[Newcastle, UK / Implementation] - Researchers may have uncovered a promising new approach to the management of a chronic condition affecting 10% of the British population - diabetes.
Researchers from the Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria have unveiled a prototype personal health monitoring system that uses medical sensors, mobile phones, and cloud computing to help people with the condition.
Their approach - designed for people working to manage Type 1 diabetes, as opposed to Type 2, which is often lifestyle-related - is to employ the power of the cloud and mobile devices to allow people′s health to be monitored and analysed wherever they are, not just when they are able to attend a clinic.
And to test their ideas, they are starting by studying the physiological performance of cyclists as they tackle a gruelling ride - 1,000 miles away at the top of the Alps, and at the same time, via the cloud. Some, but not all, of the riders on the mHealth Grand Tour, an exercise designed to promote awareness of diabetes and the development and delivery of mHealth (mobile Health) have Type 1 diabetes; the study is looking at data on their blood sugar, as well as that of others in the event.
"[This] is really about demonstrating how much things most of us carry in our everyday lives, mobile phones, hold the potential to help living with diabetes," said Professor Mike Trenell, Director of MoveLab and NIHR Senior Fellow at Newcastle University, who is leading the trial.
For Professor Paul Watson, Director of the Digital Institute at Newcastle University, "Cloud provides the computing power needed to store and process the vast amounts of data that this will generate. "This study is an important demonstration of this new approach."
"When someone with Type 1 diabetes becomes more physically active, they also become more insulin sensitive so their body responds more quickly - and this may disrupt their diabetes control," adds another of the academics exploring the idea, Dr Daniel West, senior lecturer in Exercise and Health Nutrition at Northumbria.
"If, when we have studied the data, we are able to determine what is different in how the athletes respond then we can draw lessons for the wider population living with Type 1 diabetes and improve the advice we offer about how to take up more exercise safely," he added.
Live streaming of the data from the trial will be shown at Newcastle University, the host of the British Science Festival, from 7-12 September. The two Unis are associate partners for the Festival, which is one of Europe′s largest and longest-running public science events. [gf]
More information on the British Science Festival website