DIABETES | Can Big Data Help Beat Diabetes? | Ep #2 | AXA Research Fund


Get this, obesity now
kills more people than starvation. It’s a huge public health enemy with over 600 million adults
worldwide suffering from it. Me and this gang are working hard
to keep the weight off, to be healthy, to get fit,
because obesity has been linked to a health time bomb,
type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes Around 400 million people across the world
suffer with type 2 diabetes. Come on. Here’s the thing, almost 90% of them are obese. Come on. Adults with diabetes
have an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. That’s why
we need to fight diabetes with everything we’ve got. A week ago, I gave the team
activity trackers so we could keep track
of how much exercise we’re doing. How about you, Emma? Yeah, I walk everywhere now,
10,000 steps, I think that’s about 5 miles. I’ve got an idea
for one more bit of exercise, more low-impact this one,
but first, lunch. – Oh, yes.
– Yeah? Come on. I want to find out more about
the connection between obesity and type 2 diabetes, so I’m going to give a call
to Dr Alessandra Petrelli. She’s a researcher
who’s supported by AXA, and her research
is looking at just that. – Hi, Greg.
– Hi, Alessandra. Tell me about your research. According to current estimations,
by 2030, one adult out of five will be obese. My research looks at our T cells, types of white blood cells essential for the immune system. T cells that we find in fat
are altered in obese patients, and this might be causing
insulin resistance. Okay, so obese people have different immune systems,
different T cells, and that can lead
to insulin resistance. I hope, in the future, we can balance the immune system
of obese people, meaning we can better control
type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, best advice for our guys? Time to get going with your cycling. Thanks, Alessandra. That guy there is Brian Kamstra. He is an incredible pro cyclist, and his whole team
have type 1 diabetes. Now type 1 is different to type 2. With type 1, you can’t actually produce any insulin at all, so you have to manage
your intake of it. Brian is super fit. Just goes to show you that
you can fight diabetes and still achieve your goals. Just arranged to meet up
with Professor Helen Colhoun who’s doing some
really fascinating research into how big data can be used
to predict complications of diabetes. – Hey, Brian.
– Hi. – Brian, meet Helen.
– Hello. You both use data. Do you think that big data can beat diabetes? Well, I certainly hope so. We now have lots of
different kinds of data available in large-scale electronic format. By putting
the right sort of data together, we can understand much more clearly why some people get diabetes
and others don’t and why some people with diabetes
get complications and others don’t. Where do you get
all that data from? One very important domain
of data at the moment is electronic healthcare record data, which we are able to access
in anonymised format in secure Data Safe Havens, but another source of data
is wearable data from devices. – Like these. Yeah.
– Yeah, exactly. You must be collecting so much data
at the pro cycling level, what are you getting
from your bike right now? We have a power meter,
so it measures my power, my heart rate, elevation,
distance, time. What do you do about
monitoring your blood glucose levels? We use, during training
and racing, a device, it’s called
a continuous glucose monitor. It collects a huge amount of data
from your blood glucose. You’re continually monitoring
your blood glucose? Yes. That’s amazing. Type 1 diabetes is really very fine-tuned management
of one’s metabolism. Yeah. To be able to do that
at the same time as an elite sport
demonstrates the feasibility of that sort of
management of diabetes with modern technology
and with modern information. What an interesting day. Brian, such an inspiration,
and Alessandra and Helen both doing some fascinating research. I just feel like we’re at this dawn of a new era
of personalised medicine, and big data is going
to be the driving force for new treatments. AXA Research Fund Supporting research to make people’s lives
healthier and safer

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