First Look

UTech President Presents Lecture at the 21st World Diabetes Congress

University of Technology | 2012-01-10 14:43:00

Professor the Hon. Errol Morrison, OJ, President, University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) and world-renowned expert on diabetes presented a lecture entitled, “Genetics, Dietetics, Athletics & Diabetes: during the recently concluded  21st World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) held  from December 4 – 8, 2011in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Prof. Morrison’s lecture was delivered following his receipt of the prestigious 2011 Hellmut Mehnert UN/UNESCO Award for the Prevention of Diabetes and its Complications at the Congress.  Prof. Morrison was recognized for his “unique role in developing the epidemiological understanding and clinical care structures for diabetes in the Caribbean.”

His lecture expounded on the hypothesis that in addition to genetics, a diet rich in the steroids phytosterols and phytates which are derived from tuber crops, such as yams, may act as a stimulus for improved “anaerobic/sprint performance as well as increased muscle power.”  Prof. Morrison further posited that in addition to the introduction of these staples into the diet from an early age, the success of the athlete would also be dependent on formative and sustained involvement in a competitive training programme for the effective development of the said muscle mass, which he argues, may in part explain the Jamaican sprint success/phenomenon.  He also noted that “the possible role of phytosterols and phytates in influencing blood sugar levels must not be overlooked,” as research has shown that these steroids which are insulin resistant can also “act as a predisposing factor for diabetes mellitus” later in life.  President Morrison continues his research work in the area.
About the Hellmut Mehnert Award
Named in honour of the physician, researcher and teacher, Professor Hellmut Mehnert, MD of the University of Munich, the award recognizes major contributions to the knowledge and understanding of diabetes, its complications, their causes and their prevention.  Prof. Morrison is the only individual from the Caribbean Region and Central America to receive this distinguished award.  He shared the award with Prof. Hans-Ulrich Häring of the University of Tübingen, Germany who is internationally renowned for his clinical and scientific studies of insulin resistance and insulin action in human diabetes. 
Awardees are selected by an independent Award Committee advised by a Nominating Committee of internationally known diabetes experts.

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