Friday, August 15, 2008

Role Of Obesity In Preeclampsia Studied At University Of Pittsburgh

“A plague of obesity in the United States already is known to increase the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. Now, an infusion of $6.4 million in grant support from the National Institutes of Health will enable researchers at the University of Pittsburgh-affiliated Magee-Womens Research Institute to investigate what role obesity may play in preeclampsia, a common complication of pregnancy that can be life-threatening for mother and baby. The grant is a renewal of funds originally awarded 14 years ago to support studies into the basic mechanisms of preeclampsia, but the focus on obesity is a new direction for research. ‘We know there is a strong relationship between pre-pregnancy obesity and preeclampsia, and at least a third of all pregnant women in the United States are obese,’ said Carl A. Hubel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and principal investigator of the project. "Our work represents the first multidisciplinary evaluation of the possible mechanisms of the disease process as it relates to obesity.’ Although obesity is often viewed as a cosmetic or character flaw, the disorder is linked to disturbances in vital metabolic processes ‘that are posing one of the greatest health threats in human history, said Dr. Hubel, who also is an associate investigator at the Magee-Womens Research Institute.”

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