Triple Anniversary: International Diabetes Congress in Düsseldorf

From February 5-7, 2015, diabetes researchers and clinicians met for an interdisciplinary exchange in Düsseldorf. There, the 20th Annual Meeting of the North Rhine-Westphalian Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology was held jointly with the 30th Danube Symposium and the 10th Congress of the Central European Diabetes Association.

For the first time the annual meetings of the two professional societies were held jointly. Congress President Prof. Michael Roden, board member of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and scientific director of the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf (DDZ) welcomed in particular the international participants, who came from European countries of the Danube region and from the U.S.

At the international congress new developments were presented in the fields of diabetology and endocrinology. The topics included new approaches to prevention and treatment of diabetes, issues of health economics and current developments in endocrinology.

Basic research and clinical application
“Hot Topics in Diabetes” was the main theme of the symposium, which was organized in cooperation with the DZD. In the spirit of translational research of the DZD, the topics covered included both basic research and clinical application.
Professor Martin Hrabě de Angelis, speaker and member of the DZD board and director of the Institute of Experimental Genetics at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München, presented current research findings on the epigenetic effects in metabolic disorders. The studies in mice show that the lifestyle of the parents is passed on genetically to the offspring. Thus, a high fat diet leads to altered gene activity in the germ cells, which affects the next generation. Thus, in the development of type 2 diabetes, epigenetic mechanisms could be of great importance. 

Professor Werner Waldhäusl, former president of the Central European Diabetes Association, subsequently bridged the gap between theory and practice. He reported about the positive effects of a rehabilitation program for people with type 2 diabetes. As part of the intervention, calorie intake was reduced, physical activity increased and drug therapy optimized. By undertaking these measures, significantly more patients could be treated with diet alone or with oral antidiabetic drugs than at the beginning. For participants who continue to use insulin, the dose could be reduced.

Pulmonary fibrosis as a new diabetes-associated complication
Until just recently, the lung was far less in the focus with regard to diabetes-associated complications. Professor Peter Nawroth, medical director of the Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Heidelberg – an associate partner of the DZD – explained the possible associations between pulmonary fibrosis and diabetes. Elevated glucose concentrations lead to oxidative stress, which may in turn lead to pulmonary fibrosis. Fibroses not only play a role in the lung, but also in the liver. It has long been known that fatty liver disease, which may be associated with liver fibrosis, is also associated with diabetes.

The program of the session was moderated by the DZD scientist Professor Matthias Tschöp, director of the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München as well as Professor Matthias Blüher, director of the Obesity Clinic at Leipzig University Hospital.

The Congress was organized by the German Diabetes Center Dusseldorf, partner in DZD together with the North Rhine-Westphalian Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology and the Central European Diabetes Association.