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News Release
Mobile, Ala. (September 28, 2010)
Contact: Ashley Givens, (251) 471-1682
Research Seeks To Improve Care For Critically-Ill Patients
Dr. Brian Fouty
Dr. Brian Fouty
Dr. Brian Fouty, associate professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, is currently in his second year of research funded by an American Heart Association grant. The two-year grant, which was originally awarded in July 2009, totals $165,000.

Dr. Fouty’s project is titled “Glucose 1 Transporter in Pulmonary Vascular Repair.” His research examines the mechanism through which high glucose - or blood sugar -- injures cells in the lung and whether blocking glucose entry can prevent this injury and speed recovery.

“Many patients who become critically ill develop an elevated glucose level in their blood, which is likely a reaction to the stress of illness,” Dr. Fouty said. “This occurs even in people who do not have diabetes.”

Dr. Fouty said studies show that well over 50 percent of critically ill patients have elevated glucose. He said previous studies suggest that this elevation in glucose is harmful to patients, increasing mortality and delaying recovery. “Clearly, increased blood glucose can delay recovery from lung injury,” Dr. Fouty said. “Currently, insulin is used to decrease glucose levels in critically ill patients, but this therapy has some adverse effects such as hypoglycemia - a condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too low.”

In this research project, Dr. Fouty is studying whether blocking glucose entry into cells - particularly, the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels in the lung - can prevent injury and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.

“We hope that by identifying the route of glucose uptake into these lung cells,” he said, “we can design better therapeutic strategies than insulin to block glucose entry and improve the chances of recovery in critically ill patients.”

Since 1949, the American Heart Association has spent more than $3.2 billion on research to increase knowledge about cardiovascular disease and stroke. AHA supports the development of beginning investigators and offers innovative funding mechanisms to stimulate research in promising areas of cardiovascular science. AHA currently funds about 2,500 scientists throughout the United States.

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Date last changed: September 28, 2010 1:31 PM