Relationship with the EASD

Dorte Møller Jensen, Gernot Desoye and Michael Maresh attended the Study Group Forum of the EASD in Barcelona on September 16th 2019. The aim of the forum was to update study groups on the ongoing process to bring all study groups under the EASD umbrella with all finances under the overall control of the EASD. To quote the current EASD President Professor Mathews “good financial governance but allow the maximum flexibility of operational management”.

Professor Mathews and the incoming president from 2020 Professor Del Prato attended the Forum and after the introductions led the session answering the questions. Professor Mathews made it clear he wanted study groups in principle to carry on as they were and not be disrupted by these changes at the top. The newer less established groups saw it as an advantage to be under the umbrella of the EASD and Professor Mathews made it clear they would work with them in the first instance. This was essentially the same message as from the previous year and it appeared that little had occurred in the meantime.

However the EASD had proposed a number of changes to the regulations around the study groups and these had been approved by a vote of the EASD membership in August. Of particular concern to DPSG members and to other study groups was the stipulation about membership in that members of study groups essentially had to be members of the EASD.  About a third of current DPSG members are also members of EASD. The DPSG representatives expressed concern at the forum, about members having to both subscribe to their own Study Group and also the EASD. Professor Mathews appeared to contradict the recently accepted amended constitution on study groups, by stating that as long as the study group executive members (in our case our Board) were members of the EASD which we are, then there was no need for the rest of the membership to be EASD members to retain full DPSG membership rights. This, for those at our General Assembly meeting in Graz will recall was considered to be a critical issue.

All the DPSG Board members were present in Barcelona and so met and sent a letter immediately to Professor Mathews essentially asking him to confirm what he had stated.   We are still awaiting a response and are chasing this up. Once we have further information we shall be in contact with our membership.

Other Board matters

As you will be aware Rosa Corcoy has taken over as Treasurer from Gernot Desoye. We thank Gernot for the enormous energy he has put into the role over the last few years particularly with regard to finalising the charitable status of the DPSG. Rosa and the Board have decided for the moment to not change any of our banking or charitable status arrangements while uncertainty remains with regard to our relationship with the EASD. However we are exploring whether we can re-introduce PayPal   as many members found this a convenient method of transferring money to the DPSG. 

Finally the Board are sad to lose the services and company of our secretary Sheila Fleming, but she has agreed to stay on a little to assist our new secretary Sine Knorr to take over this important central role. Pilar Ramos and Gernot Desoye attended the Study Group Forum of EASD in Berlin October 1st 2018. The aim of the meeting was to update study groups on the ongoing process to bring all study groups under one (EASD) umbrella. EASD initiated this process in 2016 in order to help relieve the legal and financial responsibility of each study group. There are many financial and organizational aspects that need to be clarified. The board will be in close dialogue with Mrs Katrin Sommer, in charge of study groups at EASD, and raise specific questions for DPSG. It will be discussed at board meetings and DPSG members will be informed and later involved in a decision, when conditions are more clear.


The Meeting took place in Graz, from 5th – 8th of September, 2019 with attendance of 148 registrants from 27 countries.

The following Key Note lectures were delivered:

  • Ravi Retnakaran, Toronto: “Long term morbidity in women with previous GDM”
  • Ezter Vanky, Trondheim: “Treatment with metformin in pregnancy and offspring consequenses”
  • Roland Devlieger, Loewen: “Pregnancy in women with previous bariatric surgery - maternal glucose metabolism and fetal growth”

The Jorgen Pedersen Lecturer 2019

David McIntyre, Australia. Diabetes in pregnancy: the old, the new and hope for the future. 

 The Joseph Hoet Research Award 2019

Rachel Freathy, How can genetics help us understand links between diabetes and birth weight?

The aim of this talk was to show how genetics can be a useful tool in diabetes and pregnancy research, as illustrated by three examples:

  1. Genetics has improved our understanding of the epidemiological relationship between lower birth weight and later-life Type 2 diabetes, showing that they can be two phenotypes of the same genotype.

In studies of hundreds of thousands of individuals, we have identified common variants in the genetic code that are associated with differences in birth weight. Some of these variants that associate with lower birth weight also increase susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes by reducing insulin secretion. This observation is consistent with the Fetal Insulin Hypothesis.

  1. Genetics has provided evidence that some maternal characteristics (fasting glucose, BMI, blood pressure) are causal determinants of birth weight, but that others (triglycerides, vitamin D levels) are not.

Common genetic variants that influence maternal traits (e.g. fasting glucose) are generally randomized to variables that would normally confound observational studies. This is because genotype is fixed at conception and therefore cannot be changed by things like smoking or socio-economic position. In a way analogous to a randomized controlled trial, we can therefore use maternal genetic variation to proxy for intrauterine exposures and test their effects on birth weight. We have found strong evidence that raised maternal glucose and BMI cause higher birth weight, while raised maternal blood pressure causes lower birth weight.

  1. A fetal genetic score shows a strong influence on birth weight that is independent of maternal glucose.

Each individual genetic variant we have identified has a small effect on birth weight, but when added together in a genetic score, the effect on birth weight is comparable to that of maternal glucose. We have shown that a genetic score for birth weight can explain some of the difference in prevalence of macrosomia among women with the highest glucose levels.

Future genetics work will deepen our understanding of causal mechanisms involved in maternal diabetes and fetal growth and may one day improve prediction of pregnancies at greatest risk of adverse outcomes.

Best posters – John Stowers Research Award: 1. Martin Overgaard, Denmark, 2. Miira Klemetti,  and 3. Alejandro Majali-Martinez, Austria


The IADPSG committee convened a meeting on Friday September 6th while attending the DPSG. This was our second meeting for 2019, the other meeting having taken place while at ADA. The group discussed the following items:

(1) The draft programme for International IADPSG meeting to be held in Kyoto was extensively discussed. It is an exciting programme with sessions included to attract basic scientist’s clinician’s epidemiologists, paediatricians and obstetricians. As a reminder there will be 9 sessions of 90 mins each over 3 days. The date of the meeting was November 13-15 2020.

(2) Fidelma Dunne and Robert Lindsay are currently in their 3rd year of a 4th year term. The committee discussed our approach to replacement of these officers in 2020. There is also scope for the current officers to serve a second term.

(3) The finances of the group were reviewed and are in a healthy balance. Prof Gernot Desoye has stepped down as treasurer of IADPSG after serving many years in this position. We are most grateful to Gernot and the committee express thanks to him for his commitment over the years. Professor Mary Loeken has taken up the role of treasurer from Sept 6th 2019 assisted by Professors Patrick Catalano and David Sacks.

(4) Professor Dunne on behalf of IADPSG has been pursuing research collaboration possibilities with US colleagues through SMFM, NIDDK and NICHD. The discussions have been very positive and Professor Dunne will keep IADPSG members updated as progress occurs.

(5) The committee noted that an important aim of IADPSG might be to support and develop the setting of priorities in diabetes and pregnancy – similar to the James Lind process pursued by funding bodies in the UK.  Given the international nature of the organisation a key part of this would be to have a process that could reflect the different priorities internationally. Fidelma Dunne and Robert Lindsay will investigate this over the coming year.

(6) The next meeting of IADPSG will take place while attending the ADA in Chicago in 2020.


Annual DPSG meetings

The annual DPSG meeting 2020 will be held in The Netherlands, September 3rd to 7th, 2020. Call for abstract will be in March 2020. For further information follow the update on the webiste: dpsghome.org.

Future annual DPSG meetings:

  • 2021: Spain
  • 2022: Poland
  • 2023: Sweden
  • 2024: Scotland

Meeting pictures