Paradox of Progress: Environmental Origins of Diabetes

Wednesday | May 13, 2016
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM 
Quadrangle Club 
Robert Sargis delivers the 2016 Frizzell Family Memorial Lecture on environmental connections to the growing diabetes epidemic.

Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, and nontraumatic amputations, and is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease. Some estimates claim that by 2040, more than 600 million people worldwide will have diabetes. Further, diabetes disproportionately affects minority groups and the poor, and designing strategies to prevent its development are essential to addressing health disparities across the U.S.

While caloric excess, physical inactivity, and genetic susceptibility are key factors in diabetes development, over the last decade an expanding body of scientific evidence has begun to implicate exposure to environmental pollutants as well.  Additionally, exposure to environmental pollution varies  across the population, with the poor and disenfranchised often bearing a greater burden. As a result, a better understanding of the links between environment and diabetes can lead to more effective and equitable policy interventions.  Endocrinologist Robert Sargis will examine evidence of industry’s impact on our metabolisms and suggest ways to address this growing epidemic.

Read the student report 


Dr. Robert Sargis

Robert Sargis is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine’s Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. His laboratory studies the effects of environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals on metabolic function, aiming to change public policy to limit the harmful impact of environmental contaminants on human health.

Robert Sargis webpage   Science Life article

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