EASD 2015 Presidential Address

Tuesday 15th September saw the Presidential address to congress of the  51st annual EASD meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. The ceremony included talks from Professor Bo Ahren, the chairman of the local organising committee for EASD 2015, and Professor Andrew Boulton, President of the EASD.

In his opening speech, Professor Ahren discussed the long, illustrious history of Diabetes research in Sweden, along with the country’s strong tradition of quality clinical care. Discussing its special consideration for children with Diabetes, and active dissemination of knowledge to those in need of it, Professor Ahren made sure it was evident why Stockholm was the chosen venue for 2015’s EASD meeting.

Professor Boulton’s final address before handing over the EASD presidency to Dr Juleen Zierath of the Karolinska Institut, Stockholm was one of celebration.

First congratulating the American Diabetes Association on the 75th edition of their annual Scientific Sessions, and the European Diabetes Epidemiology Group (EDEG) on their 50th year, Professor Boulton in the early portion of his speech discussed the shifting focus in Diabetes management throughout these time periods; in 1965 Diabetes was managed using urinalysis and random blood glucose tests, then in 1970 patients were expected to avoid ‘glycosuria’ at all costs and to follow a low carb, high protein diet (it seems we have almost come full circle on this one).

A key point addressed by Professor Boulton was on the increase in numbers of people with Diabetes, and how despite media attention focusing on the increase in Type-2 diagnosis, there has also been an increase in Type-1 Diabetes too. We ask the question here though whether the increase is down to more people ‘developing Diabetes’, or if it is the case that patients are now more likely to be given a correct diagnosis in the first place.

Also addressing the future, Professor Boulton acknowledged that developments within sight of reaching patients included closed-loop systems (another major talking point of the show), immunotherapy in Type-1, and new drugs for treating Type-2 Diabetes. Though also recognising the cost of more drugs and what they could mean to patients, Boulton made it clear that governments need to help the global Diabetes population more, with it costing ‘between 8-15% of national health budgets, and in some countries up to 40% of the health budget’.

In inviting Team Blood Glucose to exhibit at EASD 2015 and closing with ‘sitting too much kills’ (‘Sick of Sitting’, J.A. Levine), Boulton expressed his desire for more to be done regarding activity and exercise with Diabetes.