Using wearable technology to optimise management of type 2 diabetes

Using wearable technology to optimise management of type 2 diabetes

Project Title: Using wearable technology to optimise timing of concomitant metformin and exercise prescription
Funder: NHS Grampian Endowments
Duration: Project Completed
Research Team: Dr Brendan Gabriel, Ms Brenda Pena CarrilloDr Frank Thies, Dr Dimitra Blana, Professor Sam Philip


Project Summary

Metformin is one of the primary front-line treatments of Type 2 Diabetes. Additionally, exercise is a crucial preventative and therapeutic lifestyle intervention in the management of Type 2 Diabetes.

However, recent scientific evidence suggests that these 2 treatments (metformin and exercise) may interfere with each other in terms of the beneficial outcomes obtained from each treatment. Our previous research suggests that the time-of-day that people with Type 2 Diabetes perform exercise may change their blood sugar (an important component of Type 2 Diabetes treatment). In the aforementioned trial, morning exercise increased blood sugar compared with the participant’s normal blood sugar, while evening exercise reduced blood sugar compared with normal. Most of the subjects in this trial were taking metformin and it may be possible that this is partly behind the effect we observed.

Given these findings, we think it may be possible to further improve the beneficial outcomes of exercise and metformin treatment in people with Type 2 Diabetes by optimising the timing of exercise. We tested this by using cutting-edge wearable technology to remotely monitor subjects in real-time who were taking metformin and who we instructed to exercise at different times of the day.


Pena Carrillo B.J., Cope E., Gurel S., Traslosheros A., Kenny A., Mody N., Delibegovic M., Philip S., Thies F., Blana D., Gabriel B.M. (2023), Morning exercise and pre-breakfast metformin interact to reduce glycaemia in people with Type 2 Diabetes: a randomized crossover trial, medRxiv

  • EASO’s 29th annual European Congress on Obesity, 4-7 May 2022, Maastricht, Netherlands.
  • American Diabetes Association’s 82nd Scientific Sessions, June 3-7 2022, New Orleans, LA
  • NHS Grampian Symposium, Suttie Centre, Foresterhill, November 2022
  • Physiology in Focus, Tallinn, Estonia, September 2023