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WVU receives federal money for diabetes research

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West Virginia University has received nearly $322,000 from the federal government for diabetes research that could lead to better treatment and management of the disease that affects many West Virginians.

The $321,900 will be used to study microparticles to help diagnose and treat diabetes-associated complications. This could lead to better ways to predict risk and severity of vascular complications from diabetes and the efficacy of diabetic therapies. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., applauded the award, saying it could change the outcomes for the 16 percent of West Virginians currently battling the disease.

"This investment in diabetes research is about making sure our kids and adults can live healthier lives once they are diagnosed with diabetes," Rockefeller said. "West Virginia University now has the potential to dramatically change the health outcomes for thousands of West Virginians currently living with diabetes."

Manchin said the grant allows West Virginia to be a leader in the nation's education and medical fields.

"Investing in research opportunities that focus on the health of West Virginians and all Americans is important as we continue to promote a better future for ourselves and for the next generation," Manchin said. "I am proud that this critical research is being done in our great state."

According to wvdiabetes.org, an estimated 256,500 West Virginia adults had diabetes in 2008 and 85,500 patients were undiagnosed. Since 1995, diabetes has been among the top causes of death in adults across the state. In West Virginia, the highest instances of diabetes occur among seniors, low-income adults, veterans and African-Americans.