Diabetes Self-Help Group in Potsdam Visits DIfE

On April 5, 2017 members of the Potsdam self-help group (insulin pump users, people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes) of the German Diabetic Association LV Brandenburg e.V. visited the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE), a DZD partner, to inform themselves about the latest findings of diabetes research.

The scientists Dr. Wenke Jonas, Dr. Oliver Kluth and Dr. Heike Vogel from the Department of Experimental Diabetology first tested the visitors with the aid of a diabetes quiz to introduce the participants to the topic and gain an overview of their knowledge. For example, the scientists asked about the risk factors of type 2 diabetes or about the prevalence and incidence of diabetes in Germany.

Then the scientists informed the visitors about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and explained which late sequelae may be associated with both disorders. In addition, the visitors were given detailed information about the hormone insulin – how it works, and why being overweight or obese causes the body cells to stop responding (insulin resistance) and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The researchers and visitors also discussed how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes and what role genetic disposition plays in the development of the disease. In this context, the scientists presented the research of their department to the guests as well as the translational, interdisciplinary multicenter projects of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD).

As a concluding highlight of the tour, they gave the visitors insight into their work in the lab and invited them to conduct experiments on their own. The guests subsequently isolated DNA, which they separated by means of an agarose gel, and compared insulin-producing Langerhans islets of healthy and diabetic mice under the microscope.