Going undetected

Researchers are tackling the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes through early detection

Professor George Moschonis is dedicated to improving the identification of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and those at high risk of developing the disease.

His research aims to address this through the development of more effective and larger-scale screening methods for type 2 diabetes, which inform the implementation of tailored diet and lifestyle optimisation intervention programs.

Professor Moschonis believes that the integration of these screening and intervention approaches within the existing healthcare system and though the use of appropriate digital health tools is key in maximising their scalability and cost-effectiveness.

“Previous research that has sought to develop effective type 2 diabetes intervention programs has relied on opportunistic screening and has not targeted populations most vulnerable to developing the disease.”

Currently, Professor Moschonis is the Chief Investigator for Australia of the ‘DigiCare4You’ study, an international research collaboration co-funded by the European Union and the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council.

“The project uses schools as the community ‘entry points’ to facilitate screening of adults – such as student's parents and grandparents – at high risk for or with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes,” says Professor Moschonis.

“School teachers are trained to support screening and they are also trained to deliver health and nutrition education to all families of children enrolled in these schools.”

Those who are identified as being at risk or who already have type 2 diabetes are then referred to community healthcare centres where they receive advice and care from trained health professionals.

“Additionally, they are supported by a mobile health app that monitors their blood sugar levels in real-time and provides recommendations for the most effective self-management of their condition,” adds Professor Moschonis.

This innovative approach to screening, monitoring and intervening in real time, says Professor Moschonis, promises to make a significant impact on health and wellbeing.

“We will be able to access even the most vulnerable segments of the population that are usually those most in need of type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment.”

“Our next steps are to adjust and implement the intervention program we have tested overseas, in the Australian socio-cultural context too.”

“The ultimate goal will be to reinforce the Australian healthcare system's capacity to effectively screen the population at a national level and provide those most in need with effective intervention.”