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Diabetes and Obesity Research

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) undertakes basic biomedical research, primarily in laboratory settings, to learn how the human body operates on all levels. Our discoveries are often licensed to biotechnology or pharmaceutical firms for further development toward a drug or treatment. As a nonprofit biomedical research institute, we do not see patients and rarely conduct clinical trials; for the latest information on clinical trials throughout the United States, visit . For information on specific diseases, search for associations or organizations dedicated to the disease, for example, the American Diabetes Association or the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Diabetes and obesity are two related conditions affecting the body’s metabolism.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of conditions in which people have too much sugar (glucose) in their blood, due to the body’s inability to produce and/or use the hormone insulin. Insulin normally causes cells to take up glucose as an energy source from the blood. Symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and unusual hunger accompanied by weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow-healing sores.

In type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes), the body's immune system attacks insulin-producing ? cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, the glucose in the bloodstream increases dramatically. Without treatment with replacement insulin, this condition can progress rapidly, leading to dangerously high blood sugar, coma, and death.

In type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset diabetes), which accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States, the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells don’t respond to the insulin that is produced. This leads to high blood sugar and opens the door to serious complications including blindness, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, and lower limb amputations. Risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and family history. Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with changes in diet, increase in physical activity, weight loss, and medication.

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What Is Obesity?

Obesity is the accumulation of body fat to the point where it leads to a reduced life expectancy and health problems, which include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and cancer. Obesity is generally associated with a body mass index (BMI, pounds x 703/inches2) of 30 and above.

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How Prevalent Are Diabetes and Obesity?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States 23.6 million people, or 7.8 percent of the population, have diabetes.

According to a recent survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately one third of the U.S. population is obese. According to the World Health Organization, obesity affects at least 400 million people worldwide.

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Recent Research and News on Diabetes and Obesity at The Scripps Research Institute

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Links for General Diabetes and Obesity Information

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