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David Robert Hadden

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2528
  1. Patrick Bell, Robert Hadden, David McCance

David Robert Hadden was an internationally recognised expert on growth, nutrition, and diabetes. Anticipating the impact of the westernised lifestyle on the epidemic of type 2 diabetes, in 1972 he set up the Belfast Diet Study, which confirmed that strict adherence to diet alters the natural history of the disease. Subsequently his collaboration in the UK Prospective Diabetes Study showed for the first time the importance of good control of blood glucose in preventing complications of type 2 diabetes.

His other great contribution was in the management of diabetic pregnancy. The joint diabetes obstetric service he built up was an example copied nationally. He led the involvement of Belfast as major centre and main laboratory in the Hyperglycaemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Study, which highlighted the potentially harmful effects of small increases in blood sugar on non-diabetic mothers—findings that continue to challenge and change practice.

David Hadden came from a well known Irish medical family. His great grandfather was a doctor in Skibbereen, County Cork, where he treated victims of the Irish potato famine. His grandfather became a ship’s doctor on an ocean liner …

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