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Diabetes in Scotland

Does the care and treatment of young diabetics vary depending on geographical and cultural factors?

A two-year study, spearheaded by Dr Alexandra Greene of the University of St Andrews Department of Social Anthropology, will focus on people aged 13 to 25 and examine why there are differences depending on where those with diabetes live and establish whether cultural factors such as family structure affect the care and treatment of the condition.

The study is funded by a £100,000 grant from Diabetes UK, formerly the British Diabetic Association and the leading charity working for diabetics.

As part of the Scottish Study Group for the Care of Diabetes in the Young (SSGCDY), Dr Greene will observe clinics in diabetes centres throughout Scotland, looking at the way they are organised, interviewing patients, their families and health professionals, examining patient/carer interaction and, ultimately, building up a comparative and descriptive picture of each centre. Dr Greene’s findings will be fed back to the Scottish Study Group and DUK and lead to improvements in the care of the condition.

The Scottish study follows Dr Greene’s comparative study of centres in Italy and Scotland when it emerged that the care of diabetics in Italy appeared better due to the presence of a more “holistic” family/social support structure.

Dr Greene believes that, by focusing purely on Scotland, the study could prove crucial in the care of the next generation of yongsters with diabetes. The research proposes to emulate the cross-cultural research with this original inter-cultural project within Scotland. By observing centres with differing average glycaemic control, the study will identify social, psychological, organisational and cultural interventions which can be used to improve the strategies employed for good quality care. It is hoped that better advice and support for young peope with diabetes, their families and health care professionals will be available from this study and that inequalities in health service provison and, more importantly clinical outcome, will be eradicated.

According to Diabetes UK, over 1.4 million people in the UK have diabetes and another million probably have the condition but are unaware of it. The organisation is the largest funders dedicated to diabetes research in the UK with an annual research budget of around £4.5 million.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS – Dr Greene is available for interview/photographs. Please contact Claire Grainger – contact details below – to arrange.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: diabetes- alexgreene/standrews/chg/31oct2001

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