As was reported by the Portland Press Herald in an article on March 31st, Maine is one of 20 sites that has been chosen to participate in a nationwide medical study that will examine the relationship between Vitamin D and diabetes. The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, is a large-scale $40 million endeavor that will work to determine whether Vitamin D can prevent Type 2 diabetes.
The Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough is currently seeking 600 to 700 who are possibly at risk for becoming diabetic to agree to take part in the study. Participants will be asked to tae either a Vitamin D pill or a placebo pill, and in addition may be asked to have their blood drawn. The clinical trial at the Scarborough research center will be among the largest to ever be held in Maine, with Maine Medical Center being given a $1.6 million budget to conduct the process and analyze the findings.
The study will take over a year to complete with participants being followed-up with screenings every six months to see if they went from being at risk of diabetes to having the disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of Mainers with diabetes has doubled since the mid-1990's, and furthermore, Type 2 diabetes is the more common form found among our state's residents.
Per the Portland Press article, within the ongoing research and studies on diabetes, the working medical theory is that Vitamin D helps the body produce insulin. Diabetics have a difficult time producing insulin thus eventually requiring those with the disease to use insulin shots.
While the study will be focused primarily on those who are already at risk for diabetes, medical professionals believe that the findings could also be helpful in determining if Vitamin D can help slow the progression of the disease. In addition, doctors want to be clear that even if the study is effective and the results are conclusive, Vitamin D should not be used as an alternative for diet, exercise and leading a healthy life style as means to prevent diabetes.
The national research, called the "D2d" human clinical trial, will be led by Tufts Medial Center in Boston and will include thousands of participants from several states.
Those interested in learning more about participation in the study can call (207) 661-7624. The research institute is currently accepting applications from people who might be at risk for Type 2 diabetes. For more information please visit: www.d2dstudy.org