University, Mayo should also focus on diabetes prevention

by Phyllip Johnson - graduate student

This letter is in response to The Minnesota DailyâÄôs Wednesday article about the University of MinnesotaâÄôs collaboration with Mayo Clinic, âÄúU: defeat diabetes within the decade.âÄù I applaud this collaboration between two outstanding institutions, and I hope it creates good progress toward finding a cure for diabetes.
However, I temper these comments with an old maxim: âÄúAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.âÄù What surprised and upset me about the article was that it reported the two institutions want to focus on creating a cure for diabetes when prevention could spare so many people from its dangerous effects. I understand the need to find a cure for diabetes, especially in situations where the condition is hereditary. But in many other cases, weight loss, changes in diet, exercise habits and management of stress levels can prevent susceptible individuals from contracting the disease.
It seems to be a general trend in our society that prevention of disease is not emphasized, and curing diseases is emphasized. Both of these are needed, but I get the sense that medical costs are much higher when a disease has already progressed to the level where it needs to be cured, as opposed to taking the necessary steps to prevent the disease before it develops.