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Can diabetes be prevented in the near future?
According to the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), there are around 500,000 new cases of diabetes every year. Today (on May 9, 2018) this year's Diabetes Congress of the German Diabetes Society (DDG) starts in Berlin under the motto "Science and clinical progress - together into the future". The DZD and other institutions will present the latest advances in diabetes research at the congress. Here are some important points.
The DZD team will present current highlights of their research work at the Diabetes Congress. These include new approaches to prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Among other things, a new immunotherapy is to prevent children and adolescents at risk from developing type 1 diabetes. The scientists are also presenting a new method of preventing type 2 diabetes that occurs as a result of obesity. A study showed that many overweight people are unable to achieve and maintain a body weight that is harmless to health. The new diabetes prevention is therefore aimed at a healthier form of overweight.
Fight type 1 diabetes before it develops
"Type 1 diabetes is the most common metabolic disorder in childhood and adolescence," reports the DZD in a press release to the Diabetes Congress. According to this, a misguided immune response against insulin is usually decisive at the beginning of the development of type 1 diabetes. A new immunotherapy is now to prevent the metabolic disease from breaking out.
How does the new immunotherapy work?
Children who are at increased risk of type 1 diabetes receive a small amount of insulin powder with a meal every day. According to the DZD, over time this trains the immune system to accept the body's own insulin. On May 12, at 11 a.m., the researchers will present the new immunotherapy for the first time at the congress.
Type 2 diabetes: New prevention through healthy obesity
The DZD reports that almost every third person in the world is obese. This also results in a steady increase in the associated diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. Even if most people are aware of the associated health risks, only some of those affected are able to achieve a safe weight and maintain it. The researchers have therefore developed a new prevention method that focuses on a healthier type of obesity.
Metabolically favorable obesity
The studies by the DZD have shown that many overweight people shy away from the required weight loss. For this reason, according to the experts, metabolically more favorable obesity is a worthwhile first therapeutic goal. With individually tailored preventive therapy, people who are at risk of developing diabetes due to obesity should achieve a condition that still counts as overweight, but is associated with fewer health risks.
Study as a basis
The basis for the new prevention is a study that was recently published in the scientific journal "The Lancet". This shows that a moderate weight loss is sufficient to achieve a metabolically more favorable state that poses fewer risks of illness. This transition can be supported by life interventions. This includes, for example, changing the diet to Mediterranean diets, which have been shown to bring cardiovascular benefits regardless of body fat.
Unhealthy nutrition changes the genome
The DZD refers to current studies that show that unhealthy nutrition can change important switching points in the genome. These changes can even be passed on to the next generation. At the congress, the researchers will report on the epigenetic changes that can lead to obesity and diabetes.
The new prevention approaches and therapies from basic research are aimed at personalized medical strategies that require detailed knowledge of genetics and metabolic pathways. A complex interplay of genetic, nutritional and motivational aspects should curb the disease. (vb)