A special focus in the past year was digitization. In order to make better use of the valuable health-relevant data provided by multicenter studies, cohorts, preclinical data and epidemiological long-term studies, the research organization has established the field of Bioinformatics and Data Management (DZD CONNECT). Using new information and communication technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, research on diabetes will enter a new dimension. The aim is to identify patterns (diabetes subtypes) in the data in order to be able to offer suitable personalized prevention and therapy measures in the future.
In its Annual Report, the DZD also presents research highlights from 2017: Scientists have been able to identify more than 50 new genes associated with metabolism. In addition to genetic causes, an unhealthy diet can also contribute to the development of diabetes. Studies by the DZD show that even one very high-fat meal can damage the metabolism and pave the way for fatty liver disease and diabetes. However, not only overweight people are affected by this metabolic disease. Researchers at the DZD have found that nearly 20 percent of slim people have a fat storage disorder in which fat is deposited not on the thighs and hips, but preferentially in the abdominal area. The consequences can be type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Type 1 diabetes is the most common metabolic disease in children and adolescents. DZD scientists are intensively researching this autoimmune disease. Current research indicates that the innate immune response plays a greater role in the disease than thought.
Further topics of the Annual Report are the international education and training program for young scientists, the expansion of the research infrastructure, highlights from our public relations work as well as current figures and data from the DZD.
The complete Annual Report 2017 is available online and for download at www.dzd-ev.de/en/latest/media-library/downloads