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Understanding How People Understand Diabetes Self-management

Dr. Katie Weinger of Joslin Diabetes Center

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Right now we have a one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes education,” says Katie Weinger, Ed.D., R.N. “But instead of trying to adapt people to our treatments, including education, we want to adapt our approaches to people and their particular strengths and weaknesses.”

Dr. Weinger is interested in executive function—the ability of people to organize, plan and solve problems. In a new project, she will supplement interviews and paper-based surveys with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans. Volunteers will receive fMRI brain scans before and after taking diabetes self-management courses, and their success in self-management will be followed closely for six months.

This study will bring a new set of neurocognitive and neuropsychological information to the ongoing effort “to figure out ways for people to make it less stressful and yet still accomplish enough on their lifestyle recommendations that they can live healthily and well with diabetes,” says Dr. Weinger.

“We are seeing what we can do for people who are struggling with diabetes but are still coming to their appointments and their education sessions,” she adds.

Dr. Katie Weinger of Joslin Diabetes Center