Regensteiner, Judith G., PhD
Role of vascular function: oxygen delivery vs. oxygen utilitization in the exercise impairment in type 2 diabetes
General Research Subject: Type 2 Diabetes
Type of Grant: Clinical Translational Research
Project Start Date: January 1, 2012
Project End Date: December 31, 2014
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating and/or curing diabetes?
My work addresses the area of exercise impairment in type 2 diabetes. We have found that persons with type 2 diabetes have an impaired ability to perform exercise even without clinically apparent complications. The reasons for this marked abnormality are unknown but are important as the decreased ability to exercise could contribute to the decreased physical activity frequently observed in this population and may potentially constitute an early marker of cardiovascular disease. Since risk of getting heart disease or dying from heart disease is very increased in type 2 diabetes, understanding the abnormalities is of key importance so that treatments and perhaps ultimately even preventive strategies can be designed appropriately. Our goal in this project is to understand the significance and relative contributions of the components of blood flow vs. muscle oxygen utilization as they relate to the exercise limitations observed in diabetes. Our hypothesis is that there are discrete abnormalities in both these things in T2D that directly contribute to the observed exercise impairments. Determining the causes of the abnormalities we have found will help us to target the best treatments.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
I would respond that in the future, understanding the abnormalities in exercise capacity in persons with type 2 diabetes will allow us to design appropriate treatments and maybe even develop preventive strategies. This is important because we think that these abnormalities which occur even early in the course of diagnosed diabetes may be associated with the development later of cardiovascular disease. If we can treat the abnormalities early, perhaps we can prevent the development of cardiovascular disease. In addition, if we can not treat the abnormalities, then loss of physical function may result. This may not matter so much in younger people but can become critical as people grow older and the range of physical function narrows. Our overall goal is to understand the abnormalities and learn the best way to treat them.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your research efforts?
I am very committed to diabetes research because my grandmother, who inspired me greatly, died after multiple strokes likely brought on by type 2 diabetes. She was actually not overweight but still got type 2 diabetes. The strokes were horribly disabling to her mental function. I wanted to do something to honor her memory. The role that this award will play in my research efforts is to enable me to study. This will help us better understand the causes of the abnormalities and help us to design treatments for persons with type 2 diabetes.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
The future of diabetes research will be "translational". In other words, research will have basic, clinical and/or epidemiologic elements. Research will also be community-based. In addition, the best research will be interdisciplinary and will cut across academic fields. This will provide us with optimal chances to make a difference with our research.
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