RIT conducts clinical trial on metabolic syndrome

RIT and Rochester Regional Health recruit participants

Rochester Institute of Technology is seeking individuals diagnosed with metabolic syndrome to participate in a national clinical trial. The study will evaluate a wellness program designed to reverse conditions leading to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke.

RIT’s Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition is one of five national sites that will evaluate the Enhanced Lifestyles for Metabolic Syndrome program developed by Rush University Medical Center.

RIT is partnering with Rochester Regional Health to recruit 120 individuals for the study who have three of the following conditions that contribute to metabolic syndrome—high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and triglyceride levels, low HDL (“healthy”) cholesterol and a large waistline.

The two-year study is open to individuals 18 or older who do not have a history of heart disease, stroke or Type 2 diabetes. Individuals will be compensated for participating in the study.

The clinical trial will begin in January and focus on physical activity, nutrition and chronic stress. The study will evaluate how well the lifestyle program helps individuals identify, form and maintain healthy habits.

As a partner site, RIT will receive a $1 million grant to evaluate the lifestyle management program for Rush University Medical Center. The William G. McGowan Charitable Foundation awarded the Chicago-based university $9 million to support the national study. The clinical trial will be held at Rush University, University of Colorado-Denver, Geisinger Clinic in Danville, Pa., RIT and University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

RIT’s grant will enable the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition to fill new staff positions, hire student researchers and collaborate with RRH, according to Barbara Lohse, head of RIT’s Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition and project lead. Kerry Graff, M.D., Rochester Regional Health Clinical Collaborator, is a co-principal investigator, along with Daniel Ornt, M.D., dean/vice president of RIT’s College of Health Sciences and Technology.

“The ELM (Enhanced Lifestyles for Metabolic Syndrome) study allows us to offer a service to the community,” Lohse said. “Part of the Wegmans School mission is to provide health-based services and to utilize the expertise that we have in nutrition, physical activity and behavior and have it apply to people in the community.”

The study will evaluate the effectiveness of the lifestyle program. Participants will be randomly assigned to the self-directed or group-based sections of the study. All participants will receive access to the same tools and information to help them increase physical activity, eat healthy and manage stress:

  • Nutrition and health education;
  • A Fitbit; and
  • Blood work and feedback on lab results.

To learn more about the Enhanced Lifestyles for Metabolic Syndrome program, go to the ELM trial website, email ELM@rit.edu or call 585-475-5320.

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