TECNOB Study: Ad Interim Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Multidisciplinary Telecare Intervention for Obese Patients with Type-2 Diabetes

Gianluca Castelnuovo1, 3, *, Gian Mauro Manzoni1, 2, Paola Cuzziol1, 2, Gian Luca Cesa1, Stefania Corti1, Cristina Tuzzi4, Valentina Villa1, Antonio Liuzzi 5, Maria Letizia Petroni 4, Enrico Molinari 1, 3
1 Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS, Psychology Research Laboratory, Ospedale San Giuseppe, Verbania, Italy
2 Department of Psychology, University of Bergamo, Italy
3 Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Milan, Italy
4 Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS, Laboratory of Nutrition Research, Ospedale San Giuseppe, Verbania, Italy
5 Istituto Auxologico Italiano IRCCS, Diabetes Research Laboratory, Ospedale San Giuseppe, Verbania, Italy

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© Castelnuovo et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Psychology Research Laboratory, San Giuseppe Hospital, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Via Cadorna, 90, 28824 Piancavallo (VB), Italy; Tel: 0039 323 514338; Fax: 0039 323 514338; E-mail:



Obesity increases the risk of many health complications such as hypertension, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes, needs long-lasting treatment for effective results and involves high public and private care-costs. Therefore, it is imperative that enduring and low-cost clinical programs for obesity and related co-morbidities are developed and evaluated. Information and communication technologies (ICT) can help clinicians to deliver treatment in a cost-effective and time-saving manner to a large number of obese individuals with co-morbidities.


To examine ad interim effectiveness of a 12-month multidisciplinary telecare intervention for weight loss provided to obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

A single-center randomized controlled trial (TECNOB study) started in December 2008. At present, 72 obese patients with type 2 diabetes have been recruited and randomly allocated to the TECNOB program (n=37) or to a control condition (n=39). However, only 34 participants have completed at least the 3-month follow-up and have been included in this ad interim analysis. 21 out of them have reached also the 6-month follow-up and 13 have achieved the end of the program. Study is still on-going.


All participants attended 1-month inpatient intensive program that involved individualized medical care, diet therapy, physical training and brief psychological counseling. At discharge, participants allocated to the TECNOB program were instructed to use a weight-loss web-site, a web-based videoconference tool, a dietary software installed into their cellular phones and an electronic armband measuring daily steps and energy expenditure.

Main Outcome Measures:

Weight and disordered eating-related behaviors and cognitions (EDI-2) at entry to hospital, at discharge from hospital, at 3,6 and 12 months.


Ad interim analysis of data from 34 participants showed no statistically significant difference between groups in weight change at any time-point. However, within-group analysis revealed significant reductions of initial weight at discharge from hospital, at 3 months, at 6 months but not at 12 months. Control group had higher scores in Interpersonal distrust at 12 months.


This ad interim findings revealed that the effect of the inpatient treatment was high and probably overwhelmed the effect of the TECNOB intervention. Much statistical power and long-term follow-up may enhance the probability to detect the TECNOB effect over and above the great one exerted by the inpatient program.

Keywords: Obesity, type-2 diabetes, weight loss, weight loss maintenance, telemedicine, telecare, RCT.