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Should New Zealanders be screened for prediabetes?

Thursday 19 January 2017 10:53am

Professor Jim Mann, co-director of the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre (EDOR), and co-author Dr Paul Drury, have commented on new research that calls into question a blood test used to identify diabetes risk.

The Oxford University study and accompanying editorial, published in the British Medical Journal this month, have raised questions regarding the most appropriate approach to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in people with prediabetes.

This topic is highly relevant to New Zealand where around quarter of a million people are known to have diabetes, mostly T2DM. Many more have undiagnosed and asymptomatic diabetes, and an even greater number are at high risk of developing T2DM; they are often described as having prediabetes.

There has been debate in the British media regarding the government’s diabetes prevention programme in the light of these findings, and it seems appropriate to consider their relevance to New Zealand where the impact of T2DM is even greater than in the UK.

Professor Jim Mann and colleague Paul Drury, Honorary Consultant in Diabetes, Auckland District Health Board, examine this research in the New Zealand context:

  • Is measuring haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a measure of blood sugar, a useful test for prediabetes?
  • What exactly is ‘prediabetes’, and how well is it defined?
  • Is there a case for retaining the HbA1c test?
  • What about individual versus population approaches to prevent diabetes?
  • Where do we find the right balance for us?

Read the full article in Sciblog:

Diabetes screening test important for New Zealand

Original British Medical Journal article, and editorial:

Further information

Read about our diabetes research projects