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News Staffordshire University embarks on a new project to map diabetic foot complications

Researchers want to understand scale of problems experienced by patients worldwide.

Centre will map the demographics of diabetic foot complications worldwide
Image: Centre will map the demographics of diabetic foot complications worldwide

Whilst there is a substantial information on the global burden of the diabetes, there is little information relating to the complications resulting from diabetes and no specific data on amputations or mobility related assistive devices.

Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam, Director of the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies

A GLOBAL project which aims to map the demographics of diabetic foot complications experienced across the world has been announced.

Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam, Director of the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies at Staffordshire University, is leading the project which aims to give a comprehensive picture of problems including lower limb amputations caused as a result of diabetes.

Professor Chockalingam said: “Diabetes is a growing global health problem and diabetic foot disease is one of the most expensive complications of diabetes leading to significant morbidity and mortality in the adult population.”

“Whilst there is a substantial information on the global burden of the diabetes, there is little information relating to the complications resulting from diabetes and no specific data on amputations or mobility related assistive devices.”

Previous work carried out by the Centre  has highlighted the limitations of diabetic foot screening guidelines which aim to identify patients at risk of foot complications, such as ulcerations and amputations.

Professor Chockalingam, a leading scientist in the area of biomechanics of the diabetic foot, explained that they would be working with World Health Organisation collaborating centres for diabetes in Japan and India to collect the new dataset by Spring 2020. They will also be working with existing collaborative partners in Malta, Tanzania, Thailand and Aruba.

He added: “Most of current scientific and clinical information on diabetic foot is based on data from the Western world. Ultimately we aim to capture structured information from the developing and under-developed regions of the world.”

“There is a clear need for collecting structured data during screening at a primary care level. This, in addition to helping to reduce the complications of the disease, will support practitioners to understand the assistive technology needs of these patients.”

Dr Aoife Healy, who will be examining the lived experience of patients and clinical practitioners relating to Assistive Devices, added: “Our study is the first of its kind and we hope our work will not only change practice but also help numerous patients worldwide to have an improved physical capabilities to continue with their activities of daily living.”

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