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Type 2 Diabetes Programs

SDRI has been a leading center for developing novel therapeutics for type 2 diabetes. We have conducted dozens of important randomized controlled clinical trials evaluating potential therapeutic interventions for type 2 diabetes.

Our scientific priority is to establish an integrated, sophisticated and comprehensive systems biology research program that encompasses cardiometabolic dysfunction and diseases, including all types of diabetes and comorbidities associated with obesity.

Precision Metabolism

This research initiative will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the metabolic alterations (e.g., insulin resistance, altered hormonal responses to meal ingestion, adverse blood lipids, inflammation in fat tissue) associated with cardiometabolic diseases (e.g. type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and diabetes in pregnancy, obesity) and how specific nutritional interventions can improve “metabolic health” and decrease the risk of complications. This research goes beyond the importance of diet in maintaining blood glucose control.

Plant-forward diet therapy

Plant-forward diets (diets that increase the intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes and are high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat and sodium) have been shown to induce weight loss and prevent and mitigate cardiometabolic diseases (i.e., high blood pressure abnormal blood lipids, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease). SDRI is conducting a series of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the clinical and metabolic benefits, acceptability and potential dissemination of plant-forward diets in people with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes.

Latino Health

Santa Barbara has a large Latino population; 46% of the people living in Santa Barbara are Latino. Latinos in the US are disproportionately burdened by obesity and type 2 diabetes, a major cause of cardiometabolic diseases in this population. Diet-induced weight loss is the primary therapy for people with obesity and diabetes. However, effective dietary therapy is usually unavailable to socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED) populations, and compliance with dietary change is complex because of multiple barriers. SDRI is launching a research program to evaluate the clinical efficacy, acceptance, and potential dissemination of an innovative, culturally-appropriate diet intervention program developed by SDRI investigators and collaborators in SED Latino adults with obesity and diabetes.

Young investigator training program

Three Pilot and Feasibility grants from the NIH-funded Centers at Washington University and the Southern California Center for Latino Health have been awarded to three SDRI adjunct Latina investigators. These studies will be conducted at SDRI and will evaluate the therapeutic benefits, acceptability, and potential for dissemination of a culturally-tailored, plant-forward, lifestyle therapy program (i.e., education and behavioral therapy to induce specific changes in dietary intake and physical activity), delivered by trained community health workers to socioeconomically disadvantaged Latinos living in the Santa Barbara area.

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