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Non-communicable Diseases Research Unit


 
 


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Current Projects 

Historical perspective
The Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit (NCDRU) was formed in 2013 during the revitalization of the South African Medical Research Council. The unit was established by merging three existing units which were previously conducting research in different areas of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and by attracting additional staff from other units affected by the revitalization process. The three units merged to form the NCDRU were:

  1. The Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Research Unit (CDL)
  2. The Diabetes Discovery Platform (DDP)
  3. The National Collaborative Research Programme on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases (NCRP CV&MD)
Current primary projects - click to view information

Project title

Short description

Principle Investigator

NCDRU investigators

1.

Utilizing HIV/AIDS infrastructure as a gateway to chronic care for hypertension in Africa

Investigating the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of chronic non-communicable disease risk factors, particularly hypertension, in patients attending HIV-treatment centres in the Western Cape Province of South Africa

Mobile phone text messages to support hypertension treatment adherence in adults attending HIV treatment centres in the Western Cape Province of South Africa: a pilot study

Andre P. Kengne

Anniza de Villiers
Nasheeta Peer
Muyunda Buwa
Erica April

2.

The South African Diabetes Prevention Programme (SA-DPP)

The overall purpose of this project to develop and evaluate a culturally-relevant model of diabetes prevention programme for South Africa, using evidence from successful diabetes prevention effectiveness and implementation programmes. Our expectations are to arrive at a model that will inform lifestyle interventions to prevent diabetes and other lifestyles related conditions at primary health care level in South Africa, and serves as a prototype for adaptation in other countries in the region that are confronted to similar challenges like South Africa.

Andre P. Kengne

Julia Goedecke
Nasheeta Peer
Jillian Hill
Erica April

3.

Cape Town vascular and metabolic health Project

The overall purpose of this programme of research is to establish a population-based cohort, backed up by adequate biorepository, in order to quantify and track the burden of cardio-metabolic diseases in mixed-ancestry South Africans in Cape Town, with a particular focus on the role of emerging risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases.

Andre P. Kenge

4.

Dietary patterns and dietary quality of 6–24 month old South African children

The aim of this study is to assess dietary patterns in relation to energy/nutrient intakes and nutritional quality in terms of nutrient adequacy, nutrient density and dietary diversity in 6 – 24 month old South African children of low socio-economic status.

Mieke Faber

5.

Mechanisms underlying insulin resistance in obese black SA women: Lessons from an exercise intervention. 

This study measures changes in insulin sensitivity and secretion in response to a 12-week exercise intervention in obese black SA women. Determinants of change include ectopic fat deposition; skeletal muscle and adipose tissue mitochondrial function, gene and protein expression; metabolomics and lipidomics; substrate metabolism, dietary intake, fitness and habitual physical activity. Funding: National Research Foundation Competitive Programme for Rated Researchers.

Julia Goedecke

Cindy George

6.

Non-Communicable disease risk in black South Africans: dissecting the role of glucocorticoids. 

This study aims to gain genetic insight into the variation in the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis in a black population and to understand the physiological consequences of this variation and associations with NCD risk. Funding: Academy of Medical Sciences, Newton Advanced Training Fellowship, in collaboration with Prof B Walker, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Julia Goedecke

7.

Identification of metabolic pathways that predict type 2 diabetes in black South African women.

This study aims to identify metabolites and/or metabolic pathways that predict progression to impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes in black South African women, and to determine whether these metabolites/metabolic pathways are modified by lifestyle factors, including diet, physical activity and socioeconomic status. Funding: Swedish Development Grant, in collaboration with Prof Tommy Olsson, University of Umeå, Sweden.

Julia Goedecke

8.

Determinants of type 2 diabetes risk in middle-aged black South African men and women: dissecting the roles of sex hormones, inflammation and glucocorticoids.

The study aims to examine the changes in sex hormone levels over the menopausal transition in women, and in men of the same age, and explore the effects on body fat distribution and insulin sensitivity and secretion, dissecting the specific roles of glucocorticoids and inflammatory mediators, in the context of HIV. Funding: GSK/Newton/SAMRC.

Julia Goedecke

Andre P. Kenge

9.

Essential fatty acid status of pre-school children and women with distinct eating patterns in South Africa

Investigating the essential fatty acid status of (i) pre-school children in relation to lipid profile, anthropometry and dietary intake, and (ii) women in relation to lipid profile, waist:height ratio, obesity and dietary intake in four geographical areas (2 urban, 2 rural) with distinct eating patterns in South Africa.

Paul van Jaarsveld

Lize van Stuijvenberg
Mieke Faber

10.

An epidemiological study on the anthropometric status and liver intake (an exceptionally rich source of preformed vitamin A) in under-5 children in the Northern Cape province.

The aim is  (i) to  identify pockets where the prevalence of stunting is high, and (ii)  to establish how widespread liver consumption (and hence vitamin A intake from liver) in the young children of this province is.

Lize van Stuijvenberg

11.

Total body vitamin A pool size in preschool children before and after vitamin A supplementation in an impoverished South African community where liver is frequently eaten and children exposed to vitamin A fortified staple foods.

This study is part of a multi-country regional study, coordinated by the IAEA, which aims to assess total body vitamin A (as measured by stable isotope dilution), as well as risk of toxicity, in populations exposed to multiple vitamin A interventions.

Lize van Stuijvenberg

12.

Cardiovascular Risk in Black South Africans (CRIBSA) Study

This study, which previously examined the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in the black population of Cape Town, now aims to determine the biochemical and genetic markers, genes and level of renal impairment associated with these CVD risk factors.

Nasheeta Peer

Andre P. Kenge

Current secondary projects (NCDRU staff as co-investigators)

 

Project title

Project description

Co-Investigator

1.

The Helti SA-Can Project

Aims: 1) Evaluate the efficacy of a package of “nurturing care” interventions delivered across pre-conception through infancy on the health and development of children; 2) To Conduct process and economic evaluations of the intervention; 3) Create a unique data and bio-repository resource to explore mechanisms, develop predictive algorithms, and identify novel intervention targets

Andre P. Kengne

2.

Randomized controlled trial comparing the impact of complementary food products on child growth

This study investigates the effects of small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements on linear growth, psychomotor development, anaemia, essential fatty acids, iron status and morbidities in infants from 6 to 12 months of age.

Mieke Faber

3.

Sustainable diets in Vaalharts:
linking nutrition, consumption patterns and land use

This study aims to explore the sustainability of diets of households in Valspan in the Vaalharts region by linking nutrition, consumption patterns and land use (in terms of land requirements).

Mieke Faber

4.

SPAR rural hub model nutrition study baseline survey

Baseline study for a project that assesses the effect of improved supply of locally grown vegetables into local stores in combination with a nutrition behaviour change communication campaign on consumption of fresh produce by women in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

Mieke Faber

5.

The development, implementation and evaluation of the impact of a lifestyle intervention for overweight/obese primary school educators at selected schools within the Western Cape Province, South Africa.

This study aims to develop, implement and evaluate the impact of a lifestyle intervention aimed at reducing total energy intake and improving food choices and levels of physical activity in overweight/obese primary school educators in the Western Cape Province.

Mieke Faber
Fatima Hoosen

6.

The effects of an aspalathin-enriched unfermented rooibos extract on cardio-metabolic risk factors in obese black South African women.

The primary aim of the study is to identify indigenous plants endemic to the Northern KwaZulu Natal area, and produce standardized bioactive extracts or fractions with health properties that have been shown to be effective at preventing or ameliorating metabolic conditions related to IR and T2D. The secondary aim is to compare the efficacy of the most effective extract(s) produced to an aspalathin-enriched rooibos extract, which will be the benchmark in terms of bioactivity. A tertiary aim will be to understand the mechanism of action of the effective extract and ensure its effectiveness and safety using cell and animal models and finally to test the efficacy of the selected extract in an obese black African women. Funding: SAMRC

Julia Goedecke

7.

The effect of diet on beta cell functional mass in the aging Vervet monkey pancreas.

Elucidate the mechanisms underlying the role of a long-term, high-fat diet on age-associated deterioration of pancreatic beta cell functional mass in Vervet monkeys that models inter alia cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Paul van Jaarsveld

8.

Rape Impact Cohort Evaluation (RICE) Study

This study aims to examine the development of CVD risk factors in a cohort of rape survivors and to compare this with a rape-unexposed cohort.

Nasheeta Peer
Andre P. Kenge

9.

Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) Study

This international study includes sites in the Cape and aims to assess the relative contributions of societal influences on individual lifestyle choices of diet and activity, and on risk factor levels, obesity, diabetes and CVD. The societal factors are measured by four domains of interest i.e. built environment, nutrition policy, psychosocial/socioeconomic factors and tobacco use.

Nasheeta Peer

10.

The Street Food Project

The aim of this study was to develop a sustainable SFVM (street food vending model) for selling healthy and safe street foods in the City of Cape Town, enabling street food vendors to make a decent living (income), and consumers to make healthy choices regarding food purchasing.

Jillian Hill

 

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Last updated:
2 August, 2017
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