Dr. Hansen edits new book on metabolic syndrome

USF Health’s Barbara Hansen, PhD, professor of internal medicine and pediatrics, has co-edited a new book that provides an overview of the latest research on the Metabolic Syndrome, which has emerged as a major risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The Metabolic Syndrome: Epidemiology, Clinical Treatment and Underlying Mechanisms was edited by Hansen and colleague George Bray, MD, professor of medicine at Louisiana State University Medical Center. The book combines the viewpoints of epidemiologists, physiologists, molecular biologists, chemists and clinicians to promote new thinking about the underlying mechanisms of this challenging health problem and encourage new treatments and prevention.

“The topic of metabolic syndrome and prediabetes is very hot these days — particularly in light of the efforts to halt the epidemic of obesity and diabetes,” said Dr. Hansen, who directs USF Health’s Center for Preclinical Research, which combines obesity, diabetes and aging research.

Metabolic syndrome is an age-related cluster of metabolic disorders with key features including excess weight, disturbed glucose metabolism, an unhealthy lipid profile and high blood pressure. It frequently develops before the manifestation of overt Type 2 diabetes. The book’s editors prompt researchers to investigate ways to predict and interrupt the syndrome’s trajectory – what are the early and intermediate points of metabolic syndrome and how did the patient get there?

In the book’s final chapter “Chronomics of Metabolic Syndrome,” which she writes, Dr. Hansen discusses the continuing controversy over the definition of the metabolic syndrome and compares it to the story of “Stone Soup.”

“We are in the stage of adding ingredients to the Metabolic Syndrome soup pot,” she writes, with many new factors being identified as contributors. “Perhaps a recipe will emerge that will explain the sequence and importance of each contributory factor. Delineation and specification of processes and interactions may, after all, emerge to be a catalyst in improving our understanding of what is now blurry.”

Dr. Hansen’s long-term studies with rhesus monkeys have shown that lifetime calorie restraint to prevent obesity is the most powerful way to reduce age-related health problems such as high blood pressure and high triglycerides and to prevent or delay the progression of insulin resistance toward diabetes.

– Story by Anne DeLotto Baier/USF Health Communications