November is National Diabetes Month
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – November is National Diabetes Month, and a research study out of the West Virginia University School of Medicine Department of Exercise Physiology hopes to find the best treatment for an issue facing one out of every four people with type 2 diabetes: depression.
Depression is a real danger for people with type 2 diabetes. Depression interferes with patients’ control of their diabetes, which, in turn, makes the usual complications of diabetes even worse.
Guy Hornsby, Ph.D., director of the WVU Human Performance Lab, is the principal investigator for the WVU site of Program ACTIVE (Appalachians Coming Together to Increase Vital Exercise), a study examining the effect of exercise and talk therapy on depression in those with type 2 diabetes.
“Program ACTIVE is a community-based research project that is trying to lessen the burden of depression in those people who have type 2 diabetes. We are looking for people to sign up to be part of the research study,” Dr. Hornsby said.
Eligible participants who complete the study will receive up to $50 in gift cards, but more importantly, Hornsby expects that all participants in the study will experience reduced symptoms of depression and greater control over their glucose levels.
Participants must have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at least one year ago and have experienced symptoms of major depression for at least two weeks. Symptoms of major depression include persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings; loss of interest in activities once found pleasurable; difficulty concentrating or making decisions; and fatigue or decreased energy.
Participants must also be at least 18 years old and be medically stable, meaning no history of stroke, no heart attack within the past year, and able to walk without the use of a cane or other assistive device.
Volunteers for the study will be screened for eligibility over the phone. Those who are approved for the study will go to a community-based site for a baseline assessment. The assessment will include blood work, a psychological questionnaire about depression, and a six-minute walk test. All treatment and assessment for the study will take place in the participants’ home communities.
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups for an approximately three-month intervention.
The exercise group will receive a gym membership, six classes with a fitness instructor on exercising with diabetes, a glucometer, and a pedometer. Participants will exercise for 30 minutes five days a week for 12 weeks.
The talk therapy group will attend one session per week with a clinical psychologist for 10 weeks to develop skills in managing their thoughts and feelings to redirect them more positively.
The exercise plus talk therapy group will receive both therapies, and the usual care group will see their usual healthcare providers with no additional therapies.
Program ACTIVE is in its fourth year. Thirty participants have already participated at the WVU site. The study is a collaboration of WVU, Ohio University, and Indiana University. It began with a pilot study at Ohio University that found a 77 percent reduction in depressive symptoms using the combined exercise and talk therapy treatment.
“We hope that if we can show that a community based approach to helping people with diabetes is effective in our Appalachian communities around here, then we can take it nationwide and try to see if we can do this all across the country because depression is such a big, big problem,” Hornsby said.
To join the study, call 1-855-DMACTIV (1-855-362-2848) or call Project Coordinator Susan Eason directly at 304-293-7322. The deadline for participation is March 1.