Meet Charlotta Swenson Backelin and Louise Haggendal.
The medical students, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, have spent the past two months helping the Telethon Kids Institute’s Children’s Diabetes Centre conduct exercise research as part of their degrees.
They recently helped to run two sports days for children aged eight to 12 with type 1 diabetes.
Louise said the study set out to investigate if a modified algorithm for carbohydrate intake during exercise would result in a longer time spent in euglycaemia (target glucose range).
The study ran over two days – the first, to monitor glucose levels with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), and the second, monitoring glucose via repeated finger pricking, the current standard guidelines for exercise.
“We are also looking to see if we can reduce the amount of interruptions during activity, and the time children with type 1 diabetes are taken out of activities because of their blood glucose levels,” Louise said.
“The aim of the study is to help overcome some of the difficulties with exercise among children with diabetes.
“Unplanned exercise, in particular, is a challenge and why this study is designed to mimic spontaneous activity. Currently, there are no guidelines for how to use continuous glucose monitoring during exercise, so that is what we would like to develop.”
Charlotta said their university supervisor in Sweden, Peter Adolfsson, helped to introduce the students to the CDC team.
“Peter has been doing studies with the diabetes research team at Telethon Kids for a while now and he is the reason why we came to Perth,” she said.
“We are really grateful for the opportunity to do this study concerning diabetes, endocrinology and paediatrics, since we both find these fields interesting. Both of us also have great experience from competing in different sports and we find it rewarding being a part of a study that could facilitate exercising for children.
“To get a chance to explore the beautiful nature of Western Australia contributed to our wish to come here. So far, our favourites are the national parks around Kalbarri, the vineyards in Margaret River and the extraordinary everyday sunset at Cottesloe Beach.”
For more information on the Centre's exercise studies, please visit this page.