Researchers behind a new study believe caring for a pet may lead to better regulation of diabetes, especially in adolescents. Since adolescents can display stubborn attitudes towards regular maintenance of diabetes symptoms, pets may help teenagers with managing Type 1 diabetes during this stage of life.
Researchers studied 28 adolescent patients between the ages of 10 and 17 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Each patient was given a pet fish to care for over a period of time. During that period of time, each patient fed the pet in the morning and evening, and then changed one-fourth of the water in the fish’s bowl once per week. Each time a patient fed a fish, it was a reminder to check his/her glucose levels. And when the patients changed the water in the tank, they reviewed the notes they had taken about their blood sugar levels with a caregiver.
“Caring for pets gave teenagers a sense of responsibility similar to an adult caring for a child.”
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