Recovery Blog

Targeting a Health Threat

Posted in Agency News, Recovery Projects/Awards by Recovery.gov on November 22, 2011

Insulin BottleDiabetes afflicts nearly 24 million Americans, and another 79 million have an increased risk for the disease. It is the seventh leading cause of death among all Americans and is a major cause of other deadly diseases. Annual healthcare costs associated with diabetes total $174 billion.

Because of these concerns, the Department of Health and Human Services has provided more than $500 million in Recovery Act funds to universities, hospitals, and related institutions to conduct research into diabetes. The goals are two-fold:

  • Increase understanding of causes and treatments of the disease
  • Invest in health information technology that can lead to better and more efficient care and prevention

Type 2 diabetes accounts for at least 90 percent of all cases. Two Recovery funded research projects – by University of Michigan and University of Virginia, respectively – are exploring the genetics of diabetes:

  • A study building on recent discoveries of common genetic variants that contribute to type 2 diabetes
  • A study to identify genetic contributors to diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in African Americans, who are at elevated risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease

HHS, Diabetes and the Recovery Act

3 Responses

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  1. Francis said, on November 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I simply do not believe that diabetes has anything to do with genetics, but to each of his own. What matters is that if they can figure the specific causes for diabetes, treatments can be made to help save countless lives, wherever they may be on earth.

  2. christina thomas said, on December 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I think the above comment is an example of what’s wrong and impeding change in so many areas. It’s silly. The fact that diabetes has a link with genetics has nothing to do with belief. It’s simply true. Some people are born with a predisposition towards it. That said, our American diet is by far the most important culprit, and the fact that we don’t exercise enough. Change those two things, and you will find that the genetic predisposition won’t even matter any more, for the most part!

  3. Trent said, on December 9, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I agree with Christina Thomas. In most cases of type 1 diabetes, people need to inherit risk factors from both parents. Type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1, although it too depends on environmental factors. Studies of twins have shown that genetics play a very strong role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle also influences the development of type 2 diabetes. Obesity tends to run in families, and families tend to have similar eating and exercise habits.

    If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, it may be difficult to figure out whether your diabetes is due to lifestyle factors or genetic susceptibility. Most likely it is due to both. Studies show that it is possible to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes by exercising and losing weight.


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