Diabetes duo score prestigious research awards

Aug 26 2013

Dr Carmel Smart

Hunter Medical Research Institute researchers Dr Carmel Smart and Dr Prudence Lopez have received esteemed awards for their research into childhood diabetes.

At the recent Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group (APEG) Conference, Dr Smart, a Senior Paediatric Diabetes and Endocrine Dietician at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, won the 2013 APEG Investigator of the Year Award.

After being selected from a special session at the APEG conference, Dr Smart received the award for her research into how dietary fat and protein influence calculating meal-time insulin dosages for children with type 1 diabetes.

Dr Smart’s research findings showed for the first time that a high fat, high protein meal result in twice the increase in blood glucose levels after eating, than a meal lower in fat or protein, all with the same carbohydrate content. These findings are significant as they will change the way people with type 1 diabetes are taught to work out their insulin dose for food.

The paper has now been accepted for publication by the American Diabetes Association in Diabetes Care. Dr Smart’s acceptance of this award also represents the first time that this prize has been awarded to an endocrine researcher who is not a medical physician.

Dr Smart also received the 2013 APEG Novo Nordisk Research Grant to continue her research in investigating insulin dosage algorithms for meals of variable macronutrient composition.

Dr Lopez, Paediatric Endocrine Fellow at John Hunter Children’s Hospital, was acknowledged at The 2013 International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes Science School for Physicians (ISPAD) for her research into changing the way insulin is given for diabetics using insulin pumps to match how the glucose is absorbed from different types of meals.

The findings are important as high blood glucose levels after meals are associated with early and increased rates of heart disease in people with diabetes.

 HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.