Wearable gadgets supply new insights into the development of Sort 2 diabetes in Latino adults


In one of the earliest studies of its kind, medical and engineering researchers have shown that wearable devices that continuously monitor blood sugar levels provide new insights into the progression of type 2 diabetes in at-risk Hispanic / Latin American adults.

Findings from researchers at Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) and Rice University are available online this week in EClinicalMedicine, an open access journal published by The Lancet.

“The new look at glucose data sheds new light on disease progression, which could directly impact better management,” said Ashutosh Sabharwal, co-author of the Rice study, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering and founder from Rice’s Scalable Health Labs. “An important aspect of our analysis is that the results are clinically interpretable and show new ways for improved type 2 diabetes care.”

The study builds on SDRI’s groundbreaking research into the treatment of type 2 diabetes in underserved Hispanic / Latin American communities. SDRI’s Farming for Life initiative evaluates the physical and mental health benefits of providing medicinal recipes for fresh local vegetables to people with or at risk of type 2 diabetes, with an emphasis on the Hispanic / Latin American community. SDRI recently added a digital health technology called continuous glucose monitoring to this research.

Continuous glucose meters track blood glucose levels around the clock and allow you to view and analyze blood glucose trends over time. The devices typically consist of two parts, a small electrode sensor that is attached to the skin with an adhesive patch, and a receiver that collects data from the sensor.

We found that using this technology was both feasible and acceptable for this population, mostly Mexican-American adults. The results also provided new insights into measurable differences in glucose profiles for those at risk for type 2 diabetes and those who were not treated with insulin. These results could enable new therapeutic approaches to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes getting worse for this underserved population. “

David Kerr, study co-author and director of research and innovation, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, Rice University

Sabharwal, who is also a co-researcher at the Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems (PATHS-UP) technical research center, said: “Working with SDRI is in line with our mission to use technology as a key building block in reducing healthcare disparities. “

“We are excited about applying digital health technologies to underserved populations to eradicate health inequalities and improve health equity,” said Kerr. “This opens up the potential for a greater number of collaborations to support SDRI’s evolving focus on precision nutrition and the expanded use of digital health technologies for both the prevention and treatment of all forms of diabetes.”


Journal reference:

Barua, S. et al. (2021) Dysglycemia in Adults at Risk or Living with Non-insulin-Treated Type 2 Diabetes: Findings from Continuous Glucose Monitoring. EClinicalMedicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100853.