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Patient-focused research important when treating diabetes, endocrinologists hear

By Niamh Quinlan - 25th Nov 2022

diabetes patient-focused research

Patient-centred research is important to provide a better biopsychosocial understanding of patients’ experiences living with diabetes and hypoglycaemia, according to Clinical Research Fellow at King’s College London diabetes research group, Dr Patrick Divilly.

Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI) at the Irish Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, Dr Divilly said: “It is really important that our research is focused on the person living with diabetes, and that we better understand their experiences
and what’s going on in their lives in terms of hypoglycaemia.”

Dr Divilly presented the results to date  from a 10-week Hypo-METRICS study, comprising 602 participants – those with type 1 diabetes and insulin-treated type 2 diabetes – across nine sites in five countries. The study aims to “provide an evidence-based definition of CGM [continuous glucose monitoring] hypoglycaemia and further understanding of the clinical, psychological, and health economic impacts of hypoglycaemia”.  

Participants wore a blinded CGM device to record their hypoglycaemia by a sensor. They also self-recorded hypoglycaemia to the Hypo-METRICS smartphone app in real-time.

Recruitment has finished, but the study is not fully complete, Dr Divilly told MI.

The results presented showed that the use of CGM reduces the proportion of ‘asymptomatic hypoglycaemia’. This was where hypoglycaemia was detected by the sensor with no associated person-reported hypoglycaemia. A high percentage of impaired (where participants are unaware of) hypoglycaemia events in insulin-treated type 2 diabetes participants were also asymptomatic.

Dr Divilly told MI: “This study has been really driven by our patient advisory committee. They were instrumental in designing the study and helping us implement the study. And the results are really designed more so for them.”

A greater understanding of the impact of hypoglycaemia on people’s lives also helps to apply for funding for further technologies and treatments, he said.

Dr Divilly said that he anticipates in the future that most people living with type 1 and insulin-treated type 2 diabetes “will be on some form of diabetes tech”.

Asked about older patients with diabetes, Dr Divilly said: “Our data completion by our over-65s population was better than our younger population…. I think the bigger issue is people who are from socially deprived backgrounds getting left behind.”

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