Olympian Gary Hall Jr. to Act as Spokesperson
During a cocktail reception and seminar at the Poltrona Frau showroom in Miami’s Design District that featured a lecture by the Honorable John Bruton, European Ambassador to the United States, on the status of European business in the southeastern United States, Dr. Camillo Ricordi, scientific director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, spoke briefly on a collaborative research partnership between DRI and the Università degli Studi di Milano, Faculty of Exercise Sciences (Facoltà di Scienze Motorie) in Milan, Italy.
The hypothesis developed by Livio Luzi, M.D., dean of the School of Exercise Sciences in Milan, and Dr. Ricordi is that physical exercise may have a role beyond improving insulin sensitivity, already well known in the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
The new theory, based on preliminary observations in patients in Milan and Miami, is that physical exercise also exerts a potent immunomodulatory effect, reducing the autoimmune response that in type 1 diabetes attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells. Positive results will have implications for many other autoimmune diseases beyond diabetes, such as psoriasis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
“Preliminary observations indicate that subjects with type 1 diabetes who follow a regular schedule of physical exercise and/or training have prolonged ‘honeymoon’ periods that can last over a decade and reduce or significantly lower insulin requirements,” explains Dr. Ricordi.
Also present at the event was Olympic champion Gary Hall, Jr., a South Beach resident who will serve as spokesman for the new international initiative. Hall, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes ten years ago, is a living example of how intense physical exercise can exert a positive effect in an autoimmune disease, allowing him to maintain insulin requirements of less than one-third the otherwise expected dose for a man his weight.