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Biofeedback may help control diabetes


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Biofeedback may help control diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Biofeedback-assisted relaxation seems to have a positive effect in patients with type 2 diabetes, leading to significant decreases in blood sugar levels, the findings of a small study suggest.

"Biofeedback and relaxation are useful adjuncts for the treatment of type 2 diabetes," lead investigator Dr. Ronald A. McGinnis told Reuters Health. "Patients' symptoms of anxiety and depression should be assessed, as they may hinder compliance and lead to overall poor outcomes of diabetic treatment," he added.

McGinnis and his colleagues at the Medical University of Ohio, Toledo note that previous studies in this area have had conflicting results, but mood appears to have a moderating effect on the control of blood sugar levels.

To investigate further, the researchers randomly assigned 39 patients to a biofeedback or education group. The biofeedback patients underwent 10 weekly individual sessions featuring relaxation and biofeedback training, problem-solving and stress management.

The education-only group underwent three individual educational sessions, held four to five weeks apart, on aspects of diabetes, researchers report in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

Thirty subjects completed the study. Most were women and Caucasian.

Seven of the nine subjects who dropped out of the study were considered to be depressed, according to their scores on the Beck Depression Inventory.

Biofeedback and relaxation were associated with significant decreases in average blood sugar levels and muscle tension compared with the education-only group. After three months, the beneficial events in the treatment group persisted.

Subjects in both groups had decreased depression and anxiety scores at the end of the study.

The researchers conclude that biofeedback training may be helpful for diabetes. Because increases in diabetes type 2 and mood disorders are predicted in the general population, "it is important to develop therapies that address the treatment of both of these conditions."

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, September 2005.

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