Wake Forest's largest study will examine whether weight control can slow hardening of the arteries in diabetics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A major seven-year national study on whether weight control can slow the advance of heart disease in persons with diabetes will be headquartered at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, under a $40.6 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.

The grant, by far the largest in the school's history, includes funds to pay for 15 clinics across the country. No clinics will be located in Winston-Salem.

Mark Espeland, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences (biostatistics), will be principal investigator of the national coordinating center of the Study of Health Outcomes of Weight loss (SHOW).

The SHOW trial will involve 6,000 obese people who have adult-onset (type 2) diabetes, and test whether weight loss will reduce the adverse health problems commonly encountered by diabetics, especially cardiovascular disease.

"Weight loss is associated with improvements in numerous cardiovascular disease risk factors, including decreased LDL cholesterol [the bad cholesterol], reduced blood pressure, decreased blood glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity," Espeland said.

But he said he knew of no studies that directly measure whether weight loss slows progression of atherosclerosis. "SHOW will be the first large trial designed in a manner to measure this."

Each of the 15 centers will enroll about 400 participants. They will be assigned randomly to community care or interventions aimed at reducing daily food consumption, reducing dietary fat and increasing physical activity each week. A weight-loss drug may be used by participants for whom weight loss is more difficult.

Experts in nutrition, exercise and behavior change from across the country will design these interventions so they will be effective, safe and appropriate for women and men of different ages and cultural groups. After the design is compl

Contact: Robert Conn, Jim Steele or Mark Wright
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

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