Development of an Online Psychological Treatment for Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
Would you like to describe the project in short?
"Successful management of diabetes today includes people with diabetes taking care of themselves, in terms of monitoring and responding to blood glucose levels, maintaining a healthy diet, keeping active, and maintaining their emotional wellbeing. This same approach to taking care of themselves can apply when complications arise. Among the most common, distressing, and disabling of these is painful diabetes neuropathy (PDN) a type of pain that arises due to nervy injury as an effect of diabetes. The studies in this project will take the best available chronic pain self-management methods, adapt them for PDN, and study how well they work."
What are the cross-disciplinary aspects of this project?
"The problem being addressed here is complex and we need to understand it and produce a treatment that can be applied. This will require the input of specialists in diabetes medicine, nursing, psychology, and pain. It will also require specialist input in digital health care solutions, because we want the solutions we develop to be practical to deliver and easy to access."
How was the project and collaboration born?
"This research was originally born in a series of PhD studies conducted at King’s College London funded by the charity Diabetes UK. With the development of the Uppsala Diabetes Center (UDC) we began to discuss how to carry this research forward. Then when the announcement of PhD funds from UDC appeared we finally assembled a research team to support a new PhD student and conduct the research. The team members include clinical psychologist and Associate Professor Monica Buhrman, PhD, from Uppsala; University Lecturer Therese Anderbro, MD, from Stockholm University; Professor Unn-Britt Johansson, RN, PhD, from Sophiahemmet University; and Chief Physician at the Section for Endocrinology and Diabetes Care, Jarl Hellman, MD, from Uppsala University Hospital. We should also mention that additional funding needed for the research in this project has been obtained from a generous grant from Diabetesfonden (https://www.diabetes.se/diabetesfonden/)."
How can UDC be of help in your research?
"A PhD student working in the intersection between diabetes, health care, pain, and health behavior will need support and gain knowledge in several related fields and will need to access a network of academic and clinical researchers in these fields of study."
What can UDC do to make the PhD students feel like they belong to the centre?
"Belonging to the UDC will come from personal connections, meetings, including time to interact informally. It will come from opportunities to collaborate, share ideas, and practically support each other in research and also to socialize and make friends."
Which UDC activities will be meaningful for this project?
"All activities that create points of contact and that inform, will be helpful, including seminars and even this newsletter itself. We will also encourage “research visits” within the UDC network."