Webinar series explores youth diabetes


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This article was published 01/06/2021 (615 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A free webinar series from the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba is raising awareness around Type 2 diabetes in youth.

The disease is the fastest-growing chronic illness in Canada. Manitoba has one of the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in children and youth in the world.

The series will shed light on advancements in research and technology happening in the province.

Supplied photo Dr. Allison Dart is a clinician researcher at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

The institute’s Diabetes Research Envisioned and Accomplished in Manitoba research group, also known as DREAM, is leading projects and working with affected community members to better understand the effects of living with diabetes.

“I think, over the last 10 years, we’ve really been able to describe the health impacts of Type 2 diabetes. Ten years ago, we really didn’t have a good understanding of any of the risk factors for diabetes or complications,” said Dr. Allison Dart, a CHRIM clinician researcher.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by the body’s inability to properly produce or use insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels. Too much blood sugar can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves.

Approximately 90 per cent of people living with diabetes have Type 2, which typically develops in adulthood but can also occur in childhood.

The webinar series is being held on the 100th anniversary year of the discovery of insulin. Episodes will take place monthly until Nov. 14, known as World Diabetes Day.

DREAM has been studying how the development of diabetes is impacted by things like pregnancy or social challenges, such as racism and intergenerational stress in Indigenous youth.

In Manitoba, diabetes rates are three to five times higher in First Nations populations than in the general population, owing to barriers to care, according to Diabetes Canada.

“There’s a lot of different aspects of risk and care that our group is working on. And what we’re ultimately trying to achieve is taking this knowledge and translating that into new medications and new ways of treating kids,” Dart said.

DREAM is also researching the impact of mental health on the development and management of diabetes.

“Many children living with Type 2 diabetes experience anxiety and depression,” Dart said.

The research group is currently recruiting youth to participate in a mental health study.

Webinar sessions will be posted on CHRIM’s website and Facebook page. The next event, on Mon., June 14, will focus on Indigenous youth preventing Type 2 diabetes through resilience. Email communications@chrim.ca for more information.

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