71st Annual Scientific Meetings, American Diabetes Association
I am finally getting around to writing about the exciting meeting that I and my son went to in San Diego. The convention center there is very impressive for its size, its design and its location on the water and close to the Gaslight District. Unfortunately we were only there for two days of the 5 day meeting, but were able to absorb an atmosphere of international intense interest in the causes, treatment and cures of this worldwide and growing affliction. The catalogue of lectures and conference is quite a tome. That is not counting the book of abstracts that summarize thousands of scientific investigations and projects. There were poster sessions some of which were accompanied by the investigators themselves explaining the area of science that they were interested in. They were advancing the understanding of this diseae that I and my patients share. There were thousands of persons there toshare their knowledge. You could hear deep conversations between scientists and clinical persons about areas of Diabetes in which they were involved. The different companys that make supplies for diabetes were there also showing the latest meters, insulins, oral medications and educational materials and techniques. There also were many persons who treat Diabetes every day there. A meeting like this can get me very excited about what I do and motivates me to keep doing it.
To get to new things that impressed us while we attended the meeting:
A new ultra long acting Insulin is in the works called DEGLUDEC by NOVO. NOVO makes Novolog and Levemir Insulins. This new Insulin can reliably be given once a day and reduces risk of low blood sugars. Novo has been looking for a more consistent long acting Insulin and this may be it.
A positive development under Late Breaking Clinical Studies demonstrated a big step to advance the progress in loss of vision due to diabetic Macular Edema. A drug called ranibizumab which is anti VEGF. This is a growth factor that causes swelling of the center of vision. It is a common cause of vision loss. Standard treatment with laser can slow the process down but not restore vision. With this drug injected into the eye with macular edema, 63% of patients recovered at least 20/40 vision and were able to drive once again. This is a major functional improvement and this will be a new standard therapy.
Many abstracts were published about cardiovascular risk in both Diabetes type1 and 2. There are the know risk factor of high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, family history. There are new techniques and tests to screen for risk of heart attakc and stroke as well. These included measuring inflammation in the arteries, the thickness of the artery wall, ultrafaswt CT scanning of the heart for calcium deposits, and analyzing cholesterol levels in a more detailed way.