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Diabetes UK Professional Conference news round-up


Our Professional Conference has just drawn to a close. It was an action packed three days, where more than 3,000 healthcare professionals and researchers got together to share the latest diabetes knowledge and science. 

These are some of the big news stories that broke during that time.

A spotlight on DIRECT and Type 2 diabetes remission

The latest findings of our Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) revealed that more than a third (36%) of people with Type 2 diabetes who took part in the weight management programme are in remission two years later. Of those in remission after one year, 70% stayed in remission.  

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, our Director of Research, said:

“Remission of Type 2 diabetes can be life changing. DiRECT offers one potential solution, we are committed to working with the researchers and the NHS to ensure these exciting findings reach people with Type 2 diabetes as soon as possible”. 

Remission was shown to be closely linked to weight loss: two thirds of those who lost 10 kilos or more in remission after two years. Understanding why significant weight loss results in remission of Type 2 diabetes is at the heart of DiRECT. And the DiRECT team announced new findings at our Professional Conference that begin to shine a light on the biology behind remission.

They discovered that beta cells begin working again in people in remission of Type 2 diabetes. The insulin-producing capacity of their pancreas is also restored to normal levels – similar to those in people who had never been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. DiRECT researchers further found that study participants who were in remission had lost a significant amount of fat from their pancreas and the organ had increased in size. 
In light of this growing body of evidence, we produced a new Information Prescription on remission. We hope that this new tool will help healthcare professionals to provide evidence-based information about what remission is, how it might be possible for some and dispel some myths. 

Deprivation has a negative impact on the health of people with Type 1 diabetes

Our researchers at the University of Edinburgh revealed health inequalities between people with Type 1 diabetes depending on where they live. They analysed health records for all people with Type 1 diabetes in Scotland (totalling more than 30,000) over a 12 year period. 
The team found that people with Type 1 diabetes living in the most deprived areas of Scotland had higher blood glucose levels than people from the least deprived areas. 

Dr Elizabeth Robertson said:

“This research gives us crucial insights into how, and some indicators as to why, blood glucose control varies across different people with Type 1 diabetes. This vital evidence helps to identify where support is most needed, so we can help everyone to live well with their Type 1 diabetes.” 

Weight loss surgery could reduce the risk of heart disease in people with Type 2 diabetes

Weight loss surgery could protect against some of the serious complications of Type 2 diabetes. New research showed that people with Type 2 diabetes who had weight loss surgery were around 70% less likely to develop dangerous types of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks and amputations.

The research team at the University of Nottingham compared 131 people who had weight loss surgery with 579 similar people who had not, and looked at their health over 10 years. 

It won’t be suitable for everyone, but these new findings add further weight to the potential benefits of this treatment for people with Type 2 diabetes.

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