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Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

new drugI imagine we’ve all been closely following the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Although we’re a long way from the finish line, how encouraging is it that a very experimental biotech drug may be saving the lives of a couple of infected healthcare workers.

Moving toward the integrated  display of a glucose monitoring system, and insulin pump system for diabetes (Dexcom and Insulet).

Will animal testing eventually go the way of the dodo bird in drug development? Maybe – now that scientists are developing “human body on a chip” technology. Fascinating stuff.

Big investment money going after CARTs (leading-edge cancer treatment based on re-engineering the patient’s own white blood cells).

Alliance between BMS and Allied Minds to speed R&D developments in university research insititutions (data-, expertise-, and resource-sharing).

Novartis on the threshold of a new chronic heart failure treatment.

BONUS: will there soon be a blood test to detect ANY type of cancer?

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Keep Your Limbs to Yourself!

Every day, 225 diabetics will undergo a lower limb amputation. That’s the equivalent of a 747 full of passengers crashing every day. Of those 225, 30% will require a second amputation within three years and 50% of those 225 will die within five years of that first amputation.

Yet, it seems like no one is blogging about this silent killer — Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN).  Of all diabetes complications, foot disease is the leading cause of hospitalization.

Join the folks from Pam Labs (disclosure: client of a friend) on Tuesday June 28th at 8pm ET in an exclusive, invite only 20-minute webinar where DPN will be discussed:
    DPN: Exactly how big is the problem? The stats, the facts, and a few key infographics
    Challenges and Unmet Needs of DPN sufferers
    Signs / Symptoms and Clinical Impact
    Current Therapeutic Strategies
    Introduction to an Emerging Therapeutic Approach
You can register to attend via this link http://budurl.com/DPNWeb.
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DiabetesMine Design Contest

A worthy cause and a great opportunity to show your creative design chops – the annual DiabetesMine Design Contest.

Apply your skills in a whole range of areas (see link above) to help develop new ways to make life with diabetes easier – and, win some great prizes!

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Despising the Big D

Today, I saw one of my sons blithely dipping a chip into salsa, happily munching away while multi-tasking at something else – not a care in the world about his food.

It brought a smile to my face – but there was a touch of sadness with it.

You see, my work has brought me into contact with a number of PWDs (People With Diabetes) who are active on-line. And as I’ve read their blogs and tweets, talked to a number of them personally, and done my research, I’ve come to the same conclusion that they all have.

Diabetes sucks.

I don’t suffer from diabetes, nor does anyone in my extended family. But as I see how diabetes can essentially take over one’s life – the incessant measuring, and managing, and planning, and adjusting, all because a pancreas goes out on permanent strike (Type 1) and blood sugar levels run riot – it’s obvious that for many, diabetes is a 24/7 companion. Like having been at the altar in a shotgun wedding, where you never chose to say “I do.”

Instead, diabetes said, “You will. Deal with me.”

Some of the diabetes bloggers have kindly educated me about the disease and helped me understand – as much as is possible – what a crazy and wearying ride it is every day, just to stay on top of it. The endlessness of it. The disease guilt. The survivors’ guilt. The constant fear of the future as diabetes takes its ongoing toll on health. The fear about having children. The elusive cure which never seems to get closer.

The supplies, the equipment, the insulin, the hassles with insurance. The inability, ever, to just sit down and enjoy a meal without thinking about carbs and sugars and highs and lows and bolused insulin and “will people despise me if I eat this cupcake?”

Yes, add in the lack of understanding from society at large.

I honestly don’t know how some of these friends – including parents with children who have this condition – get through the day. I can’t imagine there’s ever 20 minutes that goes by without having to think about something diabetes-related.

Tonight, we will go to a dinner with some other families, and I won’t have to think about what I’m eating, or what my blood sugar level is – I am blessed beyond measure to have a pancreas that just works. But for thousands, that is not the case and it never will be.  PWDs are blessed with amazing technology and medicines that help them live. And I’m thankful to have a chance to get to know these folks. Nonetheless, this much is abundantly clear.

Diabetes sucks.

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I’m on the Amtrak Acela, enjoying a train ride with Manny Hernandez and Kerri Sparling (a couple of well-known diabetes bloggers). I’ve been determined to know more about this increasingly prevalent disease, and given that this weekend includes World Diabetes Day, I thought I’d conduct an in-train interview with these two friends about living with diabetes. So here, they speak from the heart to the rest of us who may be quite unaware of what this disease is all about.

SW: Kerri, you were diagnosed with diabetes at about age 6. Tell me how people begin to discover that there’s a problem, leading to a diagnosis of diabetes.

KS: There’s more than one type of diabetes. I was diagnosed early on with Type 1 diabetes, which means that my pancreas basically stopped producing insulin. For me, the first indicator was onset of bed-wetting in first grade, which can be a symptom of high blood sugar. A couple of months later, a urine test confirmed that I had Type 1 diabetes.

SW: Why would someone’s pancreas stop producing insulin?

KS: It’s an auto-immune disease, and the causes are still a mystery. For me, the doctors figured there was probably some hidden genetic predisposition, triggered by a virus.

SW: Was your experience similar, Manny?

MH: Actually, no. Sometimes there’s a much longer delayed fuse on the onset, so I didn’t have symptoms and wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. My type of diabetes is referred to as LADA – Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. This is often misdiagnosed as Type 2 diabetes because of the later onset, when in fact it’s a form of Type 1 (we sometimes refer to it as Type 1.5).

SW: So in your case, and for many other people, there’s not someone “at fault” – this disease was not caused by bad parenting or too many lollipops…

KS: Absolutely not! Type 1 diabetes is not my fault, my parent’s fault, or anyone else’s fault. It’s a disease that I have to deal with and manage, but there’s no-one to blame.

SW: But do you still feel a sense that people, out of ignorance, try to assign blame for your diabetes?

KS: Yes, and that’s because there’s a lack of awareness about the causes of diabetes, and the various types of diabetes. Part of managing diabetes is managing the disease, and part of it, quite frankly, is managing misconceptions.

SW: In the simplest terms, what are the major differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

MH: In Type 1, you have a malfunctioning pancreas, which no longer produces insulin. In Type 2, the body develops resistance to insulin – your body still produces it, but insulin is not able to do its job properly. Both are called diabetes, but the treatments and management strategies can be quite different.

SW: You’ve both explained to me the day-to-day, hour-by-hour management of diabetes, including a mix of regular insulin injections (or use of high-tech devices to pump insulin into your system); monitors; test strips, etc. There’s really no relief, no let-up, from keeping blood sugar levels under control, is there?

MH: No. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to all sorts of additional health problems, so it’s vital to try to maintain consistent control. Perfect control is impossible, but good disease management is increasingly possible with the right tools and approaches. And even then, diabetes sometimes decides to do wacky things.

SW: If you could get one message across to those of us that don’t experience this disease, what would it be?

KS: That even if we don’t look sick, we still deserve a cure. Managing diabetes is a marathon, with the constant threat of health complications at every step. We have to try to do the best we can with a uncooperative pancreas, and we hope that someday we can move from unceasing measurement and management to a cessation of the disease.

MH: I would advise people to get connected – there is a very active and supportive diabetes on-line community (DOC) that can become a very valuable source of help and information – be sure to share what you’re learning with your physician.

SW: I have a lot to learn. At least I understand that I’m not going to “catch” diabetes from a doorknob or anything, right?

KS: You realize that if you keep hanging out with us your pancreas will stop working… :>}

SW: Ummmm…hey, pardon me while I head over to the Club Car…!

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Go Big Blue!

Go ahead – watch this video and a child with diabetes gets a week worth of life-saving insulin:

From the fine folks at Diabetes Hands Foundation, with sponsorship by Roche Diabetes Care. Every view counts – please pass it along via Twitter and Facebook!

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For you or someone you know….

Senior Brand Manager (Princeton, NJ)

Field Sales Diabetes Care Specialist (Chicago, IL)

Field Sales Diabetes Care Specialist (Glassboro, NJ)

Senior Manager, Field Force Training (East) (West)

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