Duke Study Finds Diabetes Research Concentrates on Treatment, Not Prevention

A recent Duke University study has found that diabetes research primarily focuses on drug therapies as opposed to prevention, reported the Huffington Post.

In a report published in the journal Diabetologia, study authors concluded that research pertaining to diabetes prevention and therapy is insufficient.

Duke scientists examined nearly 2,500 diabetes-related trials from 2007 to 2010, of which almost 75 percent emphasized diabetes treatment and only 10 percent observed preventative measures. The majority of trials, more than 63 percent, involved a drug, whereas less than 12 percent used behavioral tests.

In addition, study authors found diabetes research tends to exclude older adults and children who stand to significantly benefit from improved disease management. Adults and seniors face the highest risk of diabetes, but the condition is also on the rise among children and youth—especially in Indian country, a finding consistent with increases in obesity among Native American youth, states a U.S. Department of Agriculture 2012 report to Congress titled, “Addressing Child Hunger and Obesity in Indian Country.”

Furthermore, many trials were completed in a short time span of two years and did not include geographically diverse diabetes patients. “The majority of diabetes-related trials include small numbers of participants, exclude those at the extremes of age, are of short duration, involve drug therapy rather than preventive or non-drug interventions and do not focus upon significant cardiovascular outcomes,” the report in Diabetologi states. “Recently registered diabetes trials may not sufficiently address important diabetes care issues or involve affected populations.”

Study researcher Dr. Jennifer Green, an associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine and a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, said the exclusion of older adults and children from these trials means that the research can’t necessarily apply to them. “We really don’t understand how best to manage disease in these patients—particularly among patients of advanced age," she said in the statement. "So the exclusion of them from most studies and the small number of trials that specifically enroll older individuals is problematic.”

 

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