Introduction to the Japan Diabetes Society
Introduction to the Japan Diabetes Society
Kohjiro Ueki, MD, PhD
Chair of the Board of Directors
The Japan Diabetes Society
the National Center for Global Health and Medicine
On June 28, 2020, I was appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Japan Diabetes Society, or JDS. As its tenth Chair, I will be assuming the heavy responsibilities that accompany this post, along with my duties as the Director of the Diabetes Research Center, Research Institute, the National Center for Global Health and Medicine.
Since its establishment in 1957, the Japan Diabetes Society, or JDS, has dedicated itself to promoting the progress and development of the study of diabetes, and to the prevention of the suffering that it causes the people of Japan. To achieve this goal, we are engaged in a wide array of programs and activities. They include (1) diverse research and investigative projects on diabetes; (2) advancement of the study and treatment of diabetes; (3) the holding of scientific meetings, including the Annual Meeting of the JDS, to share the latest knowledge and findings obtained through such endeavors; (4) publication of journals in both Japanese (Journal of the Japan Diabetes Society) and English (Diabetology International), as well as books, such as Japanese Clinical Practice Guideline for Diabetes and Treatment Guide for Diabetes; (5) the training and fostering of diabetologists who will be charged with mitigating or preventing diabetes and its complications; (6) exchange and joint programs/projects with the International Diabetes Federation, the Asian Association for the Study of Diabetes, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and other overseas and domestic scientific organizations; (7) the raising of public knowledge of diabetes; and (8) recognizing and awarding researchers, physicians and healthcare staff who have contributed to the growth and development of diabetology as well as young researchers and healthcare staff who will play a leading role in advancing diabetology into the future. At present, the JDS has 17,799 regular members and 6,174 diabetes specialists (As of July 20, 2020).
Over the past thirty or so years, the causes of diabetes and the mechanisms of its pathology have increasingly been brought to light. The emergence of new drug therapies as well as new treatments and monitoring devices has made it easier to control blood glucose levels and manage the risk of complications. With people’s rising awareness of the importance of health and the spread of specified health checkup and health guidance programs and other factors, the number of people having prediabetes has fallen, and the number of new diabetes patients also appears to be on a downward trend. Nevertheless, a cure for diabetes is yet to be found, and treatment suited to a patient’s condition must be selected with meticulous attention. Above all, patients are required to make autonomous efforts to change their behaviors, such as their lifestyle improvement. Unfortunately, not enough headway has been made in research pertaining to individualized diet and exercise therapies that are based on scientific evidence, and which take a patient’s disease condition and social environment into consideration. Along with the rapid aging of our country’s population, moreover, diabetes patients are also getting older, manifesting various geriatric syndromes such as sarcopenia, frailty and/or dementia. How to appropriately treat diabetes alongside these symptoms, and how to successfully prevent the progression of these comorbidities, have therefore become major tasks. To overcome these challenges, we must create true precision medicine by gathering and analyzing big data through combining electronic medical records (EMRs) and personal health records (PHRs), and by integrating these knowledge and findings with clinical and basic research. Moreover, the stigma that remains in our society or in patients themselves leads to the worsening of diabetic patients’ conditions. We intend to work together with the Japan Association for Diabetes Education and Care and other relevant organizations to try to dispel this perception.
Every five years or so since 2004, the Japan Diabetes Society has been releasing its Five-Year Diabetes Strategy. In 2010, it released Action Plan 2010, or DREAMS, and has been working towards realizing the following goals: (1) Establishment of an early diagnostic and treatment setup for diabetes (Diagnosis and Care); (2) Promotion of research and fostering of human resources (Research to Cure); (3) Building and dissemination of evidence (Evidence for Optimum Care); (4) International alliances (Alliance for Diabetes); (5) Prevention of diabetes (Mentoring Program for Prevention); and (6) Suppression of diabetes (“Stop DM”). The 4th Five-year Diabetes Strategy released this year embodies these goals. This latest plan features measures to be taken under conditions where diabetes treatment is hindered by natural disasters, verification of the risk of aggravation of the pathology of diabetes patients due to COVID-19 as well as countermeasures to this risk, and a study of appropriate treatment methods during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe these issues are tasks and missions with which the JDS is entrusted. The Society is committed to making concerted and all-out efforts to tackle these and other challenges. I would greatly appreciate your continued goodwill and support as well.
Update: July 29, 2020