Forever Fat?

I understand that maintaining a healthy weight following a successful weightless diet is difficult but this seems overly pessimistic:

Researchers claim that fat people, who lose weight either by dieting or exercising, will put it all back on again within a year.

The article does back off from the overarching generalization but claims that those of us who lose weight don’t have a chance to keep it off long term. Something tells me there is a great opportunity for a service industry to help dieters meet this daunting challenge. Anyone interested?

A “Cure” for Type 2 Diabetes

In case you haven’t already heard, researchers are now reporting that Type 2 Diabetes may (possibly) be reversed by a restricted low-calorie diet:

Adhering to the strict 600 calorie-a-day diet causes fat levels in the pancreas to plummet, restoring normal function, found Prof Roy Taylor of Newcastle University.

The discovery, a “radical change” in understanding of the condition, holds out the possibility that sufferers could cure themselves – if they have the willpower.

Until recently received medical wisdom was that Type 2 diabetes was largely irreversible.

But this small-scale study indicates that defeating it could be easier than commonly thought.

Prof Taylor asked 11 volunteers, all recently diagnosed, to go on what he admitted was an “extreme diet” of specially formulated drinks and non-starchy vegetables, for eight weeks.

Hyscience comments:

As the article goes on to point out, the trial study involved only 11 patients that ate a “meal-replacement” milkshake of 150 calories three times a day. This was supplemented with three portions of non-starchy vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. After one week, their pre-breakfast blood sugar levels had returned to normal and an MRI scan revealed that the fat levels in the pancreas were also normal, down from around eight per cent to six per cent.

Notes to self:

  • Great news – perhaps (I think)
  • “small-scale study” –  The smaller the study the less likely the results will be supported over time, esp. considering all of the potential influential factors.  Something like 33% of all reported major medical studies is contradicted within five years.
  • Radical change in management – pharma and device companies may need to revisit their strategic roadmap if this research is supported by larger scale studies


What is the opposite of diabetes mellitus?

Congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) is a condition where the body’s pancreas produces too much insulin.  Researchers have reported a potential treatment for CHI.  I have to wonder if the opposite treatment will be effective for diabetes mellitus?

The Growing Problem of Alzheimer’s Disease

This is staggering…

The Alzheimer’s Association 2011 Annual Report reveals that Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death, has risen 66% fom 2000-2008 and, among the top 10 fatal conditions, is the only one that can’t be “prevented, cured or even slowed.”  One in eight older Americans have the disease including 50% of those over the age of 85.  What’s more, caregivers provide 17 billion hours of unpaid care and suffer as a result:

Because of the toll of caregiving on their own health, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $7.9 billion in additional health care costs in 2010. More than 60 percent of family caregivers report high levels of stress because of the prolonged duration of caregiving and 33 percent report symptoms of depression

And the situation won’t get any better.  When the first wave of baby boomers reaches age 85 years (2031), an estimated 3.5 million people aged85 and older will have Alzheimer’s.  Here’s a video that will further communicate the crisis.


The Run on Potassium Iodide – an Anti-Cancer Drug

Japan is literally staring down a potential nuclear holocaust and some Americans, fearing the worst, have begun buying potassium iodide, a drug that can protect people from radiation-induced thyroid cancer.  Will the fall-out really traverse the Pacific Ocean?


Nick Jonas revisits event where he first announced he has type 1 diabetes

Yesterday, Nick Jonas joined the Diabetes Research Insititute for the organziation’s annual fundraiser, the Carnival for a Cure:

Hundreds of families have come to expect a whirlwind of surprises at the always-entertaining Carnival for a Cure, benefiting the Diabetes Research Institute. At this year’s 6th annual affair, to be held on Sunday, March 13, 2011 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Metropolitan Pavilion located at 125 W. 18th St., guests enjoyed a special appearance by Nick Jonas, who talked about life with diabetes during the program.

It was at the 2007 event that Jonas first announced to the world that he has type 1 diabetes.

“I’m looking forward to attending and sharing my story about how diabetes hasn’t slowed me down,” he wrote in a recent blog post. Jonas serves as a spokesperson for Bayer Healthcare Diabetes Care, a sponsor of the event.


Here’s your chance – DiabetesMine Design Challenge

DiabetesMine, a leading informational and community web site for people with diabetes, recently announced the kickoff of the 2011 DiabetesMine Design Challenge, a competition that fosters innovation in the creation of new tools designed to improve life with diabetes.

This annual web-based competition, hosted at here, calls for fresh ideas for new devices, web applications, or other instruments designed to help people live better with diabetes. The contest is underwritten by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), an independent philanthropy committed to improving the way healthcare is delivered and financed in California and beyond. It is also supported by the global design and innovation firm IDEO, headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, and endorsed by, the Internet journal of emerging medical technologies.


Read the announcement at DiabetesMine!

About this D-Blog

Over the five year history of we’ve concentrated on providing news and facts concerning health issues that impact the lives of individuals with diabetes and insulin resistance.  To some extent we were successful but lost our momentum several years ago.  Diabetologica has been re-designed in two important ways.  First, the site itself was ported from MovableType to WordPress and completely overhauled using a Theme Framework.  Second, our writing is being re-focused to reflect our personal commitment and experience related to diabetes in addition to trends and research.  We’re hoping to reach out and develop a greater sense of community with like-minded individuals to benefit you, our readers.

Potassium: a biomarker for high blood pressure and diabetes?

We’re learning that alternate biomarkers are independent predictors of type 2 diabetes in some populations. Among these is potassium:

Lower blood potassium levels may be why African-Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than whites, U.S. researchers say.

“This research doesn’t mean people should run out and start taking potassium supplements,” Hsin-Chieh “Jessica” Yeh, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

“But we now know lower serum potassium is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that African-Americans have, on average, lower potassium levels than whites. What remains to be seen is if increasing potassium levels through diet or supplementation can prevent the most common form of diabetes.”

This was a retrospective analysis on 12k patients – not too shabby.  In the past, low potassium levels have been linked to higher blood pressure, which seems explainable, but I’m not certain what mechanisms would increase the chance of developing diabetes.

Here’s a related fact:  some, including the article I referenced, suggest that African Americans tend to consume less potassium in their diet.  However, prior studies suggest that there may be a physiological element.


Ten Percent

Recent reports suggest that nearly one in 10 North Carolinians has diabetes. I understand that the incidence of diabetes continues to rise but wonder if the near doubling of presumed cases may be influenced by improved detection/screening and a change in criteria?

Airborne Gets Nailed

I’ve used their product for years. Yes, the marketing worked on me but the idea proposed by the company, that one dose can instantly protect you when flying, is incorrect.

The makers of Airborne have agreed to refund money to consumers as part of a $23.3 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit for false advertising. It does not admit wrongdoing or illegal conduct.
Products included are the Airborne Effervescent Health Formula, Airborne On-the-Go, Airborne Power Pixies, Airborne Nighttime, Airborne Jr., Airborne Gummi, and Airborne Seasonal (formerly sold as Airborne Seasonal Relief).

I’m not sure if I’ll ask Airborne for a refund and I don’t think I’m any worse off for using the product. And, when all is said and done, I really didn’t believe that I would be immunized from disease. Rather, I expected an immune system boost.

No More Needles?

New technologies always seem to be just two years away:

University of NSW PhD student Roderick Sih and his supervisor, Professor Neil Foster, are developing technology to deliver insulin orally and hope it could go on the market within two years.

Especially when there is intellectual property the might attract investors:

A global patent for ARISE insulin has been filed by New South Innovations, the commercial arm of the UNSW. Mr Sih said it could undergo clinical trials within six months.

I’m in the wait-and-see mode on this one …

Amercian Diabetes Association

Is anyone attending the ADA in Chicago this weekend? What are your impressions. I was able to check out the exhibition and was delighted to find the 7-day Dexcom continuous monitor had been approved and is available.

No Beer for Padres Pitcher David Wells

“From the time I found out, I made changes. No more starches and sugar. No more rice, pasta, potatoes and white bread. No more fast food. I’ve cut out alcohol.”

These are the words of David Wells, the San Diego Padres pitcher who recently found out he has Type 2 diabetes.
Note that the anti-alcohol declaration comes from the man who once boasted of being hung over when he pitched his perfect game.

“This is a major lifestyle change. I don’t want this going to Type 1 diabetes. I want to be around for a while. If you don’t take care of this, it can lead to some scary stuff … like losing limbs. If anyone has this, it’s a red flag, period.

The Staggering Rise of Type 1 Diabetes

The increased incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in children under the age of five is staggering:

The number of British children under five diagnosed with a specific type of diabetes has risen five-fold over 20 years due to unidentified environmental factors, a study said on Friday.
“This could either mean that we are being exposed to something new, or that we now have reduced exposure to something that was previously controlling our immune responses,” said Professor Polly Bingley from Bristol University.
“We now need to work to identify what these changes might be,” she added.

Researchers are mystified but were not at all bashful about giving their opinions. Here’s one theory:

The soaring rates of type 1 diabetes in children can be attributed to the better hygiene conditions, which prevent them from being exposed to infections, according to new research by The Bristol University.

And another:

The Bristol University team blame genes and environmental factors, including breastfeeding rates.
(…) Lead researcher Professor Polly Bingley said the rate of childhood Type 1 diabetes was increasing all over Europe, particularly in the very young.
(…) She suggested that fewer mums opting to breastfeed their babies might be a factor.

And another by the same investigator:

Scientists are considering the theory that hygienic Western lifestyles, with infants raised in households that are “too clean“, could be a factor in the increase.

Actually, this final is a repeat of the first but reported in a different manner. It’s quite interesting how media outlets are gravitating to different theories despite the lack of clear evidence. Headlines suggest “Better hygiene conditions responsible for soaring rates of Type ” and “Too healthy children can get diabetes“. Yet there are a myriad of correlations which exist between the rise of Type 1 Diabetes, environmental conditions and the lifestyle. Before we assume any one of them is the dominant factor further investigation seems pertinent. For example, prior to blaming the rise of the disease on a decrease in breastfeeding couldn’t researchers actually perform the investigation?
I’ve yet to find the original research report supporting the findings but the announcement by Diabetes UK is here.

Diabetes Expert Writes Gripping Mystery About Diabetic P.I.

What do a murder mystery and diabetes have in common? They both play key roles in Evelyn Geisler’s new suspense novel, “The Canal Murder”. Geisler, certified diabetes educator and a writer of a monthly question and answer column for diabetes, has released her first novel whose main character, a private investigator, has diabetes.
How did Geisler become an expert in the field of diabetes? It began indirectly when at the age of 17 she had the opportunity to work in a hospital pharmacy and she immediately knew she wanted to become a pharmacist. She pursued her goal, graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a BS in Pharmacy and eventually became the owner of Geislers’ Drugstore in Tehachapi, California, from 1988-1997. She sold the pharmacy to Rite-Aid and continued working as a pharmacist until 2002. Evelyn combined her knowledge of pharmaceuticals with a quest for understanding of diabetes even before her husband was diagnosed in 1998. At that time she had completed training as a diabetes specialist and now spends most of her time teaching patients how to manage their diabetes. She currently works for Medtronic Minimed and is a consultant to Tehachapi Hospital where she facilities a diabetes support group.
Evelyn, a writer by hobby, decided to combine her love of writing with her knowledge of diabetes into a novel that would not only entertain mystery lovers, but would also educate people on the effects of diabetes. “The Canal Murder” follows the investigation of Claire Burton, a P.I. hired to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of young Cindy Kagel. Claire is diabetic. Evelyn says that writing mysteries and her current job as a diabetes counselor have a similar bent–she often feels like a detective in trying to figure out how best to help her clients because treatment must be tailored to each person’s needs.
Geisler hopes that “The Canal Murder” will raise people’s awareness of diabetes and provide understanding of its effects on people who have it. In the story, Claire has an insulin pump, one of the modern day advances used in helping people more easily manage their diabetes. Geisler encourages people to be sure to get checked for diabetes on a regular basis, especially those with a family history.
“The Canal Murder” can be purchased by calling toll free 1-877-421-7323 or through or your local bookstore.

The Diabetes Epidemic

The news is all to familiar:

  • At least 171 million people have diabetes worldwide, and the number will climb to 366 million by 2030, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.
  • Health-care costs to treat and prevent diabetes and its complications will reach $232 billion this year and rise to more than $302.5 billion in 2025, International Diabetes Federation estimates

WHO suggests that the increase in diabetes is related to worldwide obesity, and there is a strong likelihood that this is the case. Perhaps an increased awareness of the disease and more readily available screening has also contributed to the marked increases observed over the past five years.
While the news is almost overwhelming, there is a lot that each person can do by taking responsibility for their own lifestyle and influencing those around them, and in particular their family members.

Ban McDonalds?

Britain’s Prince Charles suggested that Middle East government’s ban the world’s fast food giant:

“Have you got anywhere with McDonald’s? Have you tried getting it banned? That’s the key,” the prince said to a nutritionist at the centre.

His comments were made during a trip to the Middle East while visiting the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi.
What surprised me more than Charles’ preposterous and off-handed comments (ban junk food?) were the statistics quoted regarding diabetes and the Middle East:

The GCC countries have the worst record in the world for diabetes. According to The International Diabetes Federation in 2003, the top five countries with the highest percentage of adults with diabetes were Nauru (30.2%), UAE (20.1%), Qatar (16%), Bahrain (14.9%), and Kuwait (12.8%).
Obesity and inherited predisposition are the major causes or diabetes – and both factors appear to be at epidemic proportions in the Middle East.
In Bahrain, 83% of women are obese or overweight according to a 2005 report by the International Obesity Task Force, a London-based think tank. In the United Arab Emirates, the figure is 74%; in Lebanon it is 75%.

Charles was in the region to help the launch of a campaign that will help educate and empower individuals to both prevent and treat diabetes. This certainly should be commended. Ironically, we probably would not have heard about his trip here in the states w/out his comments concerning McDonalds.