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Monitoring blood glucose is difficult for children

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses of childhood. Frequent blood glucose monitoring via finger pricks is essential for the management of type 1 diabetes but adds considerable treatment burden, especially for children.

As a result, many children do not test their blood glucose often enough, because of the social pressure to not be seen as “different”. In addition, the physical discomfort from pricking their fingers, and the fact that the technology is not very child-friendly, adds to the difficulty in achieving good blood glucose monitoring in this vulnerable group.

New technology for glucose monitoring

New technology, like the intermittently scanned continuous glucose monitoring (isCGM; FreeSyle® Libre 2) could improve glucose monitoring and diabetes control for children, as it discreetly provides accurate and up-to-date glucose information.

The isCGM technology involves applying a small sensor to the back of the child's arm to monitor interstitial glucose levels for up to 2 weeks. No finger pricks are required to calibrate the system. isCGM users can scan the sensor with a reader, as often as they like, and this immediately displays their glucose level. Children and their families are also notified of low and high glucose readings.

A world-first study for children with type 1 diabetes

The Flash-2 study aims to investigate the isCGM device using a randomised controlled trial in 100 young NZ children (aged 4-13 years). Given children's propensity for new technology, the ease of being able to scan (even through clothing), and the reduction in finger pricking, isCGM may provide a great opportunity to engage children in their diabetes care and help them and their families to improve self-management behaviours.

This study continues the research group's broad aim of helping to provide healthier, more equitable and cost-effective diabetes care to children and their families.

Ethics number: 20/NTA/12

Join the study

To find out if your child is eligible for this study please contact:

Associate Professor Ben Wheeler
Dr Sara Styles


Styles, S., Wheeler, B., Boucsein, A. Crocket, H., de Lange, M., Signal, D., Wiltshire, E., Cunningham, V., Lala, A., Cutfield, W., de Bock, M., Serlachius, A., Jefferies, C. A comparison of FreeStyle Libre 2 to self-monitoring of blood glucose in children with type 1 diabetes and sub-optimal glycaemic control: a 12-week randomised controlled trial protocol. J Diabetes Metab Disord (2021).

Join the study

To find out if your child is eligible for this study please email Associate Professor Ben Wheeler or Dr Sara Styles

Ben Wheeler and Sara Boucher 186
Assoc Professor Ben Wheeler and Dr Sara Styles

Find out more about this study on the Department of Women's and Children's Health website

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