About 12 months ago, JCU started the world-first research project, which is assessing diabetic patients and the link between how they walk, skin blood glucose molecules and its relationship to foot ulcers.
Principal investigator Mal Fernando, Clinical Podiatrist and PhD Candidate at JCU, said the project was looking at how diabetes affects foot complications, specifically the risk of foot ulceration.
“People with diabetic foot ulcers have a poor quality of life associated with multiple visits to specialists, dressing appointments and ongoing management until the ulcers heal,” he said.
“This can have a profound impact on the patient, their friends and families.”
Mr Fernando said foot ulceration was responsible for significant numbers of limb amputations in Australia.
“Therefore it is really important that we understand this condition better to prevent amputations in people with type 2 diabetes,” he said.
While the study had recruited more than 100 participants to date, researchers were still seeking people with type 2 diabetes living in the Townsville health district with or without foot ulcers (wounds).
“We are looking for participants with type 2 diabetes, without a history of orthopedic surgery of the lower limb who are able to walk without assistance,” he said.
“They would need to come in for five visits to JCU throughout the course of 12 months to be involved.” Car park permits will be provided.
Mr Fernando said study participants would have skin level measurements of highly reactive diabetes-related molecules (blood glucose molecules) and receive feedback on these measurements and risk of complications.
“We are using some state of the art technology to measure the levels of blood glucose molecules at the skin (non-invasively) using a florescent light, which is completely harmless,” he said.
“This has far better potential for being a good indicator of tissue damage from diabetes compared to most diabetes blood tests we use today.”
Mr Fernando said participants would receive feedback of their assessments.
“No treatment would be offered as a part of the study, but people will benefit from having new assessments of blood glucose molecules at the skin level – on non-invasively – and will have the opportunity to have a comprehensive assessment of their walking pattern, which can often change due to changes from diabetes-related nerve damage that can go unnoticed, then leading to the chance of increased pressure and ulceration.
“Therefore the study will assist people’s management of their type 2 diabetes and increase their knowledge about the condition.
“To our knowledge, assessment of these blood glucose molecules using a fluorescent light has not been attempted before; so this is a great opportunity to be involved with some groundbreaking research into type 2 diabetes related complications, based in Townsville.”
The researchers hope to recruit up to another 100 people before the end of the year.
If people are interested, they can contact Mr Fernando on (07) 4781 3144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants can enrol until November this year.
For interviews or photos, contact Mr Fernando on (07) 4781 3144.
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175