Research Projects


Acute Exercise Study

Individuals with metabolic syndrome are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. After a meal, the hormone insulin promotes dilation of large arteries and increased blood flow in the capillaries. This is important for delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues to make energy. However, people with metabolic syndrome do not always see this response in the presence of insulin. While exercise is known to increase blood flow and increase sensitivity of the vasculature to insulin, it is unclear if individuals with metabolic syndrome see similar improvement following a single bout of exercise to individuals without metabolic syndrome. Individuals will be screened to see if they qualify and will be offered fitness, body composition, vascular health and blood flow as well as energy metabolism measures to better understand metabolic and cardiovascular health. For more information about this study, email Emily Heiston at emh5bh@virginia.edu or call 434-243-8677.

Metformin Exercise Study

Individuals with metabolic syndrome are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  The ideal exercise prescription for these individuals, however, remains unclear. In addition, it is unknown if people taking medication during an exercise training program have different health responses compared with people exercise alone. This question is really important given that several people with metabolic syndrome are recommended to take medicine to reduce disease risk. We are particularly interest in metformin interactions with exercise since it is the most commonly prescribed medication to regulate blood glucose levels. Our study will therefore look at the role of exercise intensity training for 16 weeks, with or without metformin, in people with metabolic syndrome. We will screen all people to see if they qualify and measure: fitness, body composition, vascular health and blood flow as well as energy metabolism to better understand the optimal treatment plan to prevent disease progression. For more information, e-mail Stephanie Miller at slm4ps@virginia.edu or call (434) 243-8677.

Pre-diabetes and Intensity Study

Individuals with prediabetes are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  The ideal exercise prescription for these individuals, however, remains unclear. In addition, it is unknown if problems in the macro- and micro-vasculature limit blood glucose delivery to the skeletal muscle, or if the muscle is unable to use that glucose as an energy source. Our study will therefore look at the role of exercise intensity in people at risk for type 2 diabetes on vascular health and energy metabolism to better understand the optimal treatment plan to prevent disease progression. For more information, please call (434) 243-8677.

Bariatric Lifestyle Study

Bariatric surgery is an emerging intervention that is used to promote weight loss. In fact, bariatric surgery is now often referred to as “metabolic surgery” because it also improves glycemic control and lowers insulin resistance as well as cardiovascular risk in obese individuals. Despite these collective benefits, little is known regarding the role of physical activity and/or diet on metabolic health in people before or after bariatric surgery. Our study will look at the roles of physical activity and diet to better understand the impact these treatments have on disease risk reduction and quality of life. For more information, please call (434) 243-8677.

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