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Projects

Characterization of obese individuals | Diabetes and cystic fibrosisDiabetes and inactivityExternal artificial pancreas | Physical activity and diabetes | Pharmaceutical industry collaborations

The various research projects performed with PROMD, both academic and pharmaceutical, focus on the optimization and advancement of knowledge in the treatment of diabetes and obesity, the benefits of weight training and the prevention of cardiovascular disease, among other topics.  

Characterization of obese individuals with no metabolic complications
Obesity is a chronic disease that affects approximately 20% of the population. Despite having a large amount of body fat mass, some obese individuals do not develop the problems generally associated with obesity, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and heart disease. Our research will enable us to better characterize these individuals and to better understand the genetic factors that give these obese individuals a protective profile.  

Diabetes secondary to cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is the most common autosomal recessive disease in the Caucasian population. In recent years, the life expectancy of people with cystic fibrosis has gradually improved and has now topped the 40-year mark. As a result, new and major complications, such as diabetes (high blood glucose levels) secondary to cystic fibrosis, have emerged. The pathophysiology of diabetes secondary to cystic fibrosis is not yet understood. Our laboratory is attempting to shed light on the mechanisms involved in the development of diabetes secondary to cystic fibrosis, as well as the correlations between elevated blood glucose levels and changes in weight and pulmonary function.

Type 1 diabetes: Development of an external artificial pancreas
Type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 10% of all cases and is usually diagnosed during childhood. Type 1 diabetes is generally treated by intensive insulin therapy using multiple daily injections or continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump. Despite available treatments, more than 60% of patients with type 1 diabetes present unbalanced diabetes. Wide variations of glucose concentrations are observed and can lead to serious complications due to frequent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Recent developments in continuous glucose sensors and insulin pumps have increased research on the external artificial pancreas to prevent hypoglycemia and improve diabetes control. Several research projects on the external artificial pancreas are planned at the PROMD research platform. The objective of these projects will be to evaluate the efficacy of the external artificial pancreas to regulate glucose levels following a meal, during exercise and at night-time.

Impact of a physical activity program with or without nutritional intervention in type 2 diabetics
To improve the control of diabetes, blood pressure and lipid profile (blood fat levels), the Canadian Diabetes Association recommends lifestyle changes that target weight loss through calorie restriction combined with moderate to intense physical activity. However, the effects of various methods of calorie restriction that target weight loss remain to be elucidated. In the framework of this research project, we wish to study the effect of 2 strategies for attaining the same caloric deficit, i.e. a supervised hypocaloric diet combined with advice on exercise or a combination of a hypocaloric diet with a supervised exercise program. We hope to determine whether procedures for administering a nutrition and/or exercise program reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications, for example in terms of losing body fat mass, a major element in the health profile.

Effect of vitamin D supplementation on glucose tolerance
Studies have shown that low vitamin D status is associated with higher fasting glucose and that vitamin D deficiency increases risk for diabetes. The main objective of this research project is to determine the effect of vitamin D fortified cheese given once per week for 6 months on glucose metabolism in people at risk for diabetes who have low serum vitamin D levels.

Characterization of type 1 diabetics with the metabolic syndrome
The metabolic syndrome is a complex disorder defined by a cluster of interconnected factors including abdominal obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. Recent data have shown that up to 45% of patients with type 1 diabetes are now characterized with the metabolic syndrome. The objective of this project is to characterize type 1 diabetic with the metabolic syndrome in terms of body composition, dietary and physical activity profiles.

Several research projects are underway in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry on the following subjects:

  • Optimal procedures for starting insulin injections in type 2 diabetic patients when oral treatment is no longer providing sufficient glycemia control
  • Prevention and cardiovascular safety of medications used to treat diabetes 
  • Efficacy and safety of new medications for treating diabetes
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