Health Central sent me to the meeting, where I interviewed Dr. Sachmechi this morning. He is clinical associate professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, New York.
Dr. Sachmechi presented his poster and abstract, "Impact of Diabetes Education on HbA1C and Weight Reduction at the meeting." He told me that he designed the study and involved the chief resident and one of his colleagues. Certified Diabetes Educators and nutritionists provided the diabetes education.
Don't people with diabetes generally get diabetes education? "No," Dr. Sachmechi replied. "In many areas of the country people with diabetes don't get nutritional advice or see CDEs. The CDEs show them how to do home glucose monitoring, how to prevent hypoglycemia, the importance of exercise, and other things that are needed for the care of diabetes."
But doesn't it cost a lot of money? "I don't think so," Dr. Sachmechi replied. "Certainly, a session with a CDE costs less than a session with a physician!"
The study group of 150 people included people with type 2 diabetes who their primary care physician referred to two CDEs and a dietitian. A control group of 150 people with type 2 diabetes didn't get to see either a CDE or a dietitian.
The researchers compared the A1C and weight of the study participants before and then six months after the study. A1c went down 1.02 percent in the study group but only 0.59 percent in the control group. The average weight went down 2 pounds in the study group but only 0.71 pounds in the control group.
"This is one of the few studies demonstrating a measurable improvement in diabetes control and weight loss solely due to diabetes education and diet counseling in a municipal hospital with limited resources," Dr.Sachmechi concluded. Dr. Sachmechi's study worked with people with diabetes who are largely uninsured and generally have poor health literacy. My conclusion is if diabetes education works there, it can work for you too.
Dr. Sachmechi tells me that he is now working on the impact of support groups on the impact of A1c and other measures of diabetes control. Do support groups help us? That's what he hopes to find out, and I will let you know here the results of that study.