Mindfulness in Type 1 diabetes; an invitation to take part in the MILESTONE study

Mindfulness in Type 1 diabetes; an invitation to take part in the MILESTONE study

Researchers are looking for adult volunteers with Type 1 diabetes to take part in the MILESTONE study, which will teach mindfulness as a way to help manage Type 1 diabetes and also improve emotional wellbeing.

A study is under way at the University of Aberdeen that will explore whether a technique similar to meditation can be used to help people successfully look after their Type 1 diabetes.

About one third of adults with diabetes experience significant levels of anxiety or depression and this can make it even more difficult for them to effectively manage their condition. This study will test whether practising mindfulness leads to lower blood glucose levels and reduces anxiety and depression.   If successful, this will lay the groundwork for a larger-scale study.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact the research team

Telephone: 07946-247746 or Email: nhsg.psychology.diabetes@nhs.net

Dr Andy Keen, a consultant health psychologist specialising in diabetes at the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian, and chief investigator of the study explains:

“To keep their blood glucose levels within certain limits, people with Type 1 diabetes have to continually balance three key aspects of their life: carbohydrate in their food drives blood glucose levels up, whereas injecting insulin and engaging in activity lowers glucose levels. As well as trying their best to manage their condition, like everyone else, people with Type 1 diabetes have to deal with the usual ups and downs of life. It’s not surprising that some people with diabetes can struggle to keep-up the effort and interest needed to manage such a complex condition, nor that they can become frustrated, anxious or depressed.

 “Mindfulness is a skill - a way of helping people to focus on the ‘here and now’ of their lives, and disengage with unhelpful ways of thinking, such as worry and rumination, that drive and maintain emotional difficulties like anxiety and depression.

“If you change the way people think, then you change the way they feel. We definitely know that anxiety and depression can be significant barriers to effectively managing diabetes, and by alleviating these we can give people the opportunity to invest more time and energy into looking after themselves. ” 

Participants will be expected to attend a mindfulness group one evening a week for eight weeks, and practice mindfulness at home. In addition to observing how well participants manage their blood glucose levels, and their levels of anxiety and depression before, during and after the study, researchers will be evaluating the extent to which people with Type 1 diabetes are keen to engage in this kind of approach. 

The study team involves researchers at the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling, and consultant medical staff at NHS Grampian and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.