medwireNews: Giving children continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) from the point of diabetes diagnosis gives their caregivers greater confidence to manage hypoglycemia and reduces their diabetes-related distress, shows a randomized trial.
Speaking to medwireNews, Tim Jones (University of Western Australia, Perth), who was not involved in the study, said: “It’s a question we’ve all been asking ourselves: should we do this or will this make their lives harder?”
Noting how stressful a diabetes diagnosis is for children and their families, he said that “this will make us more comfortable about giving people CGM from the start.”
The researchers enrolled 55 children, aged an average of 11 years, who had been diagnosed with diabetes less than 30 days previously and randomly assigned them to receive immediate CGM or to go on a waiting list for 6 months (during which time they underwent 1 week/month of masked CGM).
CGM had the expected significant effect on the time spent in hypoglycemia; children in the CGM group spent 2% of their time with blood glucose levels below 70 mg/dL, whereas those in the control group were in the hypoglycemic range for 7% of the first 3 months and 5% of months 3 to 6.
Alongside these improvements, the children’s caregivers (one per child) reported significantly greater confidence that they or their child could manage hypoglycemia in multiple situations if they had CGM, despite their children spending less time in hypoglycemia. There was also a strong trend (p=0.05) toward less diabetes-related distress, as shown by lower scores on the Problem Areas In Diabetes scale.
However, the CGM intervention had no detectable effect on the children’s quality of life during the 6 months of use, the researchers reported at the 12th ATTD conference in Berlin, Germany.
“We want to look at it a little bit longer to see if there’s some point when the kids have more benefit from using CGM,” researcher Korey Hood (Stanford University, California, USA) told medwireNews, adding that they intend to follow up the study participants for 2 years in total.
But he stressed the benefits for caregivers from this very early stage. “They learn early on skills that help them with the most frustrating parts of diabetes,” he said, adding: “I think the establishment of those skills earlier on will lead to people feeling more efficacious and being able to manage it as they go along, which leads to less burden.”
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