Diabetes Update - American Diabetes Association 2006

Medical Author: Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

The American Diabetes Association's (ADA) annual 66th Scientific Sessions were recently held in Washington DC. The meeting brought close to 18,000 health professionals together to discuss issues related to diabetes (type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes), prediabetes , metabolic syndrome, and other related disease processes. Topics of interest ranged from trying to understand the pathophysiology of disease (what happens in the body that causes diabetes to develop) to new ways to prevent and treat diabetes including both pharmacotherapy with drugs, and with lifestyle intervention.

The interesting thing about the ADA annual meeting is that many different types of health care providers attend the meetings -- MDs, PhDs, researchers, nutritionists, educators, nurses, and community health workers. Each of these professional groups make a commitment to work together to help treat and prevent diabetes. A team approach is really the only way to attempt to conquer diabetes, which at present affects about 20 million of us in the U. S. alone.

While some of the science presented at symposia was novel and very exciting, particularly advances in beta cell preservation and transplantation (beta cells are the cells that produce insulin) ,I would like to focus on some of the newer therapies that were discussed at the ADA meeting, and tell you about what's up-and-coming in the realm of treatment for diabetes. For the sake of length, I've chosen 3 topics I think will be interesting for the majority of readers: glucose sensors, a new class of drugs called DPP-IV inhibitors and inhaled insulin.