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Continuous glucose monitoring improves diabetes management

Research funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) shows that adults with Type 1 diabetes who use continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices experience improved diabetes management.

The results presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Rome earlier this month are based on a 26-week trial involving over 300 people aged 8 to 72.

Findings of the study

Participants started with HbA1c (a measure of blood glucose over a period of time) of 7 to 10% the target level for adults is below 7% and between 7.5 and 8% for children and teenagers.

The biggest improvements were seen in people aged 25 or older, whose HbA1c decreased by an average of 0.53%. In addition, this was achieved without an increase in hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels).

In children and young people, HbA1c levels were not significantly different in the CGM groups compared to the control groups.

Benefits of continuous glucose monitoring

“These latest results are encouraging and highlight the potential benefits to be gained from continuous glucose monitoring devices in terms of blood glucose control,” said Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK.

“More research is needed, however, to determine how CGM affects quality of life for people with diabetes.”

“Also, this latest research did not find that CGM caused significant HbA1c reductions in teenagers or children, which may be due to the fact that only 30 per cent of teenagers and 50 per cent of children in the trial used the device for at least six days per week. Therefore, Diabetes UK would be interested to see more research taking place to improve the usability of CGM devices and encourage young people to use them more effectively.”

The results are also published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diabetes UK funded research

Diabetes UK is currently funding a project led by Dr Pratik Choudhary of King’s College London to test whether a period of wearing a CGM device can help people who have lost their hypo awareness to become alert to hypoglycaemia.

People with Type 1 diabetes often lose their awareness of low blood glucose, which is a major concern as severe hypoglycaemia can cause an individual to collapse without warning, and affects up to 30 per cent of those with Type 1 diabetes each year.

Dr Choudhary's team will test whether a CGM device can help people to avoid hypoglycaemia, and if this can in turn restore their natural protective symptoms and hormonal responses to hypoglycaemia.

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