Scientists are to undertake a major study into whether microbes found in the gut could hold the key to battling the development of diabetes and if probiotics and prebiotics could help.
The team from Otago University in Wellington, New Zealand, will carry out a randomised placebo-controlled study to test whether probiotic supplements and prebiotics can improve glucose and fat levels in the blood of people with pre-diabetes.
‘We will carry out a randomised placebo-controlled study to test whether probiotic supplements and prebiotics can improve glucose and fat levels in the blood of people with pre-diabetes,’ said study leader Associate Professor Jeremy Krebs of Otago University.
A second Otago University project will evaluate a digital health initiative to help people prevent and manage diabetes themselves using online tools.
‘We will be testing a digital health programme which support prevention and self-management of pre-diabetes and diabetes,’ says study leader Professor Diana Sarfati.
Her team has already found from an initial pilot that more than 70% of people with pre-diabetics had normal blood glucose levels after four months of being on the programme.
They will now complete a group of studies, including a randomised controlled trial, to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the intervention in reversing pre-diabetes and improving self-management of diabetes, compared with usual care.
The programme is delivered via web and mobile, working with primary care providers. It uses peer support, health coaches, health tracking, and tools with engaging content to drive behaviour changes.
A third project, led by Dr Matire Harwood, from the National Hauora Coalition, will aim to improve the impact of clinical and lifestyle interventions for those living with pre-diabetes and people with poorly controlled diabetes.
The studies are part of $5.7 million in new funding announced by New Zealand Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith, for research that aims to prevent or improve the management of diabetes in the country.
Like many nations worldwide New Zealand has seen a surge in type 2 diabetes in recent years and researchers have been looking at how this can be prevented before people at risk, due to their weight and other health issues, actually develop the condition.
It is hoped that these new research programmes will also help scientists and health care workers in other countries to help combat the global rise in type 2 diabetes.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.