Viral Shah, MD, an endocrinologist and scientist, discusses ongoing research on preventing bone fractures in people with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
After discussing his own research on type 1 diabetes (T1D) and bone fracture risk, Viral Shah, MD, an endocrinologist and scientist, talks about the "resurgence in this interest" in T1D and osteoporosis research.
What are some other exciting areas of research being pursued in the area of T1D and osteoporosis?
The diabetes and osteoporosis field is now becoming a hot topic. The reason is that we have a lot of tools to manage type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. There are so many newer medications [and] diabetes technologies to deliver the insulin automatically. With all these advances, now people are living longer, and when people are living longer, particularly with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, they are also suffering from other comorbid conditions like cardiovascular disease, cognitive issues, and osteoporosis. I think it's a resurgence in this interest in this field to understand how diabetes is affecting the osteoporosis.
There are many people working in this area. Particularly what I'm doing in this area is that I'm focusing only on type 1 diabetes, not on type 2, because it's a totally different ballgame. But in type 1 diabetes, one of my studies funded by the NIH [National Institutes of Health] is trying to look at the bone tissue compositions and the material properties and how it is different in people with type 1 diabetes compared to people without diabetes. So [we're] trying to understand how diabetes would have influenced the tissue material properties of the bone.
And then another study that I have, again funded by the NIH, we are prospectively following patients with type 1 diabetes and without diabetes and looking at the change in the bone structural properties by doing a hip CT scan. And trying to look at what kind of factors would predict that kind of a change in the bone structure property. If we know what is changing that, then probably we can make some kind of therapeutic decisions or studies in the future to prevent that. So I'm hoping that some of these studies will provide really interesting findings and a next roadmap on preventing osteoporotic fractures in people with type 1 diabetes.