Category Archives: betes news

diabetics: they’re just like us!

They go shopping on Black Friday!

Straight from The Weekly, the neighborhood newspaper of Peachtree Corners/Norcross/Berkeley Lake/Duluth, Georgia, comes valuable and timely insight: holiday shopping is intense for everyone–but just imagine how it must be for those diabetics! It’s like shop ’til you drop…on the ground…from a severe bout of hypoglycemia because you’re so intent on getting that two-for-one blender special at the K-Mart, you forget about breakfast! Am I right?

Thank you, Marc Wolf, for bestowing your wisdom upon those of us who both want to shop for our loved ones AND have a lack of beta cells. I’ll be sure to print out your tips & techniques this Friday to keep in my purse, which will be sure to match my close-toed and supportive shoes.

Bravo, to The Weekly, for completely unnecessarily separating diabetics from the rest of the shopping population this holiday season. Happy shopping!

why an “artificial pancreas” is not as magical as it sounds

ABC News is excited about it! An artificial pancreas trial has begun! People with diabetes may be able to live (dare we say it) normal lives!

But…wait. What exactly is this fantastical device that could someday revolutionize diabetes care until we find a cure? What does it look like? Oh, right, it looks like the continuous glucose monitor on one side of your stomach, the pump attached to the other, and a “computer” that takes readings from the former and tells the latter how to function.

For people like me who use a glucose monitor (continuous or otherwise) and an insulin pump, that computer is called brains.

Trials have shown the bionic system [wa-na-naaaa] (as it will be heretofore called) does a better job regulating blood sugars than plain ol’ brains, which makes good sense. The computer portion uses complicated algorithms to predict blood sugar behavior and administer the correct amount of insulin (or, in the case of incoming hypoglycemia, no insulin at all). Sounds dandy.

But what about malfunctions? What about knowing our own bodies and eating habits better than any computer possibly could? The prospect of a computer shutting off my pump automatically or putting insulin into my bloodstream without me realizing (nope, you can’t feel it goin’ in) is effing scary. I like the control, even if it means expending some extra brains-power to have it.

So, thank you, Boris, really. I think this type of research is definitely important and should continue. But…no thanks. Not yet, not for me.

up down left right b(lood glucose) start

Way back in the day (1993 to be exact), when I was in third grade, the diabetic girl in the class used a glucose monitor that fit snugly in its zipper case; and the case was the size of a laptop bag. She squeezed what seemed at the time like a pint of blood from her index finger and stood patiently, waiting as the machine to registered, for what seemed like five full minutes.

Today’s third graders? Soon they’ll be able to check their blood sugars with a video game. They earn points for good readings. Open levels for testing regularly. Like a special island in MarioWorld that’s just for diabetics. I’m imagining pump tubing instead of green tubes, syringes instead of gold coins, and donuts & candy blasting forth from the weapons of the bad, high blood sugar guys…but I’m sure that’s totally off.

They (Bayer HealthCare) call it the Didget. It’s for the NintendoDS and it’s making diabetes kid-cool. Didget!

of dogs and diabetes

Last week we all learned a bit about how to recognize signs of hypoglycemia (that’s low blood sugar for anyone who was not paying attention).

This week, we learn about an elusive super-creature who doesn’t need to read silly words to learn when his friend might be in trouble:
The canine glucometer.
The blood-sugar-hound.
A [diabetic] man’s best friend.
THE BIO-DETECTION DOG!

Just when a British type 1 diabetic named Cherry (not to be confused with the infamous Cherry who was locked in a freezer playing hide and seek) thought his uncontrollable diabetes and inability to feel rapidly dropping blood glucose would be the end of him*, in came dundundun Zeta the diabetic hypo-alert dog, to the rescue!

Sure, there are continuous glucose monitoring systems (essentially glucose meters that stay under your skin and give readings) that can tell you if your sugar’s heading south, but they just beep or vibrate. They don’t lick your face or pant beside you or show serious concern in their little faces. So, if Cherry is dangerously close to passing out from low blood sugar, his pup can sense it, and before said passing out and possibly coma occurs, he’s warned. But he’s lovingly warned.

The Cancer and Bio-Detection Dogs research center is in Aylesbury, England, and they train dogs like the one pictured here, presumably all adorned with multicolored hair clips. photo credit: Hypo Alert Dogs

Dude, these dogs can even detect cancer…sometimes. Now, if only this talent extended into the feline community, I’d be quite a content diabetic.

*figure of speech, sort of.
(Thanks, redOrbit, for introducing me to the betes-dog.)