Year in diabetes 2012: The diabetes tsunami

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Dec;97(12):4293-301. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-3487. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


Diabetes affects more than 300 million individuals globally, contributing to significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. As the incidence and prevalence of diabetes continue to escalate with the force of an approaching tsunami, it is imperative that we better define the biological mechanisms causing both obesity and diabetes and identify optimal prevention and treatment strategies that will enable a healthier environment and calmer waters. New guidelines from the American Diabetes Association/European Association of the Study of Diabetes and The Endocrine Society encourage individualized care for each patient with diabetes, both in the outpatient and inpatient setting. Recent data suggest that restoration of normal glucose metabolism in people with prediabetes may delay progression to type 2 diabetes (T2DM). However, several large clinical trials have underscored the limitations of current treatment options once T2DM has developed, particularly in obese children with the disease. Prospects for reversing new-onset type 1 diabetes also appear limited, although recent clinical trials indicate that immunotherapy can delay the loss of β-cell function, suggesting potential benefits if treatment is initiated earlier. Research demonstrating a role for the central nervous system in the development of obesity and T2DM, the identification of a new hormone that simulates some of the benefits of exercise, and the development of new β-cell imaging techniques may provide novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers of early diabetes detection for optimization of interventions. Today's message is that a diabetes tsunami is imminent, and the only way to minimize the damage is to create an early warning system and improve interventions to protect those in its path.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Endocrinology / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Endocrinology / methods
  • Endocrinology / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods
  • Patient-Centered Care / trends
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prevalence
  • Societies, Medical / legislation & jurisprudence