The German Society for Epidemiology (DGEpi) has named Manuela Neuenschwander first place winner of the Stephan Weiland Award 2020. The young scientist from the Institute for Biometry and Epidemiology at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) received the award for her research on the influence of diet on the risk of type 2 diabetes, which was published in the renowned British Medical Journal (BMJ) under the title "Role of diet in type 2 diabetes incidence: umbrella review of meta-analyses of prospective observational studies“.
In this systematic review, Neuenschwander and her colleagues showed that diet plays a major role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. In particular, a high consumption of whole-grain products, especially cereal fibers, and a lower consumption of sugary beverages and red meat, especially processed meat, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, the research team also found that there is still uncertainty about the validity of the results for many other associations. Thus, the work also provided important insights into where research is still needed.
"The insights gained from this review support the development of evidence-based nutritional guidelines for diabetes prevention. Through her work, Neuenschwander has made a significant contribution to these findings and the high quality of the publication," said Dr. Sabrina Schlesinger, head of the junior research group Systematic Reviews at the Institute for Biometry and Epidemiology at the DDZ. The first-place Stephan Weiland Award, endowed with 1,000 euros, is bestowed each year to young researchers by the DGEpi for outstanding publications in epidemiology. "This was not only an excellent research achievement from the DDZ, but also represents an important step in the direction of precision medicine in terms of a targeted lifestyle change to prevent type 2 diabetes," said Professor Michael Roden, scientific director and chairman of the board of the DDZ.
After receiving her Bachelor of Science in “Nutrition and Dietetics” at the Berne University of Applied Sciences, Department Health in Switzerland, Manuela Neuenschwander completed her Master’s degree in “Human Nutrition” at the University of Bonn. Since 2017 she has been working as a research assistant and doctoral candidate in the junior research group Systematic Reviews at the Institute for Biometry and Epidemiology of the DDZ. As part of her research, she is concerned with the systematic review of the latest scientific findings on the influence of diet on the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and evaluates their significance.
Neuenschwander M, Ballon A, Weber KS, Norat T, Aune D, Schwingshackl L & Schlesinger S, 2019. Role of diet in type 2 diabetes incidence: umbrella review of meta-analyses of prospective observational studies. BMJ. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2368