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Pennington Takes Aim at Diabetes

Released: Wednesday, March 17, 2004

BATON ROUGE - The Pennington Biomedical Research Center has announced a monthly series of public learning sessions, the latest move by the center in the last several months to increase knowledge and understanding of diabetes.

The first session, called “What’s New? The ‘Latest’ and ‘Greatest’ in diabetes treatment!” will be held Thursday, March 18 in the Pennington Conference Center at 6:15 pm. Joining the center in the series is the American Diabetes Association.

“We’re proud to be a leader in the research of the causes and treatments for diabetes, so this partnership with one of the greatest supporters of research and public education makes a perfect fit,” said Glen Duncan, director of communications for the Pennington Center.

Late last year, physician and diabetes expert William Cefalu, M.D., joined the center and shortly after began a clinical trial of inhaled insulin, at the time the only clinic of its type in the state. Volunteers with diabetes have started enrolling to test the new, needle free medication.

Then in January, the center announced the creation of a new position in pediatric obesity and diabetes research, and is looking for a scientist to fill that position. The center created the position with a million dollar donation from the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation.

“The latest news that obesity is becoming the leading killer of Americans carries with it an additional blow, it is also a leading factor in the onset of diabetes,” Cefalu said, “We’ve studied the causes and potential cures of obesity at Pennington since the doors opened here, and now want to build up our experience even further in one of the sad consequences of obesity – the onset of Type II diabetes. We’d like the public to gain from that experience as we ourselves learn more.”

Type II diabetes, according to Cefalu, used to be called “adult onset diabetes,” but more and more adolescents and children are contracting the disease, and many researchers tie that directly to obesity in youth.

Cefalu said the series of lectures is not just open to the public, but specifically created for the public, and encouraged anyone with diabetes or a family member with diabetes to come.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itis a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.