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ADA Scientific Sessions 2020 Report

by, Gary Scheiner MS, CDE
Owner & Clinical Director
Integrated Diabetes Services LLC

ADA 2020The American Diabetes Association’s annual Scientific Sessions are (is?) the biggest diabetes conference worldwide among international scientists, researchers, healthcare professionals and the media. 

Each year, the meetings draw nearly 20,000 participants for a 4-day whirlwind of presentations, symposia, exhibits, poster sessions and networking opportunities.  Cutting-edge research is typically unveiled at this meeting, along with the latest innovations from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers.  Because there is so much happening at the meeting, participants typically take time away from work to travel to the conference and focus on the happenings.

But not this year.  The worldwide coronavirus pandemic relegated ADA2020 to a virtual format, with everything taking place through live and pre-recorded video and web-based postings.  I chaired a session on creative insulin dosing strategies for high-fat and high-protein foods with a couple of respected colleagues.  We pre-recorded the presentations and then “appeared” during the actual session to answer questions live via text messaging.  That format was used for many of the oral presentations and symposia.  It had the advantage of allowing “screenshots” for note-taking, as well as the comfort of being able to watch from the comfort of a recliner while sipping a cold beer in your underwear (if that’s your sort of thing).  However, not being on-site immersed in the meeting meant that there were distractions aplenty… and that made it painfully difficult to focus.  For example, I kept my practice running through the sessions, and patients’ needs always came first.  And because the sessions ran through the weekend, family responsibilities as well as personal interests (TV, yardwork, beautiful cycling weather, etc.) kept tugging on my already-narrow attention span.

Nevertheless, I did my absolute best to listen when necessary, take careful notes and block out the distractions (also limited myself to one beer per symposium).  Given my passion for type-1 diabetes and intensive therapy, I tried to hit the sessions that applied to insulin users.  Here, in no particular order, are some of the highlights.

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