World diabetes authority visits NT

Professor Mike Lean, a leading global authority on researching remission of diabetes, is coming to the Northern Territory as part of an innovative project organised by the Flinders NT Regional Training Hub.

Professor Lean, from Glasgow University, will share his innovative approach to this worrying health problem with local health care professionals and Aboriginal leaders through the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

As a keen musician and Scottish music aficionado – who has played a fiddle solo at the Budapest Opera in 2002 – Professor Lean will also be bringing his fiddle to the Northern Territory and will join the Cheeky Docs, a longstanding group of musical NT general practitioners, to stage performances for the “No Cola, Just Fun” Western Desert Tour.

The tour begins in Alice Springs with educational activities, visits to health centres and an evening concert at White Gums on Friday 4 October, before heading west to visit and perform in various communities. The tour will finish at Uluru on 10 October.

Professor Lean trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, spent four years at the Dunn nutrition laboratories in Cambridge, and has a Cambridge MA in the history and philosophy of science. He now holds the chair of Human Nutrition, based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he is also a consultant physician with NHS responsibilities for an acute medical ward and emergency receiving duties.

He is the co-leader of the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), which showed that substantial weight loss leads to remission of type 2 diabetes. He advises that eating less by using whatever diet you can sustain is a better way to lose weight than worrying about dietary composition, and exercise may be good for you but it’s unlikely to reduce much of your weight. Professor Lean speaks about the trial.

He has been a non-executive director of the Health Education Board for Scotland and chair of the advisory committee on research for the Food Standards Agency in London.

Professor Lean – who boasts that he doesn’t own a TV, and has never tasted any form of cola drink, chewing gum, or gin – arrives in Darwin on Wednesday 25 September and will be hosted by the NTPHN . He will attend a major Diabetes Seminar at Menzies School of Health Research on Friday 27 September.

He will then travel to Alice Springs to join the Cheeky Docs for two weeks of professional development events and music performances. This includes the group visiting Ntaria (Hermannsburg), Utju (Areyonga), Sandy Creek, Kings Canyon and Mutitjulu. There will be 5 concerts involving interaction with local bands and local communities.

In a formal speaking role, Professor Lean will deliver an address at the Alice Springs Hospital on Friday 4 October about research into remission possibilities for diabetes, and he will attend White Gums for the Hot Topics educational events held on the evenings of Monday 30 September to Thursday October 3.

The No Cola, Just Fun tour is a joint-collaboration between Flinders NT, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Northern Territory General Practice Education, NTPHN and the Doctors Health NT.

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Flinders NT Regional Training Hub