Investigation of the association between spousal obesity and incidence of T2D

Investigation of the association between spousal obesity and incidence of T2D

It all started a week before EASD when I received an e-mail from a journalist. He said that our abstract might be interesting for the media so he wants to write a press release and to invite us to the press conference held on the first day of EASD.


There are so many spams from "scientific" journals incoming every day asking for a rapid paper submission or conference invitations to exotic places all around the world, first I did not even take this enquiry seriously. However, after a couple of hours of ignorance, I did a quick internet search and it turned out that the journalist who e-mailed me used to be the media manager for The Lancet journals, so suddenly everything looked real. After a few days and a couple of e-mails with Tony (the journalist) and Daniel Witte (the senior author on the abstract), the press release was ready to hit the news, as our small group from Aarhus was ready for departure to EASD.


This was my first visit to Portugal, so we planned to arrived a day early to have some time for sightseeing and surfing. Fortunately, Lisbon welcomed us with a wonderful weather, beautiful views of the city and waves friendly enough to have some success standing on the surfboard for the first time.


On Monday, I had 5 minutes to present our results followed by a couple of questions from the 5-10 journalist attending the press conference. The press release was under embargo until midnight, so we had to wait a few hours to see the stories the journalists created out of the press release and my presentation.

"Obese wives raise diabetes risk for men", "Men with obese wives are at greater risk of diabetes... but fat husbands don't have the same effect" were the headlines in The Times and the Daily Mail among the many news media who published an article the next day based on our abstract.

It was an interesting experience to see how the British media interpreted and in some cases misinterpreted our results, but all in all, for at least a short period, we could call attention to the risks related to obesity and diabetes in media read by millions of people across the UK. Interacting with the journalists helped me to get prepared for my oral presentation on Wednesday. It felt good to finally share our perspective of the story with the science community. The rest of the conference went as a usual conference should. I attended  some inspiring sessions, caught up with my collaborators and tried to established new ones. However, because of the enormous scale of the conference with more than 15,000 participants and 6-7 parallel sessions, one has to be really organised to achieve all his goals. All in all, it was a great expereince to attend the biggest diabetes conference in Europe. 


And last but not least, what was all the fuss about? Together with Jannie Nielsen (KU) and Daniel Witte (AU & DDA), we investigated the association between spousal obesity and incidece of T2DM in an English cohort study. If you are interested in our results, check out The Times or my oral presentation at the EASD Virtual Meeting.