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Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) at the Leicester Diabetes Centre - Background and research Themes 

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The Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) (ll-dlpa-bru) is based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC) at the General Hospital.  It is a unique partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. It brings together a diverse group of international experts dedicated to contributing to the long-term health of the nation by targeting a vital but underutilised therapy - lifestyle.

 

Background 


Over the Last couple of decades we have witnessed unprecedented levels of many chronic diseases, particularly Type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. On a global level these chronic diseases now account for more death and disability than infectious diseases and have resulted in a huge economic burden to society and national health care systems.


Fundamentally, Type 2 diabetes and other related chronic diseases are caused by modern industrialised environments, where high-fat high-calorie processed foods are omnipresent and the need for purposeful physical activity has been all but engineered out of daily life. Modern society is therefore characterised by high levels of obesity and near universal sedentarism.

Consequently, developing effective lifestyle interventions aimed at the prevention and treatment of chronic disease is fundamental to successfully tackling this ever-burgeoning health care problem. However, all to often within routine clinical care, lifestyle is only paid lip service; the main focus of preventative and treatment strategies continues to revolve around pharmacotherapy.

Although there are several explanations for this, at the core is the unavoidable fact that lifestyle has traditionally lacked the investment in translational research that has typified pharmaceutical interventions, meaning clinicians and health care commissioners lack the ability provide tailored evidence-based lifestyle therapies to their patients. Therefore, radical action is needed if the current epidemic of chronic disease is to be stemmed.
 

Our BRU will work towards redressing this imbalance, and establish excellence in experimental lifestyle research aimed at developing innovative approaches to promoting a healthy lifestyle in the optimisation of the prevention and management of chronic disease. This will be achieved through two research themes

 

Research Theme 1 

Cycling

Our first theme is aimed at targeting priority areas of research within the full spectrum of movement research, from sitting-related sedentary behaviour to vigorous-intensity physical activity. For example, we are investigating whether simply enabling people to sit less and stand more throughout their daily lives is effective at reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. If found to be effective, this may provide an alternative approach to promoting health in individuals who are unable or unwilling to undertake purposeful exercise. Theme 1 will also target the opposite end of spectrum by utilising short bursts of high intensity aerobic exercise as a therapeutic tool to improve metabolic health.
 

Research Theme 2

Food


Our second theme will complement the first theme by concentrating on specific aspects of obesity management and treatment through the role of lifestyle factors and nutrition and their combinations in appetite regulation, weight management and metabolic health. This will include investigating how physical activity and diet can be used to control appetite and promote weight loss through influencing the role of gut-hormones and other satiety signals. We will also investigate how lifestyle can be used to augment bariatric surgery in the treatment of extreme obesity. 
 

 

Follow our research 


We have a dedicated website where you can follow our research and find out more about what we are currently doing. Link to the 
 

 

Getting Involved


If you would like to get involved with the BRU or just want to know more please register using the contact form by following the link.