Science Profs Published in Neuroscience Journal

WILMORE, Ky. — Three Asbury University professors recently published a paper in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience: Basic and Clinical to share research that has implications for an increasingly prevalent disease: diabetes.

Dr. Don Burgess, Dr. Bobby Baldridge and Dr. David Randall conducted research in cooperation with several other scientists at the University of Kentucky and around the world to track the relationship between blood pressure and heart rate in a strain of rats that naturally develops Type 1 diabetes with age.

In humans, diabetes is closely associated with the development of disorders in the nerves that control the heart and circulation. Less is known, however, about the relationship between these nerve issues and changes in blood pressure and heart rate. By studying the changes in blood pressure and heart rate in the rats over the course of an entire year, the scientists were able to track the progression of changes.

“Perhaps a bit to our surprise, there were no statistically significant differences between the diabetic and control animals,” said Randall, an adjunct professor of human anatomy at Asbury and researcher at UK’s College of Medicine. “Humans with diabetes tend to have higher than normal blood pressure … but our data indicate that diabetes per se does not inevitably cause high blood pressure, at least over the time frame we examined.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, and if current trends continue, 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes by 2050. On average, medical expenses for a person with diagnosed diabetes are more than twice as much as the expenses of a person without diabetes.

“The federal organization that sponsored this project, the National Institutes of Health, is very anxious that basic research findings be translated into human, even clinical, applications,” Randall said.

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