While many Americans will begin new diet and exercise regimens with the arrival of the New Year, employees at Emory University, Grady Memorial Hospital and Morehouse School of Medicine will kick off 2005 with an interest in being healthy, too. They will volunteer for a new research study to screen for and treat the early stages of diabetes. Researchers believe this study will help lead the way in revolutionizing diabetes care.
Beginning January 3, 2005, the new study will screen people for borderline or pre-diabetes, called Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT). IGT does not mean that a person has diabetes, but the condition does often progress into diabetes. Over 35 million Americans have IGT and do not know it.
Lawrence S. Phillips, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Emory University School of Medicine and his colleagues have been awarded $2.9 million by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to develop a new screening procedure to detect pre-diabetes. "The U.S. is experiencing a dramatic rise in both type 2 diabetes and its antecedent, pre-diabetes, which is mostly identified as IGT," says Dr. Phillips. "Progression from IGT to diabetes can be decreased, but patients can only be directed to risk reduction programs if they are identified early. Since we don't presently screen for IGT, many patients progress to diabetes and already have diabetes complications, including increased cardiovascular risks, when they are finally diagnosed."
The Screening for Impaired Glucose Tolerance (SIGT) Study aims to enroll 2,100 volunteers over a three-year period. Employees from Emory, Morehouse and Grady are being asked to assist with this project because of its importance to medicine and its benefits for the individual. Family members and friends of employees can also take part in the research study.
Study volunteers will be asked to make two visits to the General Clinical Research Center, either at Emory University Hospital or Grady Memorial Hospital. The first visit will take a little more than an hour and will involve taking blood samples, drinking a sugar drink and having repeat blood samples one hour later (glucose challenge test).
The second visit will take a little more than two hours. That visit will consist of taking blood samples, drinking a sugar drink, repeating blood samples one and two hours later (oral glucose tolerance test), checking cholesterol and other heart risk measures, giving a urine sample to assess kidney function, having body measurements, and filling out questionnaires on family history and health risks.
Leaders from Emory, Grady and Morehouse support this initiative and will allow employees time to participate in this vital study without the need to take vacation or sick leave.
Benefits that study participants receive will include test results and an explanation of what the results mean. If they have pre-diabetes or a risk of heart problems, the researchers will instruct participants on the next steps which they and their doctors can take. This will help the participants to get a "head start" to improve their health. Depending on test results, study participants may also be offered an opportunity to enroll in additional research studies, which will analyze heart risks and diabetes risks in more detail, and may include evaluation of new treatments for pre-diabetes.
To participate in this study, please call Emory Health Connection at (404) 778-7777. Additional information is also available at the SIGT Study website http://www.med.emory.edu/research/GCRC/SIGT.