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Norfolk diabetes prevention study hits 7,000 mark

PUBLISHED: 06:30 31 July 2014 | UPDATED: 08:50 31 July 2014

Dr Melanie Pascale, of the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study.

Dr Melanie Pascale, of the Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study.

Archant Norfolk

An ambitious research project to screen 10,000 people at risk of getting type 2 diabetes is close to reaching the three quarters mark.

The £2.5m Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study was launched in 2011, and has since expanded into Suffolk, to measure the blood sugar levels of people more likely to being diagnosed with the condition and support those at risk to make lifestyle changes to slow down its progression.

The pioneering project, run by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the University of East Anglia, has now screened more than 7,000 recruits, despite recent research that said telling people they have borderline diabetes has no medical value.

Research, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that the prevalence of pre-diabetes - higher than normal blood glucose levels - tripled between 2003 and 2011 from 11.6% to 35.3%. But experts from University College London (UCL) and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the US said that giving people the pre-diabetes label had no clinical worth.

Melanie Pascale, study manager for the Norfolk project, said she was initially “horrified” by the UCL report, but agreed with the researchers saying it was difficult for patients to make lasting lifestyle changes on their own and without support.

So far, around 400 people from Norfolk and Suffolk have been found to be in the early stages of developing type 2 diabetes and have started an intervention scheme learning about how healthy eating and adopting a healthier lifestyle can slow its advance.

Dr Pascale said the results of the Norfolk study were set to be published in 2018.

“We have probably the biggest diabetes prevention study in Europe and it is the most ambitious and it is the biggest trial that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has sponsored.”

“Some of them are bringing their glucose levels under control and bringing levels back to normal. It has had a huge impact on some of them,” she said.

• For more information about the prevention study, call 01603 597300 or visit www.norfolkdiabetespreventionstudy.nhs.uk

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