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U-M expert among panel that finds critical gaps in data for diabetes in older adults in new national report

American Diabetes Association and American Geriatrics Society report calls for more research on diabetes patients over 65; U-M researcher available to speak on findings

 

Jeffrey B. Halter, M.D.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A report released by the American Diabetes Association and the American Geriatrics Society Oct.25 that highlights critical gaps in research on diabetes in older adults was authored by an elite panel of national experts that includes University of Michigan Geriatrics Center Director Jeffrey B. Halter, M.D.

The panel found that adults age 65 and older are more likely to have diabetes than any other age group, but researchers and clinicians have the least amount of data regarding how best to treat this population.

The report also outlines what diabetes experts do know about older adults with diabetes, how the disease affects them differently than younger adults, what can be done to prevent or treat it and how best to fill the gaps in evidence to better address their needs. The panel also stresses the need for more research to fill the lack of medical evidence to better address the unique needs of the older adult population.

“One important issue is that older people are a very heterogeneous population, which means that recommendations cannot simply be based on age,” says Halter, an internal medicine professor.

“One 75-year-old may have newly diagnosed diabetes but otherwise be quite healthy and lead a very active life, while another may have multiple diseases, dementia, and longstanding diabetes with complications. It’s critical to consider overall physical and cognitive function, quality of life, and patient preferences when developing a treatment plan with an older patient.”

Halter, who is board certified in geriatric medicine and endocrinology is a noted expert on diabetes care in older adults and a past president of AGS. He is available to speak with media on the topic.

The report was published in the online editions of the ADA’s journal Diabetes Care and the AGS’s Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It may be viewed at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.12035/full and http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/recent.

The ADA and AGS press release may be viewed here: http://www.diabetes.org/for-media/2012/consensus-report-diabetes-in-older-adults.html

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