Nearly two-thirds of diabetes research projects now underway around the world are focused on drug therapies and very few aim to evaluate preventive or behavioral measures to combat the disease, new research shows.
The study, by Duke University Medical Center scientists, found only one in 10 diabetes trials worldwide is centered on prevention or behavioral techniques. What’s more, new diabetes research tends to exclude children and older people who have much to gain from better disease management, according to the study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
“Recently registered diabetes trials may not sufficiently address important diabetes care issues or involve affected populations,” said lead researcher Jennifer Green, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center. “Although many trials will provide valuable information upon completion, our review suggests that the current portfolio does not adequately address disease prevention, management, or therapeutic safety. This information may be meaningful in the allocation of future research activities and resources."
An estimated 371 million people have diabetes worldwide — a figure projected to grow to 550 million by 2030. To examine whether current studies adequately address the growing need for diabetes care and management, Green and colleagues analyzed nearly 2,500 diabetes-related trials registered with
The results of the analysis showed 75 percent were primarily focused on treatment and just 10 percent were preventive. About 63 percent involved drug therapies and only 12 percent aimed to evaluate behavioral strategies to manage the disease. Only a small percentage — 4 percent — targeted children and teens, while fewer than 1 percent targeted seniors.
"To achieve the greatest impact upon clinical care, trials should enroll patients representative of populations disproportionately affected by diabetes and its complications,” Dr. Green said. “A better understanding of responses to interventions among diverse individuals and groups may inform individualized treatments of greater effectiveness and tolerability."
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