Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Maudsley psychiatrists help to prevent diabetes

Psychiatrists at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust are helping people take charge of their health and prevent type 2 diabetes by using wearable technology.

With Type 2 diabetes causing around 22,000 early deaths in the UK each year and costing the NHS £1 million per hour, preventing people from developing the disease has become vital.

It is estimated that one in three of the UK adult population have ‘pre-diabetes’, meaning they are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (a long-term condition that causes a person’s blood sugar to become too high). Intervention to promote lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of diabetes, avoiding medication and associated health complications.

A new app, called Nujjer, combines a highly sensitive wristband which monitors user activity, sleep patterns and eating frequency with a smartphone application. The app has a range of educational sessions that target diet, physical activity and mental resilience.

Psychiatrists at the Trust helped to develop motivational messaging, to help individuals reach goals such as reducing weight and increasing physical activity.

This project involves British technology company Buddi Nujjer and is part of a national pilot Heathier You: The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. The app is currently being trialled in GP surgeries in the London borough of Lambeth. Results from the trial are expected in spring 2018.

Principal Investigator of the clinical trial and co-creator of the motivational feedback and content, Professor Khalida Ismail, said: "It is our hope that the programme will be used on a large scale to support prevention of diabetes, obesity and related conditions, leading to improvements in the wellbeing, and mental and physical health of our local population through a supportive, self-management, and preventative approach".

King’s Health Partners and Buddi Nujjer were awarded a grant from Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to collaborate on the development of this unique technological intervention.

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