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The SABRE Study tackles type 2 diabetes in black people

BLACK PEOPLE are more at risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications than their white counterparts. Can YOU help in a research study into why this group is more at risk?
Nish Chaturvedi. Is the Principal Investigator on the SABRE Study which is undertaking essential work on the ticking time bomb of type 2 diabetes in older black people.


Nish Chaturvedi

The disease usually starts in adult life and is a silent condition; many people have it for years, before it is diagnosed.

The SABRE study from Imperial College and University College London followed a large group of people living in west and north-west London for 20 years and found that south Asian, black African and African Caribbean people are twice as likely as white people to develop type 2 diabetes, right up to the age of 80 years. It was found that these groups are also more likely to suffer from complications of diabetes, such as strokes.

You may think that this epidemic is owing to a combination of too much starchy food and lack of adequate exercise; this is correct to some extent. However, researchers haven’t been able to completely account for the extra risk among the African and south Asian communities even when they allow for differences in diet, physical activity and family history.

What is going on? More research is needed to answer this question and enable us to work out the best ways of treating and preventing this disease Not only is this research necessary for ourselves, but also for the sake of our children and future generations.

The SABRE study aims to extend its research into the causes and consequences of type 2 diabetes and study of what else makes for healthy, or less healthy, ageing in all populations.
Can you help in the research? Living with diabetes is not a criteria, however you must be 60 years old or more, living in West London, and of African or Caribbean origin with 4 grandparents born in either West Africa or the Caribbean.

Suitable applicants will be invited to the SABRE study clinic at University College London to complete a health questionnaire and participate in a day of health checks which include: a brain scan, heart and blood vessel scan, short walk tests, a scan of body fat and bone density, blood tests, blood pressure measurements, memory tests, balance and strength tests. You may choose not to have some of the tests if you prefer. Taxi transportation is provided together with a £50 gift voucher, as a gesture of appreciation.

Case Study

Mr WB came from Barbados in 1964 to live and work in London has been taking part in the SABRE study since it started. it was originally called the ‘Diabetes and Blood Pressure Survey’.
Mr WB first attended for a morning of health checks in the study clinic in 1990 and then again in 2009 when the study was based at Imperial College London (St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington).

Mr WB commented that the tests had got much more detailed by 2009 when he spent nearly a day at the clinic- although he did say that he enjoyed the experience and that it was reassuring to have such a wide range of health checks.

The SABRE team had moved to University College London (UCL) by the time of the third follow-up visit in 2014 and Mr WB has been along to help the study again at UCL- another long day, but an enjoyable one! He believes that it is important to take part in studies such as SABRE. ‘I’m glad to be a guinea pig- the research may not benefit me, but it will help future generations to live longer and to have better health’.

If you would like more information about the research or would like to be sent an information sheet which explains all the tests fully, please call the SABRE team on 0207 679 9471 or email SABRE@ucl.ac.uk.

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