National Diabetes Week: Advancing diabetes research in Tasmania

Published on
10 July 2024
Professor Andrew Palmer at UTAS Menzies

As we approach National Diabetes Week (14-20 July), we celebrate the research supported by the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation and its generous donors, highlighting the innovative work of Professor Andrew Palmer. His insightful study, which used linked data to understand the impact of diabetes in Tasmania, has significantly advanced our knowledge and approach to managing diabetes in our community.

Professor Palmer's project has been instrumental in understanding the economic impact of diabetes on Tasmania's healthcare system. The research identified key factors contributing to higher healthcare costs and poorer patient outcomes by analysing linked data from various sources. This valuable information has guided policy and resource allocation decisions, ultimately enhancing patient care and reducing expenses.

The urgency of Professor Palmer's work is undeniable. With diabetes rates in Tasmania on the rise, the financial strain on our healthcare system is increasing. Professor Palmer's research shows that diabetic patients face nearly double the healthcare costs compared to non-diabetic patients. This difference is largely due to higher rates of hospitalisation, challenges in managing blood sugar levels, and complications from diabetes. Understanding these cost drivers is essential for developing effective strategies to manage and reduce the economic impact of diabetes.

Since its inception, in addition to Professor Palmer's work, the Foundation has supported several other significant studies that have contributed valuable insights and advancements in diabetes research:

  • Dr Dino Premilovac explored whether anti-diabetic agents can improve blood flow and outcomes following a stroke in type 2 diabetes patients. This study offered promising insights into post-stroke care and potential new treatment protocols to enhance recovery and reduce complications for diabetic patients.
  • Dr Michelle Keske's "Mixed Meal Challenge" project aimed to develop a new diagnostic test for screening pre-diabetes. This innovative test can revolutionise early detection and intervention strategies, helping prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes and improve patient outcomes.
  • Dr Michael Dreyer's research focused on the role of adipocytokines in painful neuropathies associated with type 2 diabetes. By understanding the underlying mechanisms, this study aimed to develop targeted treatments to alleviate chronic pain experienced by many diabetic patients, thereby improving their quality of life.
  • Dr Greg Woods and his team at the Pathology Department of UTAS conducted laboratory studies with mice, which have significant implications for people suffering from autoimmune conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Their research could lead to new therapeutic approaches benefiting many patients globally.

These projects collectively highlight the Foundation's commitment to advancing diabetes research and improving health outcomes. As we observe National Diabetes Week, we celebrate the progress made and look forward to continuing our efforts to combat this challenging condition.

Join us in the fight against diabetes! Your support can lead to innovative solutions and provide hope to diabetes patients. To contribute to our groundbreaking research, contact the Foundation's office at (03) 6166 1319 or donate online.