Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


JDRF-funded research shows some may be protected from diabetic eye disease

Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center hope to use experiences of people with long-term type 1 diabetes to benefit others

Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center, supported by JDRF, have completed a study of 158 people who have lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 50 years or more with eye examinations at Joslin over many decades of follow-up, and have concluded that a high proportion of this unique group of patients developed little to no diabetic eye disease over time.

The study focuses on a group of patients known as "50-year Medalists," and was funded by JDRF in support of its efforts to improve the lives of people with T1D by reducing or eliminating the impact of its complications. Their results, which researchers hope will lead to a means to prevent or slow the progression of the disease, were presented at the 72nd American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia this past weekend.

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) refers to a number of vision abnormalities that are all related to damage to the blood vessels in the eye caused by high blood glucose levels. It is the most common and one of the most serious complications of diabetes, affecting nearly 90 percent of people who have had T1D for at least 20 years. Although some treatment options exist for those with more advanced forms of the disease, DR remains the leading cause of vision loss among working age adults in the United States and other developed countries worldwide. The fact that approximately 40 percent of Medalists are relatively unaffected by such a common complication led researchers in this study to evaluate whether these Medalists developed DR and then experienced regression or lack of progression, or never developed significant DR at all.

"Joslin's attempt to characterize diabetic retinopathy is an important starting point for preventing or treating this complication of T1D," said Helen Nickerson, JDRF's senior scientific program manager of complications therapies. "The understanding that these Medalists have been relatively unaffected by such a common complication leads us to infer that there may be biological or genetic protective factors that could be utilized to benefit other people with type 1 diabetes."

"The results we received from looking at this special group of patients led to some very interesting findings," said Dr. Jennifer Sun, co-investigator on the study at Joslin. "In Medalists who did not develop advanced DR, there was no evidence of substantial DR regression, but the progression of retinopathy seems to slow after about four years in comparison to those who do develop advanced DR. Further, after about two decades, the process of DR worsening essentially seems to halt. It is this halting of disease progression that we will be studying as we move forward to identify the factors that result in protection against long-term complications in the 50-year Medalists."

The Medalist program was initially conceived by Dr. Eliot P. Joslin as an incentive for those who had lived with T1D for 25 years, rewarding them for commitment to good self-management techniques. Due to the advancements in treatment therapies supported by organizations like JDRF and Joslin Diabetes Center, today the Medalist program recognizes people who have lived with T1D for 50 and even 75 years. In order to be selected as a 50-year Medalist, like the patients involved in this study, a person must have lived with documented insulin-dependent diabetes for at least 50 years.

About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to T1D research. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education. Past JDRF research efforts have helped to significantly improve the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. For more information, please visit

Michael Cook | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Diabetes JDRF Joslin T1D blood glucose level blood vessel type 1 diabetes

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>