Research

Doing science

The lives of health professionals living and working in Australia invariably involves research of some kind or another. For example, in hospitals and community health we all have to be involved in quality improvement activities each year to ensure our clinical practice is achieving the desired outcomes, and in many cases, this is a simple kind of research.

Additionally, one of the requirements for health professional registration/accreditation in Australia is of course making sure you maintain your knowledge base by keeping abreast of the latest high-quality science published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature (i.e., science journals). Regularly conducting systematic literature reviews is one example of how this can be accomplished.

Working at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and later Diabetes Australia (NSW) required me to supervise Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics students – mainly from the University of Sydney, but also from Wollongong. Typically, supervision involved the conduct of a research project over the course of a Semester, and in recent years has evolved into writing of a Journal article based on the research project, for potential submission for publication.

After many years of supervising students, and while employed as Research and Development Manager/Head of Research at Diabetes Australia (NSW), I decided it was time to do a PhD to advance my own research skills.

I decided to focus on carbohydrates, and in particular carbohydrate quality (the glycemic index) and quantity (glycemic load), due to their central role in Medical Nutrition Therapy for people with diabetes.

Dr Alan Barclay

My thesis ended up being titled “Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load and Risk of Life-Style Related Disease” and the degree (PhD) was awarded in 2008 without emendation, and many of its chapters have been published in peer-reviewed journals (see some examples below). I did my first systematic review and meta-analysis as part of my PhD thesis, and they have since become a specialty of mine.

I have continued to be involved with research through the University of Sydney and am currently an Honorary Research Associate, supervising Master of Nutrition and Dietetic students and giving the occasional lecture.

My most recent Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics supervisory role involved the validation of a Food Frequency Questionnaire in 2017, and I am now involved with a Cochrane Review looking at the effect of glycemic index and glycemic load on the management of diabetes.

Many of the studies I have been involved with over the years have been published in prestigious science journals, including:

1 Livesey G, Taylor R, Livesey HF, Buyken AE, Jenkins DJA, Augustin LSA, Sievenpiper JL, Barclay AW, Liu S, Wolever TMS, Willett WC, Brighenti F, Salas-Salvadó J, Björck I, Rizkalla SW, Riccardi G, Vecchia C, Ceriello A, Trichopoulou A, Poli A, Astrup A, Kendall CWC, Ha MA, Baer-Sinnott S, Brand-Miller JC. Dietary Glycemic Index and Load and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Assessment of Causal Relations. Nutrients. 2019
2 Livesey G, Taylor R, Livesey HF, Buyken AE, Jenkins DJA, Augustin LSA, Sievenpiper JL, Barclay AW, Liu S, Wolever TMS, Willett WC, Brighenti F, Salas-Salvadó J, Björck I, Rizkalla SW, Riccardi G, La Vecchia C, Ceriello A, Trichopoulou A, Poli A, Astrup A, Kendall CWC, Ha MA, Baer-Sinnott S, Brand-Miller JC. Dietary Glycemic Index and Load and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Updated Meta-Analyses of Prospective Cohort Studies. Nutrients. 2019
3 Yeung CHC, Kusnadi DTL, Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Louie JCY. The Decreasing Trend in Dietary Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load in Australian Children and Adolescents between 1995 and 2012. Nutrients. 2018
4 Kusnadi DTL, Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Louie JC. Changes in dietary glycaemic index and glycaemic load in Australian adults from 1995 to 2012. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017.
5 Brand-Miller JC and Barclay AW. Declining consumption of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia: a challenge for obesity prevention. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;105:854–63.
6 Jones M, Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Louie JC. Dietary glycaemic index and glycaemic load among Australian children and adolescents: results from the 2011-2012 Australian Health Survey. British Journal of Nutrition. 2016 May 12:1-10.
7 Louie JCY, Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC. Assigning glycaemic index values to foods in a recent Australian food composition database. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Feb;70(2):280-1
8 International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium, Jenkins DJ, Willett WC, Astrup A, Augustin LS, Baer-Sinnott S, Barclay AW, Björck I, Brand-Miller JC, Brighenti F, Buyken AE, Ceriello A, Kendall CW, La Vecchia C, Livesey G, Liu S, Poli A, Riccardi G, Rizkalla SW, Sievenpiper JL, Trichopoulou A, Wolever TM. Glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response: An International Scientific Consensus Summit from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC). Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Sep;25(9):795-815.
9 Louie JC, Moshtaghian H, Boylan S, Flood VM, Rangan AM, Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Gill TP. A systematic methodology to estimate added sugar content of foods. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014 Dec 17.
10 Bell KJ, Barclay AW, Petocz P, Colagiuri S, Brand-Miller JC. Efficacy of carbohydrate counting in type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014 Feb;2(2):133-40.
11 Buyken AE, Flood V, Empson M, Rochtchina E, Barclay AW, Brand-Miller J, Mitchell P. Carbohydrate nutrition and inflammatory disease mortality in older adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010 Sep;92(3):634-43
12 Kaushik S, Wang JJ, Wong TY, Flood V, Barclay A, Brand-Miller J, Mitchell P. Glycemic index, retinal vascular caliber, and stroke mortality. Stroke. 2009 Jan;40(1):206-12.
13 Barclay AW, Petocz P, McMillan-Price J, Flood V, Prvan T, Brand-Miller J. Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load and Chronic Disease Risk: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008; 87: 627–37.
14 Barclay AW, Flood VM, Rochtchina E, Mitchell P, and Brand-Miller JC. Glycemic Index, Dietary Fiber, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in a Cohort of Older Australians. Diabetes Care. 2007; 30(11): 2811-2813.
15 Barclay AW, Flood VM, Brand-Miller JC, and Mitchell P. Validity of carbohydrate, Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load data obtained using a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Public Health Nutrition. 2008 Jun;11(6):573-80.
16 Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Paul Mitchell. Macronutrient intake, glycemic index and glycemic load of older Australians with and without diabetes: Baseline data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study. British Journal of Nutrition. 2006; 96(1):117-23.
17 Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Wolever TMS. Glycemic Load, and Glycemic Response Are Not the Same. Diabetes Care. 2005;28 (7): 1839-40