Diabetes Highlighted in the Research Tent at the “70th Anniversary of NRW” Event

“How can I tell if I have diabetes? Does coffee protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes? What is fatty liver?” – These were some of the questions visitors asked in the tent of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF) of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the DZD partner the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) in Düsseldorf. The visitors participated in intensive discussions with researchers about current developments, forms of treatment and approaches to preventive therapy in diabetes research. In a competition with their parents at a “reaction wall”, children were particularly skilled in reacting quickly.

NRW Research Minister Svenja Schulze in the tent of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF) showed enthusiasm for exercises such as “Socks Yoga”. Source: DDZ e.V.

In the hot, sunny weather during the event, NRW Research Minister Svenja Schulze, NRW Education Minister Sylvia Löhrmann and NRW Minister President Hannelore Kraft demonstrated how active they are. The test of hand grip strength: No problem for the two ministers and the minister president. In addition, they learned that a familial predisposition, lack of exercise and being overweight are the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes. That is why in addition to exercise, diet plays an important role in the prevention of diabetes. Wholegrain and fiber-rich foods, coffee, low-fat dairy products and green leafy vegetables protect against diabetes, but an unbalanced diet increases the disease risk, according to studies on type 2 diabetes. “The course of diabetes can be favorably influenced by a sensible life style,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Roden, member of the board of the DZD and scientific director and chairman of the board of the German Diabetes Center.

Currently, about 7.5 million people in Germany have diabetes – more than nine percent of all adults. Among the retired population, one in four people aged 80 years and older has type 2 diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous metabolic disorder, whose common feature is hyperglycemia (= elevated blood glucose level). Different factors underlie the pathogenesis and development of the disease, which the researchers at the DDZ are investigating jointly in an interdisciplinary network.

The characteristic feature of research at the DDZ is the linking of molecular and cell biological basic research with clinical and epidemiological research approaches. According to statistical studies, the incidence of diabetes in the population in Germany is increasing. In 2030, diabetes could be one of the seven leading causes of death worldwide. Therefore, together with partners from government, science and industry, the long-term objectives are to reduce the incidence of diabetes, to gain more knowledge through research about late complications related to diabetes such as nerve and organ damage, and to raise awareness in the population about the importance of a balanced diet and sufficient exercise for the prevention of diabetes.