ADA 2014: Scientific Study Shows Support Groups Are Good For You!

As Dave Berry used to say "I'm not making this up!". There was a study presented at ADA 2014 where the researchers offered college aged (18-25) people with type-1 diabetes a weekly "diabetes club" where they could interact with others who had type-1, ask questions, and hear 15 minute talks on topics of interest. The people who attended these meetings lowered their A1c numbers by about 1.2, which was statistically significant compared to the people who did not attend. As a general rule, the FDA considers drugs that lower A1c by 0.5 to be effective, so this result would be more than enough to get a drug approved, if this treatment had been a drug.

Here is their summary:

The mean HbA1c level was reduced at 3 months after the start of the program (from 8.8% to 7.6%), but even more pleasing was that also the long-term follow-up, after one year, confirmed the sustainability of the results (with mean HbA1c level 7.4%), ... The frequency of severe and mild hypoglycemia was also reduced

I don't think this finding is specific to one support group. It shows the importance of peer support groups for type-1 diabetes. I don't think anyone on TuDiabetes would doubt this, but it's good to see it supported in the scientific literature.

Source: Abstract 2312-PO

Although I focused on this one abstract, the concept of peer support, and different kinds of support groups, was a very popular one at ADA 2014. Several of these studies focused on using on-line support groups of various kinds. My memory is that there were 10+ abstracts on related topics, including one or two from Stanford University Hospital.

Joshua Levy ;

publicjoshualevy at gmail dot com

All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF, JDCA, or Tidepool news, views, policies or opinions. My daughter has type-1 diabetes and participates in clinical trials, which might be discussed here. My blog contains a more complete non-conflict of interest statement. Thanks to everyone who helps with the blog.

Thanks, joshualevy