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OU-HCOM researchers seek better treatments for those with diabetes and depression

(Athens, Ohio July 19, 2012) In 2009, Ohio University researchers established that people with both diabetes and depression benefitted from talk therapy and exercise. Today with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), those researchers are determining the treatment that will help patients the most: exercise, counseling or a combination of both.

"Our initial study found that the combination of cognitive based therapy and structured exercise helped both diabetes and depression. We now want to know which component is critical. Program A.C.T.I.V.E. will randomize people to routine care to best understand what will help people most," said Jay Shubrook D.O., associate professor of family medicine.

"Diabetes and depression are both very serious problems for people in this region.," said Dr. Shubrook. "When they are both present it is particularly hard to maintain long-term control. Recognizing that these two problems can play off of each other we want to find a way to improve people's lives and control these problems."

The second round of Program A.C.T.I.V.E. (Appalachians Coming Together to Increase Vital Exercise) is now underway at two sites, one in southeast Ohio and lead by OU-HCOM, the other in West Virginia through the West Virginia University Human Performance Lab. Researchers hope the community-based studies will point to the most effective treatment for people dealing with both Type 2 diabetes and depression: talk therapy, exercise or a combination of the two.

Bernadette Davantes Heckman, Ph.D., principal investigator for the OU-HCOM site; Frank Schwartz, M.D., professor of endocrinology, J.O. Watson Chair for Diabetes Research and director of the OU-HCOM Diabetes/Endocrine Center; and Dr. Shubrook received $1 million as a part of a $3.2 million NIH grant awarded to Mary DeGroot, Ph.D., of Indiana University, to implement Program A.C.T.I.V.E. Dr. DeGroot is the principal investigator for the study. The grant was awarded last year through the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases. The OU-HCOM research team includes Program Coordinator Rachel Clift, BSN, RN, and Research Assistant Shelly Everett.

The project seeks to enroll over 100 participants in the Parkersburg, W.V. and Marietta, Ohio, regions. To be eligible, participants must have been diagnosed with depression and have had Type 2 diabetes for at least one year. Individuals should be able to perform everyday activities such as walking, light household chores and other activities without the use of a cane or other assistive devices, and they must receive approval from their primary care physician to take part in the study.

Program A.C.T.I.V.E. participants are randomly separated into four study groups. People assigned to one of the groups that will undertake exercise will receive paid passes to participating fitness centers where they will learn to become active in safe and supportive environments. These participants will also receive pedometers and glucose meters. Those assigned to groups receiving talk therapy will meet individually with a local therapist for 10 counseling sessions. Each encounter will focus on helping the individual learn depression coping skills to better manage their condition. Additionally, all participants will take part in cooking classes to learn how to make healthy meals.

Adults dealing with both Type 2 diabetes and depression should call 1-855-362-2848 (1-855-DMACTIV) to find out if they are eligible to participate in Program A.C.T.I.V.E.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016