ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia graduate student Melissa Lynn Erickson discovered that exercise can help people with Type 2 diabetes and not for a reason you would think.

The solution was exercise — specifically the treadmill located in the Kinesiology lab on UGA’s campus.

“The role that exercise can play is that exercise and other factors may actually enhance glucose treatment,” said Professor Kevin McCully, Erickson’s advisor.

Exercise helped enhance the metformin that doctors routinely gave to participants to help with their symptoms. Participants sat in one of the lab rooms, ate waffles with syrup, and followed their meals with a dose of exercise in the lab room next door.

“It’s really important to understand how exercise and medications work together on influencing specific disease outcomes,” Erickson said.

The purpose exercise fulfilled uncovered that metformin was not helpful to participants.

“What we’ve learned, which is rather surprising to us, is that metformin doesn’t work that well,” McCully said.

Erickson will continue to further her study, and the first phase of this study should be published by Fall 2016. She said the reason she studied diabetes was because of high impact research.

“We want to do research that is going to positively influence society,” Erickson said.

Professor McCully looked forward to seeing Erickson’s results of the rest of her study.

“I have a sneaky suspicion that the response to exercise will different in these two groups,” McCully said.

Erickson said she was ready to take this study to the next level because it has the potential to influence lives.

By Kaitlin Long

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