For Scientists Research Information Alumni Connection

Studying Interventions for Children with Diabetes

Lori Laffel, M.D. of Joslin Diabetes Center

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"We are fortunate to have patients and families who are partners with us in our clinical research projects at Joslin,” says Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H, chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section.

One major project is the CHEF (Cultivating Healthy Environments in Families with Diabetes) study, which examines the behavioral and medical effects of an intense intervention on the diets of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

Earlier Joslin research showed that parents of these children sometimes may choose less healthy packaged foods because these foods are labeled with their carbohydrate content, presumably making “carb counting” and glucose management a little simpler. “In this project, we aim to encourage children and teens with diabetes along with their families to resume healthy eating with the addition of whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” she says.

Another major research effort is the TODAY (Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth) study. “This is by far the largest study of youngsters with type 2 diabetes, with more than 700 patients in 15 centers across the U.S.,” says Dr. Laffel.

The TODAY study is comparing three kinds of treatment, all employing the common type 2 drug metformin. One group of subjects is taking metformin, a second group is using metformin plus a drug that helps insulin work better, and a third is combining metformin with intensive lifestyle treatments. While the study’s first round is completed, researchers will continue tracking the natural history of type 2 diabetes in this very large sample of young people.

Joslin's Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H.