The research field
More than half of the adult Danish population is overweight, and the number is predicted to rise. Overweight increases the risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which now account for almost 30% of all noncommunicable premature disease deaths in Denmark. Other major risk factors for diabetes include impairments of the glucose metabolism, such as intermediate hyperglycaemia (prediabetes) and gestational diabetes. It is estimated that ~7% of Danish adults have intermediate hyperglycaemia and that the age standardized prevalence of gestational diabetes is ~3%. In the latter case, not only the women with gestational diabetes, but also their children and spouses are at an increased risk of metabolic diseases.
Due to this high burden of cardiometabolic disease and the associated economic costs, targeted preventive interventions for people at high risk are needed. Existing evidence suggest that lifestyle modification and certain types of medication can delay the onset of diabetes in some high-risk groups. However, because of heterogeneity across different high-risk populations, specific strategies for different target groups are needed.
The first step in developing strategies for early prevention of diabetes and its complications is to identify persons at particularly high risk. We do this by utilising data from epidemiological cohorts to study progression rates to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We focus on identifying high-risk individuals in an easy and feasible way using different clinical characteristics and biomarkers.
When different high-risk subgroups have been identified, we seek to understand the underlying biological mechanisms driving obesity, hyperglycaemia, and cardiovascular risk. We have a special focus on the role of insulin resistance, insulin secretion, appetite regulation, the gastrointestinal system, circadian rhythm and epigenetic mechanisms in dysglycaemia and obesity.
Based on knowledge about the target groups, incl. their potential barriers or motivation for lifestyle changes, we design, develop, and test feasible interventions with the aim of improving health markers and reducing the overall risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the target populations.
- Heterogeneity in type 2 diabetes development (Kristine Færch)
- Health during pregnancy and childhood (Louise Groth Grunnet)
- Identification and prognosis for high-risk individuals (Martin Bæk Blond)
- Lifestyle, interventions and circadian rhythm (Jonas Salling Quist)
- University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Aarhus University & Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark
- Aalborg University & Steno Diabetes Center North, Aalborg, Denmark
- Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, USA
- University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, Colorado, USA
- Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
- University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
- University College London, London, UK
- Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands
- University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
- Statens Serum Institut, Denmark
- National Institute of Child Health and Disease (NICHD), Bethesda, USA
- Medical University of Graz, Austria
- Murdoch Children Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
- National Institute for Medical Research, Tanga Center, Tanzania
- iMotions A/S, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Current research projects
- The PRE-D Trial
- The RESET Study
- The PRESET Study
- The ADDITION-PRO study
- The Whitehall II study
- PONA II
- Coexistence of obesity and anaemia during pregnancy
- EWAS study of in utero exposure to maternal diabetes and/or obesity