Alan M. Jacobson, MD, chief research officer at NYU Winthrop Hospital, has received a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), totaling $4,232,222, to study the long-term neurocognitive impact of type 1 diabetes on individuals with the condition. The grant, entitled “The Effects of Biomedical Risk Factors on Neuro-cognition Using MRI: Long term Follow-up of the Diabetes Control & Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study Cohort,” will run through 2022. The purpose of the grant is to determine the long-term impact of type 1 diabetes on brain function.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus affects over 1,250,000 Americans who are at risk of developing microvascular and cardiovascular complications that are a major cause of morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. As part of the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study, which has followed individuals who have had diabetes for over 30 years to determine how standard versus intensive therapy affects complications from diabetes, this study will examine the important and unresolved questions about the frequency and causes of brain structure and thinking process problems using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques and cognitive testing.
“NYU Winthrop Hospital has made a major commitment to the expansion of research on the causes and consequences of diabetes,” said Dr. Jacobson, principal investigator of the study. “This research has strong connections to other areas of clinical care and investigations being carried out here. I am very enthusiastic about this opportunity to apply my three decades of research experience to NYU Winthrop’s ambitious research mission, which is focused on some of today’s most urgent healthcare challenges.”
The grant will allow Dr. Jacobson and his colleagues to study the effects of type 1 diabetes on brain structure and thinking processes, especially among the growing population of older patients who are at greatest risk for these potential complications. The study will allow an unparalleled opportunity to use blood sugar control and other information gathered over a 30 year period from early in the course of illness, among this group of patients to examine important and unresolved questions about the frequency and causes of these problems using MRI techniques and cognitive testing.
By achieving these aims, Dr. Jacobson and his fellow researchers will determine key predictors of neurocognitive impairments and guide strategies to mitigate this risk, and address a topic of considerable concern, for which little definitive information is available to clinicians and patients, particularly those with long-standing type 1 diabetes who are over 50 years of age.
“Patients have increasing concerns about the extent to which diabetes can influence cognitive ability and brain functioning as they enter the age of greatest risk for impairment,” said Dr. Jacobson. “This study can help determine whether these effects occur and help identify modifiable risk factors that can be addressed by proper treatment.”
Dr. Jacobson received his medical degree from University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He has been chief research officer of NYU Winthrop Hospital since February 2010.
For more than a century, NYU Winthrop Hospital’s culture has been shaped by an ever-deepening commitment to integrating the highest quality patient care services with dynamic medical education programs and rigorous research initiatives.