Project Description

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Technology-assisted behavioural interventions in type 2 diabetes

Written by: Candice Spence 13 November 2020 Researcher: Sofia Monteiro (PhD researcher),  Dr Kate Larmuth, Dr. Jacolene Kroff, Prof. Daniel Wiesen, Prof. Matthias Sutter 

Institutions: University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Cologne, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods (MPI)

Researchers: Sofia Monteiro (PhD researcher),  Dr Kate Larmuth, Dr. Jacolene Kroff, Prof. Daniel Wiesen, Prof. Matthias Sutter 

Background and purpose

The burden of diabetes is a growing global problem, not only for patients and families, but also for health insurance providers and the wider economy. Much of this is driven by lifestyle, such as what we eat and drink, smoking and how little we exercise. Health-related behaviour is difficult to shift. Measuring and tracking behaviour in the field is often a challenge. Wearable health-monitoring technology may offer innovative solutions for lifestyle modification, as well as the study of it. We want to understand how we can support type 2 diabetes patients form sustainable low-carb healthy-eating habits. We are motivated by the questions: What level of personalised feedback is most helpful for diabetes patients to achieve their diet and glucose control goals? To what extent do cognitive and behavioural barriers prevent diabetes reversal? This novel study will be relevant in the context of COVID-19 as improved metabolic health is associated with a lower risk of mortality.

Type of study

This randomised controlled study will measure behaviour and health outcomes. We will explore which type of feedback and support is most useful to patients with type 2 diabetes to fine tune their diet and help them reach their metabolic health goals. Eligible adult type 2 diabetes patients will be referred to the study physicians Dr. Neville Wellington and Dr Carol Bosch by the network of physicians at Kenilworth Medicross Medical Centre. The investigators will make use of remote monitoring as far as possible to limit the need for person-to-person contact.  

Status update: The study was approved by UCT HREC REF: 310/2020 and commenced data collection in October 2020.

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