Lawson scientists look to recruit Type 2 diabetics for new study

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo/walterluger.

Calling all Type 2 diabetics.

Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute are hoping to recruit participants for a study that will examine whether new technology paired with diet, exercise, and self-monitoring can better manage the disease.

For the study, called LIBERATE (LIBre-Enabled Reduction of A1c Through Effective Eating and Exercise), patients will be equipped with wearable technology that will provide real-time motivation and allow physicians to personalize each participant’s diabetes management plan.

“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,” said Dr. Sonja Reichert, Lawson scientist and physician with the primary care diabetes support program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “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.”

Following an initial in-person assessment, participants will join biweekly virtual group education classes and be offered brief exercise coaching. The aim is to see if wearable technology helps drive patient lifestyle changes based on self monitoring of how food and exercise affect their glucose levels, instead of the current prescriptive approach to eating and fitness among patients.

If successful, the study could lead to the development of a toolkit that could be used by diabetes management centres across Canada.

“We feel strongly that technology on its own is great,” said 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.”

Researchers are looking to recruit 92 people for the six-month study. Participants need to have never used a LIBRE device in the past, have blood glucose levels (A1c) above 8 per cent in the last three months, and have access to a computer or smartphone and the internet.

Anyone interested in participating in the study can visit www.liberatediabetes.ca or contact the study team at 519-646-6000 ext. 67230 or email liberate@lawsonresearch.com.

The study comes as Diabetes Awareness Month, marked each November, winds down.