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This podcast comes at type 2 diabetes from all angles, and Venkate Narayan hopes global health policy will do the same. He and Richard discuss a newer understanding of the nuances of type 2 diabetes causes as well as the need to address it in low and middle-income countries.

Listen and learn

  • How researchers have found that there are actually multiple types of type 2 diabetes stemming from different primary causes,
  • How researchers will use this information for more precise treatment, and
  • Why it’s important to initiate a world-wide plan to diagnose and treat populations in low and middle-income countries for type 2 diabetes. 

K. M. Venkat Narayan is a professor in epidemiology at Emory University and director of the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center. Before Emory, he worked at the NIH and CDC. The center focuses on understanding the epidemiology of diabetes and its care for those diagnosed on a global scale.

He emphasizes that type 2 diabetes is a global pandemic, affecting 435 million people world-wide, particularly in low to middle-income countries.

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While he says that type 2 diabetes was explained until recently as simply a disease of insulin resistance stemming from obesity and low activity, a newer understanding has emerged: type 2 diabetes symptoms really have multiple diseases under their umbrella, with different primary causes such as low insulin secretion.

In fact, researchers assert that there are at least five different types of type 2 diabetes and he explains some interesting studies along these lines.

Most notably, they’ve shifted to emphasizing the role of poor insulin secretion and deposition of fat in specific places like the liver and how diet and physical activity affect that process.

This research is exciting news for type 2 diabetics as this work makes precision medicine more likely for these patients.

Dr. Narayan also addresses policy change. He says that while 90% of diabetes cases occur in low to middle-income countries, only 3 to 4% of research is happening in these countries. Because there are excellent treatments available for diabetics, he feels strongly that these treatments must be made available on a global scale.

He describes how such global policy might be implemented to bring better diagnosis rates and treatment to these patients and curb the global effects of type 2 diabetes on health.

For more, see the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center site and find Dr. Narayan’s work on PubMed.

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