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R U taking UR insulin?
Messages will be sent to teenagers' mobiles
Messages will be sent to teenagers' mobiles
Diabetic teenagers are to be supported by text messages from their doctors in a pioneering scheme.

A team from Dundee University, UK, is about to begin trials of the "Sweet Talk" project.

There are an estimated 20,000 young people with Type I diabetes in Britain.

The Dundee team quote Scottish research which shows many do not control their blood sugar levels properly.


get ur friends 2 b active

Text message idea
This can be linked to complications in later life, such as kidney failure, blindness heart disease and stroke.

They also estimate that around a quarter of young people do not take their insulin dose as prescribed.

Supportive messages

In a bid to support teenagers in a way they will take notice of, doctors and computer experts are compiling a library of messages.

These include: "ur in control of ur diabetes", "get ur friends 2 b active", "put a positive spin on ur diabetes" and "leaky sites :( change ur site" - advice for people who need to change the part of the body into which they inject their insulin.


Some teenagers have difficulty managing diabetes on a day-to-day basis

Dr Victoria Franklin, University of Dundee
Teenagers will talk to doctors about managing their diabetes and any problems at their regular hospital appointments.

Text messages applicable to them will then be sent out to them to support them between clinic visits.

The text messages will be co-ordinated on a computer system, which could handle a limitless number of patients.

Teenagers will also be able to devise their own messages, and may also be able to send messages back.

Researchers are also hoping to create a website for the project.

The trial of the text messaging service hopes to recruit around 100 diabetics aged between eight and 18 in the Tayside area.

Responsibility

Dr Victoria Franklin, Diabetes UK Paediatric Research Fellow at the University of Dundee, spearheaded the scheme, which won two Medical Futures Innovations Awards this month.

She told BBC News Online: "We wanted to create a scheduled text messaging service so we could keep in touch with patients in between clinics.

"Some teenagers have difficulty managing diabetes on a day-to-day basis, remembering to take their insulin, frequent blood sugar tests. We want to try to help them."

She added it could be hard when young people had to start managing their diabetes themselves.

"Most teenagers want responsibility, but sometimes it's difficult to take it all in, and it's a time of rebellion.

"Part of the reason we chose text-messaging is because it is part of the teenage culture and it's what they do to communicate.

"We hope the messages will be motivational rather than nagging."

Dr Moira Murphy, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: "We are delighted that Dr Franklin has been awarded for her idea on improving diabetes management in teenagers.

"Her proposal highlights a particularly worrying problem among adolescents and we are pleased that her efforts are receiving this additional recognition which is much deserved."

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07 Sep 01 | Health
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