A new study to encourage weight loss and prevent diabetes

Professor Susan Davis

Professor Susan Davis

The purpose of the research project is to assess the effects of Metformin on women who have put on weight around their abdominal region but still have normal blood sugar levels.

Professor Susan Davis, Director of the Women’s Health Group at Monash University and principal researcher on the project said the study will look at the effects on insulin sensitivity, weight loss, cholesterol and other measures related to the potential risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“As women age, they have a tendency to put on weight, particularly around their abdominal region.

“Abdominal fat is different to fat in the buttocks and thighs and increased abdominal fat in women is associated with increased risk for the development of high blood pressure and diabetes. The loss of oestrogen at menopause enhances this central weight gain,” said Professor Davis.

The study will include 120 women, half of whom will be taking the active medicine, Metformin. The other half will take a placebo pill.

Unlike other drugs used to treat diabetes, Metformin does not cause low blood sugar and therefore it is very safe to use.

“Metformin is an incredibly safe drug to use. It has been around for 30 years and has a great safety profile. It’s safe and if we can show it is effective through this study it will really make a difference,” said Professor Davis.

“We are particularly interested in women in this research. When women hit midlife they experience a change in hormones. On average, women will increase their abdominal fat by about 20-40 per cent. Therefore, women at this age are a particular target for when we want to reverse fat accumulation.

“This is an interesting drug as it is now being looked at as a potential prevention and treatment for breast cancer and we are planning a new study on its impact on uterine cancer and it is also being looked at in other forms of cancers,” said Professor Davis.

This research is supported by the Bupa Health Foundation.

To enquire about this study email [email protected]

To find out more about the Women’s Health Group at Monash University visit http://womenshealth.med.monash.edu.au/