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
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