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Diabetes research project underway in Cardiff

07 October 2008

Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust has become the first centre to recruit children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes as part of a national study funded by Diabetes UK.

This new study which is being led by Cardiff University experts seeks to establish the best environment (home or hospital) for managing the treatment of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The team, led by Dr Lesley Lowes from Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies and Professor John Gregory from the Department of Child Health, with full coordination provided by the South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU) in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health, will investigate the advantages of home management and hospitalisation for children with diabetes.

Dr Lowes said, "Children with type 1 diabetes have traditionally been hospitalised at diagnosis but are increasingly starting treatment at home. Currently there is no high quality evidence regarding psychological, social, physical or economic outcomes of home or hospital management."

"The aim of this research is to determine whether it is better to admit to hospital for initiation of insulin treatment and education of child and family, or whether results would be better if initial management was provided at home."

The study will be coordinated by Cardiff University and undertaken by eight centres across the UK; Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, Southampton University Hospitals Trust, Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust, Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust, Nottingham Universities NHS Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Foundation Hospitals Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. Each centre will be responsible for recruiting 30 newly diagnosed children and their families to the study.

Dr Iain Frame, Research Manager at Diabetes UK, said: "Children with Type 1 diabetes require specialist care, and where this care takes place depends very much on the needs of the child and the family situation. Diabetes UK has funded this research because we hope that it will help healthcare professionals and families to make informed decisions about the best environment in which care should take place and we look forward to seeing the results. This is a good example of Diabetes UK funding research with the potential to make a real difference to the lives of people with diabetes."

There are strong and opposing views as to where best to manage newly diagnosed children. Although some units admit all children, others try to keep children out of hospital.

In the study, 240 children with type 1 diabetes (clinically well at diagnosis) aged 0-17 years from eight UK centres will be randomly selected to start treatment at home or in hospital from diagnosis but will receive the same support and education.

Best practice will be determined by assessing and comparing parents' and children's psychological adjustment, coping and adaptation, diabetes knowledge and satisfaction with service provision, children’s glycaemic control and well being, health service and patient borne costs, and by exploring parents’ and children’s experiences from their perspective.


Notes to Editors:

1. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES).

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of Cardiff University having been founded by Royal Charter in 1883. Today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

Visit the University website at:

2. Diabetes UK is the charity for people with diabetes. We fund medical research, provide information and support to people with diabetes and campaign on their behalf.

3. Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust is one of the largest Trusts in the UK, providing health services for over 500,000 people living in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. It also serves a wider population of 2.5 million people across South and Mid Wales for specialties such as paediatric intensive care, specialist children's services, renal services, cardiac services, neurology, bone marrow transplantation and medical genetics.

Further Information:

Dr Lesley Lowes PhD

Research Fellow/Practitioner (Paediatric Diabetes)

Nursing Health and Social Care Research Centre

School of Medicine

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 2091 5435


Maria Lam

Public Affairs and Press, Diabetes UK

Tel: 020 7424 1166

Lowri Jones

Public Relations Office

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 2087 4731