NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2016

Director's Note

Photo of Dr. Griffen P. Rodgers in medical discussion with staff member

Recently, several youth marked their 10th year of participation in the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) study. For volunteer Malachi Gerke, 19, the study has been part of his routine for more than half his life. Originally this study looked at children, following them carefully to define risk factors associated with progression of chronic kidney disease, and examining cardiovascular, neurocognitive and growth issues.

As you can read about in this issue, now that many of these kids are young adults, the study continues to pursue these aims, in addition to considering genetic factors as participants grow.

Long-term, ambitious projects like CKiD are often the province of the National Institutes of Health, advancing our mission to improve public health over the lifespan. The time invested in these studies and consortia often result in new research opportunities that simply could not be harnessed any other way. For example, the Diabetes Prevention Program and its Outcomes Study, about 20 years into its research, can now examine the effects of metformin use from early in the study to see if it has any preventive effect on cardiovascular diseases or cancer now, as you can learn more about in this issue.

Watching these dynamic collaborations unfold over years of effort is a truly rewarding experience, as you’ll hear from NIDDK’s Dr. Robert Karp in this issue. He calls the development of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics Consortium—and the discoveries that followed over the past 13 years—among the most gratifying of his career.

In this issue, you can see many examples of the diverse ways in which NIH is "in it for the long haul," encouraging innovative research that may continue over decades to make a tangible improvement in the lives of the people we serve—which is to say, everyone.

In good health,
Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Follow NIDDK on Twitter @NIDDKgov

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