Chemical Contributors to Type 2 Diabetes

November 29, 2016
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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11.29.16CallDiabetesCDCType 2 diabetes is a considerable and growing health concern. Currently diabetes affects 9.3% of the US population and 415 million people globally. Type 2 diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and kidney failure. Diabetogens, or chemical agents that can cause diabetes, have been of interest to researchers for decades, and recent evidence points to a growing number of environmental contaminants that could play a role in diabetes. Toxicants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are ubiquitous in our environment and appear to affect many biological systems including hormone regulation, glucose homeostasis, neurologic function and reproduction, and some are known carcinogens. On this call, speakers will present the current research on toxic chemicals that appear to promote metabolic disease, including type 2 diabetes, and the results of the first prospective investigations on the role of POP exposures in the development of type 2 diabetes in a cohort of Great Lakes sport fish consumers.

On this call Dr. Sargis reviewed the key evidence linking environmental chemical exposures to diabetes. Then Dr. Turyk discussed her work examining the potential role of biomarkers of diabetes risk related to toxic exposures. Her study results suggest that POPs may have a stronger impact on blood glucose control in people at high risk for diabetes than previously thought.   

Featured Speakers

11.29.16CallRobert SargisRobert Sargis, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist endocrinologist with a special interest in the care of patients with metabolic diseases and hormonal disturbances. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, he sits on several committees including the Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition. Dr. Sargis is the Co-Director of the Diabetes Research and Training Program Pilot and Feasibility Program and Co-Director of the Section on Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Research Seminar Series. He is the author of numerous publications, reviews, commentaries, case reports and a book chapter. In medical school at Rush University, his area of clinical focus was on environmental pollutants and metabolic disease. Dr. Sargis also earned a PhD in Biochemistry. 

11.26.16CallMaryTurykMary Turyk, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, is an environmental epidemiologist. Her research focuses on the impacts of environmental pollutants, such as persistent organic pollutants, metals and phthalates, on metabolic pathways including disruption of hormone and glucose homeostasis. Her research on potential biological pathways mediating the association of POP exposures with diabetes in a cohort of Great Lakes fish consumers. Methyl mercury is also an area of interest. In partnership with community based organizations, Dr. Turyk and her colleagues at UIC are evaluating the health benefits and risks of seafood consumption in Chicago Asian communities, with the final objective of tailoring public health text messages to subgroups at risk.

This call was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, CHE’s director. It lasted for 1 hour and was recorded for our call archive.