October 4, 2022

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Sandra Hunter, professor of exercise science, and Dr. Christopher Sundberg, assistant professor of exercise science, both in the Department of Physical Therapy at Marquette University College of Health Sciences, have received a $3.02 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institution on Aging to study exercise limitations in people with prediabetes.

People diagnosed as pre-diabetic or with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, for which exercise is a key preventative measure. This study will examine the factors that lead to fatigue, exhaustion and other barriers to physical performance to better understand what limits exercise and functional performance in people with diabetes. The research will also contribute to the development of targeted and more effective exercise programs.

“Pre-diabetes affects approximately 90 million Americans, and both pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease and are among the top five leading causes of death worldwide,” Hunter said.

Sundberg added: “Exercise is the cornerstone of cardiovascular risk management and is most effective during the pre-diabetes phase, but pre-diabetes people are limited by excessive lower extremity fatigability during exercise. , which limits physical performance.

The researchers will conduct their study with two objectives: The first objective will study blood flow and muscle oxygenation in the legs in response to dynamic strenuous exercise. The second objective of this study will be a clinical trial that will determine the effectiveness of resistance training coupled with blood flow restriction to improve fatigability and vascular function in people with diabetes.

“Drs. Hunter and Sundberg have brought together a strong team of colleagues from across campus to address a very serious ancillary health issue faced by people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. William Cullinan, Dean of the College of Science. of health. . “Their expertise is uniquely positioned to better understand the causes of excessive fatigue in prediabetics, as well as to develop new training programs designed to overcome these challenges and promote positive cardiovascular health.”

Hunter and Sundberg are the principal investigators for the award and are joined by co-investigators Dr. Carolyn Smith, Clinical Associate Professor of Exercise Science; Dr. Kathleen Lukaszewicz, Clinical Associate Professor of Physical Therapy; and Dr. Mehdi Maadooliat, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistical Sciences at Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Michael Widlansky, Northwestern Mutual Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Dr. Shane Phillips, professor of physical therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, are also study co-investigators.

The National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant (R01) is the original and historically longest-running grant mechanism used by the NIH. The R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the NIH mission. R01s can be initiated by the interviewer or can be solicited.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the Associate Director of Academic Communications in the Office of Marketing and Communications. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or kevin.m.conway@marquette.edu.