Using brain scans to see if a therapy programme can re-wire the brain

Scientific title: Using neuroimaging to understand the role of cognitions in restoring hypoglycaemia awareness in adults with type 1 diabetes and impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia (HARPscan)
Principal Investigator: Dr Pratik Choudhary
Institution: King’s College London
Project duration: 01/08/2017 – 31/7/2020

Photo of Dr Pratik Choudhary
Dr Pratik Choudhary

Objective: Dr Choudhary aims to use brain imaging to see if a talking therapy programme can ‘re-wire’ the brain and restore normal brain responses in people with hypo unawareness.

Research suggests that people with hypo unawareness often have thoughts and beliefs that prevent them from benefitting from existing hypo unawareness management strategies. Experiments using brain scans have indicated that this may be because those with hypo unawareness may not perceive hypos as stressful or unpleasant. The lack of a link between hypos and negative emotions reduces motivation to avoid further hypos.

A new talking therapy programme, known as HARPdoc (run by Professor Stephanie Amiel, another JDRF-funded researcher), has been shown to reduce the number of severe hypos in people with hypo unawareness. Dr Choudhary’s project aims to see if HARPdoc can restore the brain responses to hypos in people with hypo unawareness, and lay down negative emotions after hypos. The project will use brain imaging to help understand some of the underlying drivers for behaviours and inform the development of treatment strategies.

Categories: Treat, Complications, Hypos, Brain scan

Click on the image below to download a PDF poster of Dr Choudhary’s work.

Poster explaining Dr Choudhary's JDRF project