Study aims to empower patients with Type 2 diabetes to take control of their health
Through a novel, virtual coaching approach, researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute are aiming to improve the lives of patients with Type 2 diabetes by helping them learn to manage their blood glucose levels (A1c) through self-monitoring, healthy nutrition and exercise, with wearable technology providing real-time motivation.
The study, called LIBERATE (LIBre-Enabled Reduction of A1c Through Effective Eating and Exercise), will personalize diabetes management to each patient, recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all solution for people living with diabetes and the best food and activity strategy varies from person to person.
“The study uses a flash glucose device that's worn on the arm for two weeks and allows a user to scan their blood glucose as many times as they want. Participants also wear a fitness tracker that, together with the glucose monitor, provides real-time ‘biofeedback’ as to how food and activity are affecting glucose levels,” explains Dr. Sonja Reichert, Scientist at Lawson and Physician with the Primary Care Diabetes Support Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London.
The research team is looking to recruit 92 people that have never before used Abbott's Freestyle LIBRE system, have an A1c above 8% in the last three months and have access to a computer or smartphone and the internet for the six-month study. After an initial in-person assessment, participants will be asked to join in biweekly virtual group education classes and offered brief exercise coaching as well, if interested.
The goal is to use the wearable technology to encourage patient-driven lifestyle changes based on monitoring how their own food and activity patterns impact their glucose levels – changes they choose themselves and that can be maintained in the long term versus the traditional more prescriptive approach to eating and exercise.
Researchers believe a combination of glucose monitoring, health coaching, behavior change support and technology could lead to the development of a toolkit that could be used by other diabetes management centres across Canada.
“We feel strongly that technology on its own is great,” says Dr. Reichert. “But the real magic happens when you have health care providers to motivate and teach, and provide a clear understanding of all this data and how it applies to each individual. That's what we're looking to do with LIBERATE.”
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Lawson Health Research Institute
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