Healthy Minds Canada/Pfizer Canada Research Award (Grant)


Norbert Schmitz PhotoWinner of the $50,000 2015 Healthy Minds Canada / Pfizer Canada Research Award.

Links between psychological problems and type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a common chronic illness that is associated with quality of life impairments and disability.  It is also a leading cause of death worldwide.

A recent study by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Study Group showed a 45 percent increase in the prevalence of diabetes worldwide from 1990 to 2013 and prevalence rates are projected to continue to rapidly increase globally. A better understanding of the risk factors involved in the development of type 2 diabetes can have significant implications for the prevention of this disease.

Psychological problems like depression and anxiety are emerging risk factors for type 2 diabetes. However, the association between psychological symptoms and type 2 diabetes is complex – not all persons who are depressed or anxious will develop diabetes, and the mechanisms underlying these associations are unclear. It is likely that both behavioral factors (e.g., physical activity) and biological factors (e.g. systemic inflammation) are involved in this association.

The aim of Dr. Schmitz and his team (Sonya Deschênes, PhD, Rachel Burns, PhD)’s research will be to better understand when and which forms of psychological problems are associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.

To do this, they will assess inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein) of 2525 individuals in their ongoing, CIHR funded, Emotional well-being Metabolic factors and Health Status (EMHS) study, and to evaluate the relationship between psychological problems, inflammatory markers and behavioral factors and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Results will have the potential to better identify individuals who are at high diabetes risk and might help to develop prevention and intervention strategies.

“Depression is an emerging risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but it’s unclear how the two are associated. We will study whether behavioural factors, like physical exercise, as well as biological factors, like systemic inflammation, are connected to diabetes. The results of our work may help identify individuals who are at high diabetes risk and possibly lead to the development of prevention and intervention strategies.”

PsychRap Awards 2015 Infographic_EN