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Find out the latest news about JDRF's research and fundraising events.

Displaying hypoglycaemia


Is pure technology the only reason people who use insulin pumps can achieve better glucose control?

Professor Simon Heller, a member of JDRF’s Scientific Advisory Committee has just launched a trial to answer some of the questions he discussed in an interview with Type 1Discovery magazine two years ago…

In Type 1 Discovery issue 50, we interviewed Professor Heller about hypoglycaemia and ways people with type 1 can manage their condition to maintain good control and avoid hypos as far as possible.

In the article Professor Heller talked about both the Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating (DAFNE) programme and the role of technology in treating type 1. He also discussed how complex it is for doctors and people with type 1 alike to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of different ways of treating type 1 for different individuals.

Most research around starting to use an insulin pump in adulthood has been done comparing people who start using a pump with people who continue to use multiple daily injections, without any additional training. This means there is a gap in the research evidence. It is possible that the training people receive when they begin using a pump, particularly around carb counting, may be at least partly responsible for the improvements in control that studies on pump use suggest.

The Relative Effectiveness of Pump Therapy Over MDI and Structured Education (REPOSE) trial seeks to find out if this is the case. Volunteers to the study will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group will participate in the DAFNE course, while the other group will participate in DAFNE and begin using an insulin pump. Both groups will be followed up for two years, and the researchers will collect information on how glucose control in both groups changes during the trial. They will also collect a range of information about how people in the trial feel about their type 1 treatment, their quality of life, and importantly their fear of hypoglycaemia.

The results of the trial will help doctors and decision makers within the NHS to understand how information and training can work alongside different technical ways of treating type 1 diabetes. If the trial demonstrates an added benefit of insulin pumps above injections then the hope is that diabetes teams may be more willing to refer people for pump therapy which is relatively underused in the UK.

The trial is completely funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme. It is currently recruiting volunteers all around the country: if you are over 18, do not use a pump and have never done the DAFNE course, why not get in touch with the REPOSE team to see if a hospital near you is involved in the study?

Please contact:
Diana Papaioannou, REPOSE Trial Manager 
email: phone: 0114 222 0766
Lucy Wraith REPOSE Trial Support Officer 
email: phone:  0114 222 0866


Driving licence changes

We know that many of you are worried about changes to assessment for driving licences for people with type 1 that have recently been brought in following the implementation of a European Union Directive. Concerns have been raised about possible interpretations and assessment of "disabling hypoglycaemia" and awareness of hypoglycaemia, which could make it harder for some people who inject insulin to get a driving licence, or have it renewed.

We have discussed these concerns with Diabetes UK, which has been consulting with DVLA and other European diabetes organisations, and offered our full support in raising the issue with the UK Government and within the EU.

You can find out more about Diabetes UK's work on changes to driving licence assessment here. 


20% with type 1 miss work due to hypoglycaemia

Nearly one in five people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes regularly experience disruption to their working day due to hypoglycaemia. 

A new survey, focusing on productivity loss during hypoglycaemic events, was published this month in the journal Value in Health. The survey questioned 1,404 people with type 1 type 2 diabetes who had reported a hypoglycaemic event in the preceding month in the US, UK, Germany and France.

The study concluded that average loss of workplace productivity, per person, per month due to a night-time hypoglycaemic event was 14.7 hours for those that missed work.

Hypoglycaemia often occurs during the night and one in five people reported arriving late for work or missing a full day of work as a result. Approximately 18% of survey respondents also reported having to leave work early or miss a full day due to hypoglycaemia during the day.

Sarah Johnson, Director of Policy and Communications at JDRF said: “People with type 1 diabetes live with the threat of hypoglycaemia on a daily basis. Despite it being a serious and life-threatening health issue, many people without type 1 diabetes are unaware of it.”

This National Diabetes Week, JDRF is encouraging the public to understand how type 1 diabetes affects people in the UK to learn the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and to become hypo-aware, so people can help someone in an emergency. 


JDRF urges public to be ‘Hypo Aware’ in National Diabetes Week

As people affected by type 1, unfortunately many of you have experienced hypoglycaemia and live with the worry of either yourself or your child having a hypo. JDRF discovered that despite it being a serious life-threatening health issue, more than half (53 per cent) of UK population do not know it is a dangerous state of low blood glucose.

This YouGov survey of 2075 adults comes 90 years after scientists Banting and Best discovered insulin in the lab, and first saved the life of someone with type 1 diabetes. Since then, treatment has improved greatly, but because people living with type 1 diabetes are still dependent upon insulin injections or pump infusions, we recognise that this means living with the day to day fear of hypoglycaemia.

We are releasing these survey results today to mark National Diabetes Week. We are encouraging the general public to understand how type 1 diabetes affects people in the UK, to learn the symptoms of Hypoglycaemia and to become hypo-aware, so they could help someone in an emergency.

JDRF funded researchers at the University of Cambridge and around the world are currently developing an ‘artificial pancreas’, a piece of technology that may one day provide exactly the right amount of insulin in the body of someone with type 1 diabetes, exactly when it’s needed. This could be the end of hypoglycaemia, as the system would automatically regulate blood glucose levels, mimicking a healthy pancreas. You can read more about the research here