The programme officially kicked off this morning with the Opening Ceremony and Presidential Address.
I tuned in to online sessions throughout the day on:
Diet and Type 2 risk
How complicated is Type 1 Diabetes?
The #dedoc symposium - what we wish you knew and why
Rising Star Award recipient presentations
More on each of these below, and my personal reflections on today's conference takeaways.
Summary of the sessions I joined today
Diet and Type 2 diabetes risk
I tuned into a presentation as part of the "Diet: from plants to cans" session delivered by Annalisa Giosuè. She delivered an excellent and clear presentation, with good slides, looking at the evidence for links between consuming different animal based foods and type 2 diabetes risk.
I was glad to stay for the Q&A as this was probably the most insightful part. One of the questioners pointed out that the T2D risk overall is small and the dietary changes discussed don't make much different to an already small number, so while it's easy to get fixated on the results of the various foods they don't actually make much difference. The presenter seemed to agree.
How complicated is Type 1 Diabetes?
The next talk I tuned into was about findings from sub-Saharan Africa where a population of young people with Type 1 Diabetes were found to be atypical - they didn't present as classic Type 1s (they were insulin deficient and slim but didn't have antibodies) but they weren't Type 2 either.
I was really pleased to see the #ExeterDiabetes team involved in this project. A few years ago Exeter Diabetes research team were awarded funding to do work in Africa and over the years I have met some of the African research team talk about the work they are doing through my involvement in the Exeter Diabetes Public Patient Involvement Group.
It's good to see this research underway and hopefully this will ultimately mean that people get treatment that is better suited to them.
The #dedoc symposium - What we wish you knew and why
This panel session drew a crowd and was captivating and relatable from a patient perspective. It was pleasing to know that the room in Stockholm was full and after years of exclusion, the patient voice is not only permitted but actively welcomed at a major diabetes conference.
The panellists all spoke about their involvement in peer support and how it had adapted and changed to respond to the COVID lockdowns. There was representation from around the world but the common theme was: we need peer support, we spend the vast majority of our time with diabetes on our own, it's hard and other people with diabetes just get it!
There was also a plea to HCPs and researchers to acknowledge the benefit of diabetes peer support networks and to engage with them. We are here! Come and find us! Also - as the discussion moderator Renza pointed out, people aren't "hard to reach" or "disengaged" - you just haven't worked out the right way to connect with them yet. Keep trying! #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
Otherwise you can watch the whole symposium back online here.
Rising Stars - go Exeter!
At the end of the day the 4 recipients of the EASD 2022 Rising Star Awards gave presentations. I was excited to see #ExeterDiabetes represented again with two of the four award recipients from Exeter!
John Dennis talked about precision medicine in Type 2 diabetes. It was great to see him acknowledge that, among other things, it makes a difference if you are a man or a woman to the outcomes of various treatment types!
Matthew Johnson talked about how research into monogenic diabetes has led to broader insights into beta-cell autoimmunity. Exeter is a global leader in monogenic diabetes research and it offers free genetic testing to identify monogenic diabetes. Pretty great for a small city!
Personal reflections & takeaways
There's been a lot to take in today but from a personal point of view this is what I've come away with:
The importance of the patient voice - This has been a common theme across multiple discussions. People with diabetes are here and ready to engage! HCPs and researchers can benefit from genuine engagement with PWD.
The benefit of connecting with diabetes research close to home - I'm fortunate to live near a leading diabetes research centre and I've been involved with the PPI group for the last 4 years. If you're a PWD and interested in research I would encourage you to find out whether your local medical school/university has any diabetes research underway and if they have a PPI group. It's been a good way of getting an insight into the diabetes research world.
Speaker diversity has been great to see - I've spent my career in financial services which is still extremely male dominated. I've loved seeing lots of women presenting and leading sessions and all the different nationalities and backgrounds up at the podium.
FOMO! I'm missing a lot! - There's so much going on at the conference that what I see will only scratch the surface. I do wonder how professional researchers manage to keep up with what's going on in their fields without getting totally overwhelmed and missing important things.
That's it for today - back tomorrow for sessions on diabetes technology, giving birth with diabetes (been there, done that), and diabetes & climate change.