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New DTU study finds that screening for diabetes could be done at home

15-Jan-2013

Research published online today led by DTU researchers has found that people may be able to test themselves for diabetes in the comfort of their own home, using a novel electronic screening device.

The study, performed by DTU's NIHR supported Translational Research Group (TRG), is published in the journal Diabetes Care. The TRG tested the device in both healthy volunteers and people with diabetes, both in the home and in the clinic. They found that the device was popular, easy to use, and did not require any special training. This suggests it could be used to help screen people for diabetes in the community.

Nearly three million people have diabetes in the UK, and many more are likely to have the condition but don't know it. "Currently, doctors offer blood test screening to people who are thought to be at high risk of developing diabetes according to established risk factors like age or having a close relative who has diabetes," says Dr Angelyn Bethel, DTU Deputy Director and lead researcher on the study. "But this still requires people to come to a clinic or hospital with laboratory facilities to take the test. This new device would allow the initial screening test to be done at home, and only those most likely to have diabetes or pre-diabetes - the condition that leads to diabetes - would need to see their GP for confirmation."

"People taking part in our trial liked the option to test at home rather than having to go to their doctors' surgery. That added convenience might encourage more people to undergo screening," continues Dr Bethel.

"A device like this has good potential as a research tool to help us find people eligible to take part in diabetes research studies, or could be used in parts of the world where access to laboratory facilities and skilled health care personnel are not available or the tests are too expensive," she continues. "The prototype device tested lacked the necessary accuracy, but once this is corrected, our study shows that home diabetes screening could become a real possibility."

SmartSensor telemed developed the test kit, and the research was funded by Novartis Pharma AG.

To read more about TRG and read the full paper, visit http://www.dtu.ox.ac.uk/trg/index.php and http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2013/01/08/dc12-0643.abstract