Strict regimen pays off years later

From New Orleans, at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association

Diabetes patients who adhered to a tight program of blood sugar control over nearly 7 years starting in the 1980s are still showing heart benefits, even though most have slipped back into a less diligent routine of blood-sugar monitoring.

Twenty years ago, researchers enrolled 1,441 people with juvenile-onset, or type 1, diabetes in a study to gauge the value of rigorous blood-sugar control. Half the participants practiced standard control with one or two insulin injections and finger-prick blood tests each day, while the others controlled their blood sugar more closely with three insulin shots and four blood tests daily. Results reported 10 years ago showed that the latter, more intensive program led to fewer diabetes complications.

A reassessment of these participants 8 years after the end of the program indicates that although both groups now have similar blood-sugar concentrations, those formerly on the intensive program have significantly less damage to blood vessels, including calcification of coronary arteries, report John M. Lachin and Patricia A. Cleary of the George Washington University in Rockville, Md.


If you have a comment on this article that you would like considered for publication in Science News, send it to Please include your name and location.

More Stories from Science News on Health & Medicine