DDEA Award Recipient Nicklas H. Rasmussen Addresses the Knowledge Gaps of Diabetes, Fall Risks, and Bone Health

Posted on 31.01.2024

Nicklas H. Rasmussen receives a DDEA Early-Career Researcher Award 2024

”The bigger vision is to see this knowledge transferred to a larger societal context, as it can potentially add a lot of value and quality of life for a lot of people.”

This is the goal of Nicklas H. Rasmussen’s, 35, research on falls, bone fractures, and diabetes. Nicklas H. Rasmussen is a DDEA postdoctoral fellow at Steno Diabetes Center North Denmark, an Associate Professor at Aalborg University, and a specialist registrar in endocrinology at Aalborg University Hospital. In just a few years, Nicklas H. Rasmussen has made a significant output of research dissemination with 17 publications, of which most are as first author, as well as made numerous appearances in Danish media and presentations at national and international conferences.

Nicklas H. Rasmussen receives a DDEA Early-Career Researcher Award in the field of classical endocrinology for his promising career track and his contributions to research on the connections between bone health, falling incidents, and diabetes.

”I had never even imagined getting such an award, because I know how many talented researchers there are in the field. So, it came as a surprise, and I am just so incredibly honoured and amazed. This just fuels the ambition and passion for my research even more,” says Nicklas H. Rasmussen.

Exploring the Intersection Between Bone Health and Diabetes

Nicklas H. Rasmussen’s research is based on findings showing that people with diabetes demonstrate a higher vulnerability to bone fractures and falling incidents when compared to the broader population. Identifying the risk factors of falling and fractures in relation to diabetes, however, remains an unexplored matter.

Nicklas H. Rasmussen’s research seeks to address this knowledge gap.

”I am somewhat specialised in the intersection between bone health and diabetes. Both populations are enormous with plenty of unexplored areas, especially the connections between them. In our work, we use balance models and assess the risk of falls, as well as conduct screenings. This includes testing muscle strength and bone composition, body composition, as well as blood tests, scans, and more,” says Nicklas H. Rasmussen. ”It all boils down to prevention; we want to figure out how these increased falls and bone fractures found in people with diabetes can be prevented.”

ADA Emphasis and Upcoming Project

Very recently, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) released their Standards of Care in Diabetes 2024. One of their updates to these standards includes a ”New emphasis on the evaluation and treatment of bone health and added attention to diabetes-specific risk factors for fracture.” This was something that Nicklas and his colleagues in the field helped bring about.

”It is incredible that ADA has included this in their standards of care. The next step would be to develop specific recommendations and guidelines regarding falls and bone health in people with diabetes. These guidelines would serve both clinicians in their practice and raise awareness among patients, and that is exactly what we are working towards,” Nicklas explains.

Nicklas H. Rasmussen is currently involved in a massive project in Aalborg, based on the findings on the connection of fall risk, bone fractures, and diabetes. He cannot talk about specifics, but the project is almost ready to be deployed.

”We are transitioning from these findings we have uncovered over the past few years, which are essentially hypotheses, to hopefully establish some real-life causality. The most crucial aspect for us is that it is sustainable, durable, and something that does not just become another theoretical lineup, but something that might progress and possibly extend into municipalities and regional contexts – and hopefully beyond. In the end, it needs to make sense, especially for the patients,” says Nicklas H. Rasmussen.

Productivity, Planning, and the Right People

Even a quick glance at Nicklas H. Rasmussen’s list of achievements in publication and public dissemination of research reveals that he must be constantly busy.

”I have heard many people comment that I must be busy. But for me, time flies when you are immersed in what you do, so it has not felt as though I have been busy. Also, I think I am quite good at structuring my time. I always strive to optimise my planning, so that I can achieve the things I wish to achieve,” Nicklas H. Rasmussen says.

Nicklas H. Rasmussen is quick to point out that his achievements are also attributed to having the right colleagues and mentors.

”I prefer a work environment where the people around me are more skilled and experienced than I am. For me, this is the best way to grow professionally. I have some amazing people who mentor and inspire me in my daily work. We all help each other improve our abilities, and everyone from the seasoned secretary to the newest PhDs and the most experienced professors contributes to this mentality,” says Nicklas H. Rasmussen.

One thing especially stands above them all when it comes to Nicklas H. Rasmussen’s motivation.

”I think what we do is cool, and I love the work, but what truly drives me forward is the fact that it can make a real difference for people in the real world. I think this is why a lot of us scientists do what we do, even when it is tough,” says Nicklas H. Rasmussen.

DDEA’s Managing Director, Tore Christiansen, on Nicklas H. Rasmussen

It is spot-on that Nicklas H. Rasmussen receives an early-career researcher award. Nicklas is leading the way in conducting innovative patient-centered research with the potential to improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes. Nicklas’s research perfectly encapsulates what the DDEA aims to achieve – strengthening the bridge between research in diabetes and classical endocrine diseases. Nicklas has recently received a clinical postdoc grant from DDEA, which enables him to continue bridging his clinical work with research. I am confident that his research will be a significant asset to society in the long run.

The DDEA Early-Career Researcher Awards

This award recognises excellence, innovation, passion, and commitment to Danish diabetes and classical endocrine research. The DDEA Early-Career Researcher Awards are presented to two individual early-career researchers (from Danish research institutions) who each have shown promising research and great potential to be world-class researchers within their fields of expertise and who each has made an important contribution to the understanding and treatment of diabetes and classical endocrine diseases. The winners each receive 25,000 DKK. Read more about the award.

Nicklas H. Rasmussen was nominated by Peter Vestergaard, Steno Diabetes Center North Denmark.

About Nicklas H. Rasmussen

Nicklas Højgaard-Hessellund Rasmussen is a Danish MD, PhD, and postdoc specialising in falls and fractures in relation to diabetes, as well as a specialist registrar in endocrinology. He is currently a DDEA postdoctoral fellow at Steno Diabetes Center North Denmark, as well as an Associate Professor at Aalborg University. Nicklas H. Rasmussen’s research focuses on investigating bone health and diabetes. Nicklas H. Rasmussen has made important contributions to this field, having built an extensive track record of publications, with 17 publications, most of them as first author, all within a few years. Nicklas H. Rasmussen has appeared in numerous Danish media disseminating his research, as well as having presented at various conferences, such as the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting and World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (WCO-IOF-ESCEA).


Nicklas Højgaard-Hessellund Rasmussen
Associate Professor at Aalborg University, postdoc at Steno Diabetes Center North Denmark
+45 60 30 63 06

Danish Diabetes and Endocrine Academy 
Tore S. Christiansen, Managing Director
+45 29 64 67 64

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