Treating ‘all this other stuff’

Here’s a story that’s only tangentially related to diabetes. It’s from the Minneapolis Star Tribune describing the Essentia Institute of Rural Health. Part of the story talks about a young boy whose diabetes was worsening.

The specialist was a two-hour drive away, and his mother lacked financial and cooking skills. Essentia got the mom counseling and arranged telemedicine consults with a diabetes clinic.

Said Dr. Joe Bianco, who oversees Essentia’s primary care practice”

“We treated his blood sugars not with medicines — we treated them by dealing with all of this other stuff.”

If you have any interest in rural communities, the Affordable Care Act or even health care in general, the story is worth a read. Think about how Essentia solved the problems surrounding this boy’s worsening condition and ponder what our communities ought to be doing.

I doubt anyone reading this has any doubt of the crisis facing us concerning diabetes or obesity. Maybe some intervenor — a doctor, an insurance company, someone — also should be thinking about treating “all of this other stuff.”


Don’t hold your breath on ‘smart insulin’

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently revealed that mouse studies of “smart insulin” showed promise. The smart insulin would activate only when needed. And folks, understandably, are excited about the prospects of managing diabetes with just a single shot.

InsulinNation has an interview with the MIT researchers, and the timing of human trials could be a long way off.

Dr. Matthew Webber, a co-author for the study, said:

“These things are very difficult, I think. It could be anywhere from a few years to a few decades or never.”

Yes … he said “never.”


A bit a joy in a time of sorrow

“The Egg Crack Challenge has really been a great thing for us getting through this. It’s a bit of joy in a time of sorrow. We all need to try to help cure this disease.”

Lyndall Hauver, mother of Will Hauver

Will Hauver was a Rollins College student who launched the “Egg Crack Challenge” last year. The challenge was much like the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS; people were challenged to crack eggs on their head in the name of raising money for diabetes research. Will Hauver died in February.

The quote appeared in David Lauderdale column in the Island Packet, a newspaper serving Hilton Head, S.C.

Lauderdale himself took the Egg Crack Challenge. Here’s the video: 


Three days with GlucoSuccess

IMG_0420After three days using GlucoSuccess, I can say it’s a bit of a nag.

Created by Massachusetts General Hospital, the iPhone app uses ResearchKit and it’s meant to make it easier for Type 2 diabetics to manage what they eat and how much they exercise. It succeeds on some levels, but it still could use a bit of polish.

Where it works: It integrates with LoseIt, an app that monitors what food you eat. It has a large database of products. Focus a barcode with the phone’s camera, and LoseIt pulls up calorie and carbohydrate information. GlucoSuccess’s developers were smart to let an existing, working app to do this chore.

And GlucoSuccess does a fair job integrating food and exercise.

But it’s a real nag.

Every morning it reminds me to check my feet. OK, I’m not going to fault it for encouraging me to keep tabs on a very real complication from my illness. But at 5 p.m. every day, I’ve gotten a message from the app reminding me to complete my daily tasks, which includes my pre-dinner glucose test. Dinner, for me, won’t be till about 7:30 p.m., and it would be great if the app could figure that out.

GlucoSuccess has a “Diet Insights” function that lists food I’ve eaten that are high in carbs or sugar. Near the top of the list is my bowl of kamut with a half cup of flax milk. If you’ve never eaten kamut, it’s a bit like the marriage of puffed wheat on Styrofoam packing peanuts. I eat it because 1 cup is 11 grams of carbohydrates (0g sugar). Top the kamut with a half cup of flax milk — carbs 4g (4g sugar) — and it’s a bowl of cereal with milk for 15g carbs.

But GlucoSuccess doesn’t like it because 88 percent of the calories come from carbohydrates. (I’m not sure how the math works out.) I don’t expect a gold star for my morning bowl of tastelessness, but I don’t expect to get cyber-dinged either.

I’ll stick with the app in the hopes that the insights become more thoughtful. But I’ll be expecting GlucoSuccess to do a better job at managing my data so I can do a better job managing my diabetes.

News, Uncategorized

Apple leads 11,000 to cardiovascular study

Eleven thousand Apple iPhone owners signed up for a Stanford University cardiovascular study less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool ResearchKit was announced, Bloomberg reports.

The report quoted Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health:

“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country. That’s the power of the phone.”

Apple wants ResearchKit to become the standard by which other health apps are measured. GlucoSuccess was part of the ResearchKit rollout.

The Bloomberg story dives deeper into potential biases, particularly the average iPhone owner might not be the average human, making the data less useful.

Regardless of the bias, Lifehacker thought ResearchKit was the most exciting announcement on a day when Apple unveiled its long-rumored Apple Watch.



Monoclonal antibody treatment for T1D

More pharma news … BioLineRx says it has positive pre-clinical results for a drug called BL-9020, a novel monoclonal antibody treatment for Type 1 diabetes.

From Smarter Analyst:

BL-9020 is a novel monoclonal antibody treatment designed to prevent immune-mediated destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. It was developed to treat Type 1 diabetes in early stage patients, during what is known as the “honeymoon period,” where the pancreatic beta cells have not been completely destroyed and continue to secrete insulin.


JDRF TypeOneNation DC Research Summit. Where else?

This was a great event. I learned a lot, and I was lifted to see so many people with similar concerns. If JDRF has an event planned in your area, I strongly recommend you go.

Diabetes Blog -

Last Saturday, people from the USA’s Mid-Atlantic region living with and affected by Type 1 Diabetes gathered for another TypeOneNation Research Summit in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.

This was my third DC summit, and usually I go over all the presentations in great detail, trying to pass along the information I gathered on a wide variety of topics over the course of about seven hours.

Instead of doing that again, I think I’d like to ask you a few questions. These questions are especially for those of you with TypeOneNation summits coming up in your area soon, but also for those who may have skipped this year’s DC summit and want to know what it was like. So… Let me ask you:

Where else would you get expert advice and a chance to ask questions about diabetes and exercise, and the best way to handle both, from the…

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Psychoactive plant shows promise for T1D

A chemical found in a number of plants around the world has shown promise in regenerating pancreatic cells lost to Type 1 diabetes.

From Diabetes UK:

Harmine is derived from Harmal, a flowering plant, but the drug is known for its psychoactive effects on the brain. It is an ingredient in the psychoactive mixture ayahuasca and is reportedly used in spiritual ceremonies.

Medical Daily adds this:

The researchers discovered harmine’s ability to reproduce beta cells in a culture. Then, they injected human islets into diabetic mice and administered harmine, triggering beta cell production and normalizing blood glucose control. Harmine was able to triple the number of beta cells within the mice’s pancreas.