Diabetes

Research area:  Stem cell biology

Focussing on the impact of diabetes on the developing brain, mental health and quality of life.

We aim to:

  1. clearly define the impacts of type 1 diabetes on the developing brain.
  2. define optimal utilisation of diabetes-related technological tools and clinical care pathways in the care of children and adolescents.
  3. make non-physiologic subcutaneous insulin therapy a second-line rather than first-line therapy in type 1 diabetes.
  4. trial novel therapies in youth with type 2 diabetes.

In the past five years, the MCRI Diabetes Group have presented 37 abstracts at various scientific meetings. Our work was selected for the President’s Oral Session at the American Diabetes Association's 75th Scientific Sessions, 2015. Our group has won the Best Oral Presentation Award. International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes Annual Conferences on five occasions (2008, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018).

Our national and international profile and the work of the MCRI Diabetes Group have been well canvassed and have had a significant impact on clinical practice at an international, national, and state level. The areas of greatest impact are an awareness of the impacts of diabetes on brain development and mental health, the importance of metabolic goal setting in clinical care and techniques for measuring glycaemic variation on continuous glucose measurement data sets.

Our group has:

  • Been one of the first to highlight the high prevalence of DSM IV mental health disorders in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
  • Been the first to show that childhood diabetes is associated with the ‘rule of thirds’—loss of 1/3 of a standard deviation in full-scale IQ, one-third of children have a mental health diagnosis, one-third of children do not complete secondary schooling and one-third of children drop out of adult care within 2 years of transition.
  • Conducted the first RCT in the world of sensor-augmented insulin pump therapy.
  • Derived a new metric (CONGA) for measuring glycaemic variation in continuous glucose measurement datasets and defined minimal dataset qualities for accurate measurement.
  • Been the first to conduct an RCT of case management of adolescents as they transition to adult care- showing that the intervention increased the frequency of attendance post-transition.
  • Derived a new questionnaire-based approach that predicts success or otherwise in patients when adopting diabetes technology in their clinical care.
  • Shown that subclinical cerebral oedema occurs during diabetic ketoacidosis and that this predicts cognitive outcomes in the medium term.
  • Defined novel robust and repeatable functional MR outcomes (ASL and BOLD) when brains are exposed to hypo- and hyperglycaemia. These provide novel targets for intervention trials.
  • Been the first to show that altered connectivity of the default mode network in brain activity results from hypo- and hyperglycaemia.

Contact us

Professor Fergus Cameron