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The various research projects performed by PROMD, both academic and pharmaceutical, focus on type 1 diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes. Some projects also address type 2 diabetes and obesity.  

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 do not achieve recommended glycemic targets. Wide variations in glucose concentrations are observed and can lead to serious complications due to frequent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Recent developments in continuous glucose sensors and insulin pumps have increased research on the external artificial pancreas to prevent hypoglycemia and improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes. Several research projects on the external artificial pancreas are ongoing at the PROMD research platform. For more information on our research projects on the external artificial pancreas, click here.

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 resistance to the insulin action. Historically, these risk factors were mostly found in individuals with type 2 diabetes. 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 patients with type 1 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome in terms of body composition, lifestyle (diet, fitness level, tobacco use, etc.) and diabetes management in order to better understand the emergence of the metabolic syndrome in this population and to propose measures to prevent and treat the metabolic syndrome.

Impact of a diet intervention in adults with type 1 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome
The Mediterranean diet is known for its benefits on heart health in the general population. Patients with type 1 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we believe that these patients could benefit from a Mediterranean diet. The objective of this project is to examine the impact of a 6-month nutritional intervention on the waist circumference and other health parameters in patients with type 1 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. This project will allow us to gain knowledge on nutritional options for these patients and to assess the benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet.

Type 1 diabetes and exercise: strategies to prevent hypoglycemia
The majority of adults with type 1 diabetes do not meet recommended targets for physical activity. The fear of hypoglycemia
is the main limiting factor for physical activity practice in this population. To reduce the risk of exercise-induced hypoglycemia, it is recommended to reduce the dose of insulin accompanying the meal consumed before the exercise and/or have a snack before exercise. For patients using an insulin pump, it is also possible to temporarily reduce the basal insulin dose. The objective of this series of studies is to identify the best strategies to prevent exercise-induced hypoglycemia. For example, we want to identify the most appropriate time to reduce the basal insulin dose before exercise, the degree of reduction of the basal insulin dose during exercise, the time to resume the usual basal insulin dose, the prevention of nocturnal hypoglycemia after exercise, etc.

Online survey on diabetes
We want to better understand the barriers to diabetes care by questioning patients about their perceptions of various aspects of the disease. The study currently underway is for adults with type 1 diabetes using an insulin pump. The objective of this study is to help us improve insulin pump therapy and help health professionals to address problems encountered by patients during medical visits. Participation in this study involves completing an online questionnaire via Survey Monkey® platform. To complete the questionnaire, click here.

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 exceeds 40 years old. Consequently, new and major complications, such as cystic fibrosis related diabetes (high blood glucose levels), have emerged. The causes of cystic fibrosis related diabetes are not well established. Our laboratory is attempting to shed light on the mechanisms involved in the development of cystic fibrosis related diabetes as well as on the association between high blood glucose levels and changes in weight and pulmonary function. We also study various strategies to prevent or delay the development of cystic fibrosis related diabetes and its complications. We have reported benefits of physical activity on blood sugar levels and are now studying the impact of a diet intervention with a fiber supplement. 

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 environmental factors, in particular pollutants, which give these obese individuals a protective profile.  

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

  • Prevention and cardiovascular safety of medications used to treat diabetes 
  • Efficacy and safety of new oral medications and new insulin formulations to treat diabetes



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