Highlights from the American Diabetes Association 78th Scientific Sessions

The Monarch team attended the American Diabetes Association 78th  Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida at the end of June. The annual conference highlighted new ideas and significant advances in diabetes research, treatment, and care. While multiple sessions were covered and new studies were released, two major themes emerged at this year’s event— action to address diabetes care is now needed more than ever and the importance of personalized treatment is key.

During her Presidential Address, Jane E.B. Reusch, MD, American Diabetes Association President, Medicine & Science, called for members to act. “Diabetes is out of control,” said Dr. Reusch. “We cannot accept that trajectory. We have to change that curve.”

According to Dr. Reusch, diabetes is responsible for a stroke every 2 minutes, an ischemic cardiac event every 80 seconds, kidney failure every 10 minutes, lower limb amputation every 5 minutes, and a death every 6.5 minutes. In comparison, the current opioid epidemic claims a life every 52 minutes yet receives far more attention than diabetes.

Even though the burden of diabetes is staggering, there is hope. As the conference made clear, technology will be influential in managing and addressing the needs of patients with diabetes.

With less than 25% of patients with diabetes seeing specialists, instead relying on primary care physicians or other healthcare professionals who may not have satisfactory training in diabetes care, technology will help fill this void.

In a session on online and mobile support, Senior Editor at and Head of Diabetes Technology & Digital Health at Close Concerns, Adam Brown stated that he anticipates “technology adoption will rise as new generations of apps and connected devices bring more advanced capabilities and more personalized support to diabetes patients.”

David Fedele, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida, another speaker during that session, noted that personalization in technology application is incredibly important. He stated, “technology has evolved toward adaptive and more automatized apps that use personalized algorithms to provide feedback.” Personalization within algorithms is leading to improved glucose management, which providers using EndoTool can certainly attest to.

This concept of personalization didn’t stop there. During this year’s conference, the ADA and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) released the first public draft of a new consensus report on managing hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes, which emphasized personalized care based on the patient.

Overall, with the wealth of new research, guidelines and technology highlighted at the American Diabetes Association 78th Scientific Sessions, today’s providers have more tools at their disposal than ever before. But as we take action against this growing epidemic, this year’s Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award recipient, Jackie L. Boucher, MS, RDN, reminded all attendees, “Our decisions should always be patient-centered.” As Boucher proclaimed, “If we keep the patient at the center and we never stop being diligently curious about identifying barriers and removing them, we will improve the quality of life and outcomes for people with diabetes.”

Relevant Research from the 78th Scientific Sessions:

  • Doctors may begin to develop clinical inertia and fail to make adjustments to treat diabetes as aggressively as needed for patients with type 2 diabetes Abstract
  • Gestational diabetes increased from 4.6% in 2006 to 8.2% in 2016 based on data gleaned from National Health Interview Survey Abstract
  • Insulin process have been on the rise and too many patients are not able to pay for adequate supplies Abstract
  • Surgical patients with type 2 diabetes benefit from inpatient and post-discharge treatment involving exenatide therapy in combination with basal insulin to safely and effectively manage blood glucose Article
  • Intensified, multifactorial treatment combining lifestyle modification and pharmacological therapy for modifiable type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk factors, did not significantly increase medical costs, compared to patients who receive conventional, multifactorial treatment Article