-efficient type of exercise training program on risk factors for obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease in a high risk population. This is a proof of concept study which will determine the short term feasibility and effectiveness of high intensity interval training in the population described. In addition to an adjuvant to caloric restriction, effective exercise training, even without weight loss, plays an important role in prevention of weight gain, weight maintenance after weight loss and prevention of type diabetes and cardiovascular disease independent of weight loss. In combination with more traditional aerobic exercise, resistance training or various degrees of caloric restriction, this exercise training program could become an important piece in the armamentarium used for the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes and will immediately benefit persons with diabetes and their families.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your research efforts?
I have been involved in obesity and diabetes research throughout my career as an academic endocrinologist. I have received ADA research funding starting with an early career award which jump- started my career in diabetes research. I have been a member and supporter of the ADA for more than 20 years and participated in numerous annual meetings and other activities. Research has been particularly important to me not only as it advances our knowledge for the cure and prevention of diabetes but also as it practically helps endocrinologists do a better job in the clinical setting, treating patients at risk or with diabetes. This award is particularly important and special to me as it is a Clinical Translational Award, that is, it has the potential to immediately transmit benefits to our day to day practice. It will also allow me to train a member of the next generation of diabetes researchers.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
I think that we will make tremendous progress if we will be applying both principles of translational research: from bench to bedside and from bedside to extended clinical practice and population health, including public health policies. I was pleased to see at the 2010 annual meeting in Orlando both of these areas receiving equal attention. I believe that focusing on both of these areas will quickly help disseminate the efforts of basic research into primary and secondary prevention at the population level.
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