New Research and Old Make for Interesting Listening at the Diabetes UK Volunteer Conference - Dr Alasdair Rankin

 Dr Alasdair Rankin is the head researcher for Diabetes UK and often the go to man for his thoughts and opinions on new research within the press, so you may have heard of him before. Although he was also referenced to a lot in the blogs I posted during Diabetes Week last year as the topic for that year, was research. Dr Rankin gave a fascinating talk, not just about the research that is going on at the moment but also the projects that Diabetes UK has funded in the past. You’ll be amazed especially if you have Type 1 diabetes, the baring that the research has had on all of our lives and diabetes care.

Part of Doctor Rankin’s presentation was a brief explanation of diabetes developments through history, focussing on the key scientific breakthroughs that had been funded by Diabetes UK. The history of diabetes is of particular interest to me. I love being at events and having the opportunity to speak to people who remember the older regimes of diabetes. It reminds me every time how fortunate I am not to have to be drawing up my insulin from an old fashioned syringe for example. Or as Dr Rankin mentioned- conducting blood testing by peeing on the garden floor and seeing how quickly the ants are drawn to it, to measure how much sugar is present.

Did you know that it was Diabetes UK that funded the research that produced the insulin pen? Something that we all take for granted, but how amazing is it that our insulin therapy is completely mobile and is often mistaken for an actual writing pen it's so discreet. Rather than for what it is. Or if you receive retinopathy testing from the van that goes around opposed to having to go to your local hospital, another Diabetes UK funded research project. Doctor Rankin spoke a bit about the modern research that was being carried out in Wales too. This was something I felt particularly thankful for because doing amazing research for children with diabetes is Professor Lesley Lowes.

Professor Lowes' current research is a study based on whether diagnosis is better for children when they go into hospital or go home. This is a subject particularly close to my heart because Lesley was my paediatric diabetes nurse when I was diagnosed myself. She was there for me from the day I was diagnosed on May 12th 2001 and continues to be to this day (although I’ve since moved to the adult diabetes centre I hasten to add!). As it happens I wasn’t kept in overnight when I was diagnosed, I was let home and Lesley along with my other amazing paediatric nurse at the time Corrina were at my house first thing the next morning teaching me and supporting me in my diabetes. I know this made a difference because every time I’ve looked back on the event of my diagnosis, the stressful part by far was the hospital. Never the part where I was at home doing injections, changing my diet and learning how to test blood sugars and that’s with complete thanks to them. And also with thanks to other medical professionals such as Dr Rankin making all of the difference to people with diabetes in 2014 and beyond.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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