Professor receives award to research diabetes

By Arpeni Mael, Editor-in-Chief

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded UMass Dartmouth Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, Lamya Karim, a grant worth $616,170 to study how type 2 diabetes weakens the bones and in turn, causes greater risk for fractures.

“Skeletal fragility in patients with type 2 diabetes is a rapidly growing pulic health risk,” said Dr. Karim in the press release on umassd.edu. “The causes of diabetic skeletal fragility are largely unknown, which makes it difficult for clinicians to make decisions regarding fracture prevention and medical care in this population.”

Dr. Karim’s goal in the research is to determine what the underlying causes of diabetic skeletal fragility are. Through this, they are hoping the results will provide a better understanding of how the bones become weak, and also potentially aid in the development of assessing risk and treating diabetic patients that are prone to fractures.

Type 2 diabetics are about three times as likely to break a bone, compared to non-diabetics. These fractures come with high mortality rates such as hip fractures.

The disease itself is rather expensive in terms of health care, the annual cost going as high as $245 billion in the United States. The diabetes rates in the United States are also predicted to rise up to 5 times by the year 2050.

In Massachusetts alone, about 18 percent of adults over the age of sixty five are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. About fifty percent are pre-diabetic. UMass Dartmouth is located in Bristol County, where it has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the state.

UMass Dartmouth is the only Massachusetts research university that is located south of Boston, and it has a $27 million research enterprise. The university was officially designated as a doctoral research university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and it earned a National Tier 1 designation by the U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

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