On-going Research Programmes

1. The Role of Information Technology in the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes- Indian Diabetes Prevention Programme-3 (IDPP-3).

Scope: An India-UK collaborative project, under the UKERI initiative; a proposal developed to validate the usefulness of Information Technology for primary prevention of diabetes. To study whether diabetes prevention can be achieved at lower cost using personalized feedback via mobile phones e-mails with information based on body weight, diet and physical activity. The study initiated in August 2009 and will last for 36 months with a target population of 555.

Findings from the study will help to plan community based prevention programmes using cheaper mode of communication to educate and motivate large number of people.

2. A pragmatic and scalable strategy using mobile technology to promote sustained lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes in India and the UK.

Scope: This project initiated in January 2011 funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Medical Research Council (MRC) aims to:

(a) To develop and evaluate a pragmatic and scalable approach to identifying people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in India.

(b) To develop a scalable lifestyle modification programme and to prepare a quality assured training programme for the delivery of the intervention by community health workers.

(c) To assess the cost-effectiveness of the lifestyle
modification programme on the progression to diabetes over 2 year period.

(d) To assess the cost-effectiveness of the lifestyle modification programme on change in objectively measured physical activity levels.

The project is expected to bring a breakthrough in the field of translational research through innovative strategies on primary prevention of diabetes.

3. Development and implementation of Health Communication and behaviour change tools through smart phone based communication programmes for health and hygiene initiatives.

Scope: Unilever Discover, UK (Unilever Corp.) has tied up with our foundation to work on a proposal on Diabetes Care Programme in India. A user friendly interactive smart-phone application has been developed as a toolkit to sensitize and educate the public on diabetes awareness, prevention and improved self management of diabetes. The programme is mainly set to target the corporates and executives who cannot afford time for personal clinic visits or health check-ups. This will also combine medical treatment, and utility of personal healthcare products for complete diabetes management. A preliminary pilot study to test the utility and acceptability of this application is underway.

4. INTERACT: Interaction of genetic and lifestyle factors on the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Scope: This project mainly aims to study the gene environmental interaction in the causation of diabetes. The project funded by the European Union involves a global consortium of 29 centres. IDRF the only site from Asia has partnered with MRC - Epidemiological unit, Institute of Metabolic Science in coordinating the study. The project is completed in Dec 2011, the data is being analysed in Cambridge University.

5. DIABSMART: Development of a new generation of DIABETIC footwear using an integrated approach and SMART materials.

Scope: This project was recently awarded funding by the European Union under the Maire Curie Seventh Framework Programme. The main objectives include: (1) the design and development of an integrated system of diabetic foot assessment, (2) to validate the newly developed system using experimental methods, (3) to develop a suitable material to meet the mechanical and clinical requirements, and (4) to evaluate the mechanical and clinical effectiveness of material choice in reducing the potential risk of foot complications.

This project is essentially a cross-sector collaboration that combines the industrial expertise of Salts Healthcare Ltd, and Technofootbed SL, Spain scientific and technical expertise of Hochschule Magdeburg, Germany and Staffordshire University along with the clinical expertise from Dr. A. Ramachandran’s Diabetes Hospitals through India Diabetes Research Foundation in an effort to customise the footwear products for diabetes considering the individual patient’s needs and requirements from a clinical perspective.