Over 15,000 people with diabetes around the UK are taking part in ASCEND. Around two thirds of ASCEND participants are men and around one quarter were over 70 years old when they joined the study. We are immensely grateful to all our volunteers, some of whom have been taking part in the study for over 10 years.
People with diabetes were invited to join the study from 3 main sources: diabetes registers, general practice and people who have previously participated in other studies. Diabetes specialists and GPs from around the UK were invited to collaborate and allow invitation of potentially suitable individuals from their locally held diabetes registers (such as those held for retinopathy screening or for service provision). The Patient Information Advisory Group (PIAG), set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2001 (covering England and Wales), gave approval for us to process patient-identifiable data from hospital registers (confidentially on behalf of local collaborators) in order to generate invitations to potentially eligible study participants. (Note: PIAG no longer exists and it’s duties are now undertaken by the Data Access Advisory Group (DAAG) at NHS digital).