Research within the John Hunter Children's Hospital Diabetes and Endocrine Service aims to improve the care and outcomes of children and adolescents with diabetes or endocrine disorders. Our research has improved the understanding of how best to manage these children and focuses on improving both their quality of life and long term outcomes. By conducting research studies, our service ensures that the children we look after continue to benefit from best management and are given the opportunity to trial the newest strategies for their care.
Our centre initiates internationally important clinical studies, as well as joining with other paediatric diabetes and endocrine centres around the world in their research. All research undertaken within the hospital has approval from the Hunter New England Local Health District Ethics Committee. If your child is looked after in the Diabetes or Endocrine Clinics, you may be asked if she or he can take part in one or more study. If you would like to know more about any of the research studies we are conducting, please ask your Endocrinologist or a member of the Diabetes Team.
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and the Hunter Area has the highest incidence of type 1 diabetes in Australia. We currently are undertaking a variety of studies which will lead to improved health of children with diabetes and their families.
Good blood glucose control after meals is important in the prevention of the problems caused by diabetes. We know that giving insulin to match the amount of carbohydrate in a meal is important in controlling blood glucose. Foods high in fat and protein also effect post-meal blood glucose levels. The aims of our studies are to examine the effect of foods of differing compositions on blood glucose levels to optimise blood glucose control after eating. This is very important in the prevention of cardio-vascular disease, one of the long-term complications of diabetes.
New Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology is employed in these studies which also provide insights into modifications that may be necessary to insulin doses or lifestyle management to improve glucose control. These studies have international relevance in terms of the nutrition education provided to children on intensive insulin therapy.
Insulin Pump Cannula Study
This study aims to answer which subcutaneous cannula characteristics are involved in scar formation and discomfort in children using insulin pumps. At the Diabetes Clinic at the John Hunter Children's Hospital it has been observed that there are children and adolescents on insulin pump therapy who have developed scarring from the use of the pump cannulas and/or have a lot of discomfort with the cannula that they use. As a result of this we would like to see if any specific cannula has more benefits than another, in reducing scar formation and discomfort. This information has potential to improve the care for all children on insulin pump therapy world-wide.
What is TRIGR? Trial to Reduce the Incidence of type 1 diabetes in the Genetically at Risk. This is the first multinational primary prevention trial in type 1 diabetes that will assess the relationship of formula consumption to the likelihood of development of type 1 diabetes. This 10 year study is the first diabetes trial to intervene before babies develop antibodies that present prior to type 1 diabetes development. TRIGR has study centres in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
The Gosford Study
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life threatening condition that affects children with diabetes. This study, conducted in Gosford, NSW, aims to investigate if community education about the symptoms of diabetes prevents diabetic ketoacidosis in newly diagnosed children. The study is funded by Diabetes Australia NSW. Other participating hospitals are Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children's Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital.
The John Hunter Children's Hospital Endocrine Service also cares for children and adolescents with Endocrine disorders and conducts research into the care of these children.
Hypo-pituitarism occurs due to autoimmunity. We are currently conducting research into the auto-antibodies and antigens responsible for damage to the pituitary.