Savefor later Page saved! You can go back to this later in your Diabetes and Me Close

Research on diabetes education courses

Professor Stephanie Amiel, co-creator of DAFNE

Life with type 1 diabetes is complicated. Too much insulin means low blood sugar levels and hypos. Too little means high blood sugar levels and hypers.   

But with most people living with type 1 diabetes usually seeing a healthcare professional only once or twice a year, the full-time job of thinking like a pancreas falls to them or the person caring for them.   

Fatama sitting on a bench smiling and revealing her CGM
Fatmata Lee, who has benefited from DAFNE

We developed diabetes education courses

Researchers Dr Sue Roberts and Professors Simon Heller and Stephanie Amiel knew how important it was to give people with type 1 diabetes the tools to self-manage their condition.  

In 2000, with our funding, they developed and tested a life-changing education course, Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating, known as DAFNE.   

DAFNE helps people learn to adjust their insulin doses depending on what they eat, their activity level, illness and the many other factors that can affect blood sugars.   

The first trial showed DAFNE reduced average blood sugar (HbA1c) levels by 10mmol/mol (1%), and people who went on the course had fewer and less serious hypos.

People also said DAFNE helped them feel less anxious and stressed managing their diabetes which helped improve their quality of life.    

Fast-tracking diabetes education 

With such positive results, we successfully campaigned for DAFNE to be delivered nationwide. Education courses have since been developed for people living with type 2 diabetes, and everyone in the UK with diabetes should be offered the chance to attend a course.    

Fatmata Lee lives with type 1 diabetes and attended a DAFNE course shortly after she was diagnosed in 2019. She said: 

“I learnt so much on the DAFNE course, and it gave me the confidence to manage my diabetes. For the first time, I felt normal in my new normal. It was so reassuring being in a room with fellow type 1’s who know what you’re going through and can give you advice. That was invaluable.”

Professor Stephanie Amiel, King’s College London, who co-created DAFNE, said:  

“People find the course hugely rewarding. They report how it changes their life for the better and has been the most valuable time they’ve ever spent in relation to their diabetes. Diabetes UK’s support for the original DAFNE trial made it all possible.”

And we didn't stop there. In 2012 we supported Dr Lawrence Taggart to develop a programme tailored for people living with learning disability and type 2 diabetes and their carers, called DESMOND-ID. The programme is now being tested in a large clinical trial. If the outcomes are positive, it could become standard care across the UK.

What’s next? 

We know living with the relentlessness of diabetes isn’t just about managing physical wellbeing, so we're also funding research to help people manage their emotions, including:    

Back to Top
Brand Icons/Telephonecheck - FontAwesomeicons/tickicons/uk