Roughly 29 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and North Dakota State associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences Yagna Jarajapu and his research team are doing their best to help.
The National Institutes of Health awarded the research team with a $1.3 million grant to study countermeasures of the negative effects diabetes has on the blood vessels, specifically those in the lower legs.
The tests and hypothesis focus on peripheral vascular disease (PAD), but findings translate back to treatment associated with diabetic induced vascular complications. PAD is, essentially, the narrowing of blood vessels that exist outside of the heart and brain.
“We are using PAD as a model, but the theory will apply for any diabetic cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack or a stroke,” Jarajapu said.
Their findings can also help prevent diabetics from needing amputation due to cardiovascular complications. “After long-term diabetes, if they don’t control their diabetes strictly, they develop lack of blood flow in the limbs … and eventually they undergo amputation. Otherwise, it will spread over the rest of the body.”
Jarajapu and his team are acting now to help the aging baby boomers with these health problems. “We are trying to prevent irreversible damage,” he said. “We have to act now to fix this complication.”
Time Magazine reported in 2015 that 18.9 percent of baby boomers have diabetes, with those numbers expected to keep climbing. That is approximately 14.3 million diabetic baby boomers.
The project’s official title is, “Targeting Mass Receptor for Diabetic Vascular Disease in Older Adults,” and Jarajapu is the principal investigator.
The research team consists of Jarajapu, two graduate students and a doctoral student from NDSU and one undergraduate student from Concordia College. Funding allows room for one more undergraduate student on the team.
To inquire about this position, contact Jarajapu via email at Yagna.Jarajapu@ndsu.edu.