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 Article of Interest - Diabetes

Fight Stress and Fight Diabetes

New York Times, August 27, 2002


Group lessons in stress management can help diabetics improve control of their disease, according to a study presented on Sunday at the American Psychological Association convention in Chicago.


The researchers, led by Dr. Richard S. Surwit of the Duke University Medical Center, had experimented with one-on-one stress management training and wanted to see whether a cheaper group method would be  effective.


For the study, 108 adults with moderate Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, attended an education program that met once a week for five weeks. For 60 patients, the sessions offered instruction on the health problems associated with stress, ways to recognize the causes of stress and methods to relax.


A year after the study began, patients in the group that received stress training saw a measure of sugar absorbed in their blood drop to 7 percent from 7.5 percent, while it rose on average in the group that

had no such training.


Dr. Surwit wrote that while such a change might seem modest, it was "associated with a significant reduction in risk of microvascular complications."


The measure dropped by a full percentage point for a third of the stress-training group, compared with 12 percent of the control group.


For people already in good control of their diabetes, the reduction may bring them to near normal levels, Dr. Surwit said. "For those in poorer control, it probably would not, but the reduction is associated with fewer diabetes complications for them as well."


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