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Diabetes

The Diabetes Group works closely with The Royal Children's Hospital diabetes clinics. The clinics provide primary care for approximately 1500 Victorian children with type 1 diabetes. The research group forms part of the Centre for Hormone Research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, and has an active diabetes research program which aims to address the day-to-day needs of the clinic’s patients and the broader community of children with diabetes.

In particular, the group’s research efforts over the last five years have focused on the impact of diabetes on the developing brain, mental health and quality of life. The group has also been actively involved in clinical outcome, epidemiologic and pre-diabetes intervention studies.

The group’s main aim is to conduct high-quality research projects. Completed research projects go on to provide new treatments and more support for our children and can change clinical practice worldwide. Funding for grants is limited and extremely competitive. The community can assist by volunteering time and services, participating in our fundraising and public awareness events, donating or raising funds for specific projects. Contact Diabetes research on 03 9936 6547 to make a donation.

Group Leaders: 
Dr Michele O'Connell
Role: 
Paediatric Endocrinologist
A/Prof Elisabeth Norman
Role: 
Research Neuropsychologist
Rebecca Gebert
Role: 
Diabetes Nurse Educator
Dr Heather Gilbertson
Role: 
Dietician
Amy Brown
Role: 
Research Assistant
Julia McCombe
Role: 
Research Nurse

Adolescent type 1 diabetes cardio-renal intervention trial (AdDIT)
Principal Investigator: Professor Fergus Cameron
This study is investigating whether the use of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACEI), HMG-CoA Reductase inhibitors (statins), or a combination of both, will reduce the risk of adolescents with type 1 diabetes developing cardiovascular and renal disease, compared to a placebo. Over 300 participants, identified as being at high risk, have been recruited in this double-blind, four-year study across the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

A randomised controlled trial comparing the impact of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy and multiple daily injection regimes upon indices of behaviour, cognition and glycaemia in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes
Principal Investigator: Professor Fergus Cameron
A previous pilot study showed some improvements in behaviour and mood and some markers of brain function six to eight weeks after starting insulin pump therapy. In this study, researchers want to compare what happens to behaviour, mood and brain function in a group of young people who change from using multiple daily injections to using insulin pump therapy, with a group who continue to use multiple daily injections.

Predictive Low-Glucose Suspend Study: Stage 1 (In-Clinic Studies)
Principal Investigator: Professor Fergus Cameron
The Predictive Low Glucose Management System (PLGM) consists of an approved Medtronic VEO pump, subcutaneous glucose monitoring system and the predictive algorithm which communicates with the insulin pump via a translator. In this study an episode of mild hypoglycaemia is induced by a bolus of subcutaneous insulin. The aims of this study are to determine whether the automated PLGM system prevents hypoglycaemia from occurring compared to no PLGM intervention. The PLGM system is a potential precursor step to "closed loop" insulin delivery that will allow near normal glucose control with minimal input from patients. 

The Impact of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia on brain function
Principal Investigator: Dr Michele O’Connell
This project aims to use MRI to study a group of adolescents who are performing a memory task while their blood glucose levels are in the normal range, and when those levels have been artificially raised or lowered.  This will allow researchers to study what is happening to the nerve cells in the brain when blood glucose levels are abnormal and what effect this has on memory.  These findings will be compared with those of children of similar age who do not have diabetes.