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Are your eyes a window to diabetes-related health issues? CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS.

15 August 2008 – for immediate release

Scientists at Aston University are carrying out a unique study using the eyes to detect early signs of health problems which could lead to diabetes, and they’re looking for volunteers to help.

A team of scientists from Aston’s Ophthalmic Research Group (ORG) are looking for healthy 20-65 year olds to take part in a free health check - results of which could help in detecting risk for diabetes or early diabetic changes. The scientists are particularly interested in the differences in these factors between the South Asian community and Caucasian population in Birmingham.

People who sign up for their free health check will undergo a simple ultrasound test (to assess cardiovascular health), an eye test (to measure blood flow and blood vessel diameter) and a blood test (to check for glucose and cholesterol levels). Researchers (led by Ophthalmology lecturer Dr Doina Gherghel) would like to test South Asian (Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) or Caucasian people, with or without a family history of diabetes in one or both parents.

Sunni Patel, Optometry PHD student and member of the ORG, Aston University, said:

“In the UK alone, two million people have diabetes and up to 750,000 are believed to be carriers of the condition without even realising. The figures amongst the South Asian community are particularly significant – with one in three people of Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi descent being affected.

“These are worrying statistics but, by diagnosing the disease in patients early on, a number of measures can be put in place to minimise any related health issues. Findings from this research could really help with early diagnosis. If opticians were equipped with the knowledge and technology to spot health concerns which could indicate the first signs of diabetes, the UK’s early diagnosis rate could be improved significantly. “

To volunteer for your free health check contact Sunni Patel on 07746 142618 or 0121 204 3853 or email patels8@aston.ac.uk.

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Notes to editors

For more information on Aston University contact Laura Plotnek, University Communications Team, Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or prtemp@aston.ac.uk.

www.aston.ac.uk

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