The 2013 Study

Exercise plays a vital role in preventing and managing diabetes, but there is very little published research on the subject.

To provide a lasting legacy for the mHealth Grand Tour, we worked with Professor Mike Trenell from Newcastle University, one of the leading experts in diabetes and exercise, to answer important questions, through a first-of-its kind live observational study was undertaken during the ride.

Professor Mike Trenell worked with people taking part in the tour, from elite athletes with Type 1 diabetes to people without diabetes.

The research team equipped volunteer riders with Garmin bike computers to track performance and a heart rate monitor to track heart rate throughout the tour.  The volunteers were also be given state of the art continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMs) to look at how blood sugar levels change in athletes with and without diabetes.

Of course, with this being the mHealth Grand Tour, the data was transmitted automatically and wirelessly over the Orange mobile network, so the athletes could focus on their performance.

Professor Mike and his team explored:

  • How riding affects blood sugar levels during the day and at night
  • How different athletes manage their diabetes (insulin and glucose)
  • How high-performance athletes with Type 1 diabetes manage their diabetes compared with non-competitive athletes with Type 1 diabetes
  • How people with diabetes can teach athletes without diabetes about how to prevent low blood sugar levels during a ride

The results and conclusions from the study will be presented at EASD in Vienna in September 2014.  

The Technical Solution

In order to carry out the observational study, the GSMA and its Partners needed to create a new end-to-end solution for diabetes management that would:

  • Capture health and fitness data
  • Securely, wirelessly transmit and store data using Continua Health Alliance standards(Continua is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a system of interoperable connected health solutions)
  • Integrate technologies from multiple vendors
  • Demonstrate a replicable solution to an international community of mobile operators, technology vendors, clinicians and patients

Technology Partners

  • ANT+: Official technology partner
    • Ultra-low power wireless technology
    • Enable biometric statistics to be captured and shared via ANT+ partner devices and ANT+ enabled smartphones
  • Dexcom: Wireless glucose monitoring
    • G5 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) enabled with ANT+ technology
  • Sony Mobile: Provider of ANT+ enabled Xperia handsets
  • Orange: Official connectivity partner
    • Capture, store and securely share patient health records during the ride across 5 European markets
    • Also provide rider geolocation portal during ride
  • HMM: Provider of M2M module
  • McCann Health: Data visualisation portal

How the 2013 mHealth solution worked

how it works image 1
  • Cyclist wears ANT+ enabled Dexcom G5 and heart rate monitor
  • ANT+ enabled bike sensors capture cycling stats
  • All of which transmit data via ANT+ to Sony Xperia and HMM machine-to-machine (M2M) module
how it works image 2
  • Cyclist tracks health and performance stats on Sony Xperia smartphone
  • M2M module transmits data via mobile broadband to back-end server using new Orange software solution
how it works image 3
  • Server sends data to McCann Health Web portal for tracking cyclists’ stats during ride
  • Server also uploads data to cloud for later analysis by clinical team


mHealth Grand Tour 2013

In September 2013, the GSMA, in association with the International Diabetes Federation, European Region, and under the patronage of European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, presented the mHealth Grand Tour. The objective of this 13-day, Brussels to Barcelona cycling challenge was to demonstrate the value of mobile health in helping people with diabetes live fuller lives.

During the tour, researchers from Newcastle University conducted a study on the effects of multi-day endurance exercise on athletes with and without Type 1 diabetes, made possible by the participation of a number of patient associations and a cross-industry technical partnership. Preliminary results of the study will be revealed at Mobile World Congress 2014 with a full report due in November 2014.