Targeting a Health Threat
Diabetes 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