How CCNM’s research is paving the way for an integrative approach to diabetes care
CCNM prides itself on being a leader in complementary and naturopathic medicine research. At present the College is conducting over $11 million worth of research studies that focus on the use of naturopathic treatments with conventional care. One of the areas of focus is diabetes.
According to Diabetes Canada (formerly the Canadian Diabetes Association), 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes, 90 per cent of whom have Type 2 diabetes.
In 2015, CCNM received a $418,000 grant to study the effectiveness of both naturopathic and conventional therapies in treating Type 2 diabetes. The Brampton-based study is a collaborative project between the College, William Osler Health System and the Wise Elephant Family Health Team. Why Brampton? Diabetes is more prevalent in Brampton than in any other area in the province; the incidence rate is 2.5 times higher than the provincial average of 9.64 cases for every 100 adults.*
Dr. Nicole Henry, ND recently came on board as a co-principal investigator on the study. Prior to studying at CCNM, she was involved in clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry. After graduating from CCNM in 2008, she completed a two-year clinical residency, where she conducted studies examining the teaching methods at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic and comparing pass rates of the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) between the international medical graduate (IMG) cohort and four-year delivery.
“I look at research as another way of knowing and sometimes it can tell us more about how the world works,” she says.
The study is currently recruiting for participants. Upon recruitment, participants are randomized into two groups and monitored over a two-year period:
- Group A receives care from their medical doctor for the first year and are offered integrative naturopathic treatments the second year.
- Group B starts with the integration of medical and naturopathic care and are monitored for a year.
Medical care will include guidelines and recommendations from Diabetes Canada, the medical doctor’s (MD) expertise in diabetes management as well care for the patients’ other health concerns at the MD’s discretion.
Naturopathic treatments will include dietary, exercise and lifestyle recommendations, nutraceutical and botanical supplements, acupuncture as well as care for the patients’ other health concerns at the ND’s discretion.
While there is extensive research in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, this study is significant as it will be the first randomized controlled trial in Canada to examine the use of naturopathic care in diabetes patients.
Nicole is excited to see what the results will be and what the impact will mean for future studies in integrative medicine.
“This study is the first step down the path to examining the use of integrative care. Does combining these two models of care make a difference in a patient’s health outcomes? If yes, that can be a springboard for more research.”
* Ogilvie, Megan. “New map reveals diabetes hot spots in the GTA.” Toronto Star. 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2018.
This article originally appeared in issue #23 of Mind|Body|Spirit, fall/winter 2020, page 36.