Study at Joslin shows ease of introducing technology to kids with diabetes

BOSTON -- What can a guessing game played on a wireless hand-held device do for diabetes management? A lot, according to a pilot study led by researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. The study was conducted in cooperation with a student at Harvard Medical School and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The study, recently published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, found that youth ages 8-18 with type 1 diabetes were more apt to monitor their blood glucose levels more often when engaged in a game called DiaBetNetTM -- an application that integrates blood glucose, insulin dosing, and carbohydrate intake data and challenges users to predict their next blood glucose levels.

DiaBetNet was created by Vikram Kumar, a medical student at the time in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, together with MIT Professor Alex Pentland, Ph.D., and Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., head of Joslin's Pediatric and Adolescent section.

The study, Daily Automated Intensive Log for Youth (DAILY), headed by Dr. Laffel, looked at how a wireless-equipped personal digital assistant (PDA), linked with blood glucose management software and DiaBetNet, could assist in diabetes management among youth. "Research has shown that more frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels improves diabetes control, so we've been looking for approaches that encourage patients and their families to monitor their blood glucose levels," Dr. Laffel said. Improving diabetes control helps to prevent complications, such as blindness, stroke, and kidney disease, which are associated with prolonged high blood glucose levels.

About the DAILY Study

The four-week pilot study trial included 40 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes who were receiving their care at Joslin Clinic in Boston. The participants were divided into two groups: the Game Group and the Control Group. Th

Contact: Marjorie Dwyer
Joslin Diabetes Center

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