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2014 Grants - Guerrero-Berroa
Haptoglobin, Glycemic Control and Cognitive Decline in Type 2 Diabetes
Elizabeth Guerrero-Berroa, Ph.D.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, New York
2014 Mentored New Investigator Research Grant to Promote Diversity
Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, as well as for declines in brain function (cognitive decline) during aging. One factor that influences the risks associated with type 2 diabetes is the protein haptoglobin. Haptoglobin is found in the blood, where it binds to hemoglobin that has been released by cells. In this way, haptoglobin reduces blood vessel damage that can be caused by free hemoglobin.
Because of genetic variations, people have different versions of haptoglobin, and the version that a person carries can influence their risk of cardiovascular disease and possibly cognitive decline. However, the risks of cognitive decline associated with different haptoglobin versions and levels are not well understood, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.
Elizabeth Guerrero-Berroa, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed studies to examine the relationships between type 2 diabetes, haptoglobin and cognitive decline in a large group of people who are already part of the long-term Israel Diabetes and Cognitive Decline (IDCD) study. This long-term collaborative study contains data from about 1,000 older people, followed for over 15 years, who have type 2 diabetes. The data include measurements of cognitive function, lifestyle variables, cardiovascular risk factors and information about the version of haptoglobin each person carries.
Using these existing data, Dr. Guerrero-Berroa and colleagues plan to explore how blood sugar control (glycemic control), haptoglobin version and haptoglobin levels affect the rate of cognitive decline. These studies may help to identify people at a higher risk for cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. They may also lead to the development of targeted therapies to reduce cognitive decline in people with type 2 diabetes.