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People with the most serious form of diabetes can retard serious complications in their eyes, kidneys and nervous systems by checking their blood sugar and injecting insulin more often, a landmark study says.

Such intensive treatment appeared to delay the appearance of complications and slow their progression when compared to a more standard regimen for controlling blood sugar, said Dr. Phillip Gorden.Although the study included only people with "Type I" diabetes, who require daily insulin injections to survive, the concept also may apply to other people with diabetes, Gorden said.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial followed 1,441 patients in the United States and Canada for an average of about six years. Gorden called it the largest diabetes study in history.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two treatment regimens. Those in the intensive-control group tested their blood sugar four or more times a day and injected insulin three or more times a day, or used an insulin pump. They also followed a special diet and visited a clinic weekly to monthly.

The other participants followed what the federal institute said was the regimen used by most people with Type I diabetes: insulin injections once or twice a day with daily blood sugar tests. They visited a clinic every three months.