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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Testing'

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Tiny tiniBoy Lancets

September 14th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Even though Dr. Stanley Kim isn’t a diabetes specialist, he had plenty of motivation to invent the thinnest and shortest lancets ever. Dr. Kim is a hematologist and oncologist who is a member of the board of trustees of San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland, California, and president-elect of the hospital’s medical staff.


Stanley Kim, M.D.

The story started, he told me, about three years ago when he learned that he had type 2 diabetes. “The lancets that I used hurt too much for me,” he said. “I resisted whenever I had to check my blood glucose and knew that something wasn’t right.”

The story continued when he went to the hospital’s pediatrics and neonatal departments. “The lancets that they used were pretty thick, and the babies would cry. You could tell that the babies were suffering. So I thought that I could make a very thin and short lancet that wouldn’t hurt as much.”

Like firefighters who rescue people out of burning houses, this was something that he had to do. “This was my  motivation.”

Like most people, I learned about Dr. Kim’s lancets by word of mouth. A correspondent named Ashique Iqbal recently brought them to my attention. Dr. Kim has actually been marketing them since late October of last year, he told me.

“I never advertised them,” he continued. He did go to the Children with Diabetes Friends for Lifeconvention in late  June and early July 2010 at Disney World. “We tested 200 to 300 children, and they all said it was wonderful. It is now being sold mostly for children.

Dr. Kim calls his tiny lancets “tiniBoy” and says that although the tiniBoy lancet is very beneficial for diabetic kids and  babies, it still works well for adults like me, as I also do not like pain.

He currently markets then through the tiniboy.comwebsite and Amazon. A box of 100 lancets goes for $9.95, and Dr. Kim tells me that he is working to broaden his outreach through Medicare and private insurance. “We would like to be able to provide tiniBoy lancets for whatever the insurance would pay.”


Comparative Lancet Sizes

The tiniBoy lancets are compatible with most of the current lancing devices. The exceptions, Dr. Kim tells me, are the Accu-Chek Multiclix and Softclix devices.

Dr. Kim’s technical review of the tiniBoy lancets appears in the January  28, 2010, issue of Clinical Medicine Insights: Endocrinology  and Diabetes. You can read the abstract online at “A Pain-free Lancet  with a Small Needle for Glucose Measurement.”

But perhaps even more persuasive are the positive comments by people with diabetes who have purchased tiniBoy lancets from Amazon. My guess is that you have as much motivation to switch to these tiny lancets as the Amazon reviewers and Dr. Kim had.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.

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Posted in: Testing

A New Talking Meter

September 14th, 2010 · 6 Comments

At least 38 companies now offer us meters that we can use to test our blood. I list and link them in my web page “Blood Glucose Meters,” Part 14 of the On-line Diabetes Resources.

Almost all of those 38 companies sell their meters in the U.S., and most of them have several different meters for sale here. So why would we ever need a new one?

For one thing, meters are getting better. While they still aren’t good enough, higher standards of accuracy and precision may be coming soon, as I wrote here a year ago.

Instead, meter manufacturers focus on adding features. Many of these features are just nice bells and whistles. But one feature is essential for some of us.

Since loss of vision is all too common a complication of diabetes, many of us need a blood glucose meter that will talk to us. Not only people who are totally blind but the much larger number of us who have limited vision need a meter that they can listen to rather than look at.

Actually, we have had talking meters for many years. Diagnostic Devices in Charlotte, North Carolina, has offered two different Prodigy meters for at least five years, as I indicate on my “Blood Glucose Meters” web page. Diabetic Supply of Suncoast in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, offers two different versions of the Advocate blood glucose meters that talk. Last year Omnis Health in Natick, Massachusetts, became the third company to currently offer a talking meter, the Embrace Blood Glucose Monitoring System.

And now here is BioSense Medical Devices in Duluth, Georgia, with another talking meter, the Solo V2. We all the choices already available, does anyone need the new meter?


The Solo V2 Talking Meter [Read more →]
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Posted in: Testing

Making Blood Glucose Testing Fun

June 16th, 2010 · 1 Comment

If you didn’t think that testing your blood glucose could be fun, you probably haven’t tried Bayer Diabetes Care’s new Didget blood glucose meter.

I hope that you aren’t as poor a speller as I am. If so, you might have thought that Bayer named its new meter for the word that we use to denote a finger or a number. Both meanings make sense when we use fingersticks to test the level of our blood. But most people spell that word “digit.”

The Didget is the first blood glucose meter that connects directly to the Nintendo DS and DS Lite gaming systems. Lots of American kids have an Nintendo, but unfortunately I’m not a kid, so I don’t.

Bayer just sent me at no charge their newest meter, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared for sale on March 12. Unaccountably, however, the company forgot to include an Nintendo, so I’m still not having any fun testing my blood.

Bayer’s New Didget Meter

But if you have an Nintendo in your home as well as a child with diabetes, this could be the way to go. It awards points that kids can use to unlock new game levels and customize their gaming experience.

Kids ages 4 to 14 are the target audience. The Didget comes with a full-length Nintendo adventure game, “Knock ‘Em Downs World’s Fair.” You can even use the Didget meter separately without using an Nintendo, if you don’t have one yet. My guess, however, is that this wouldn’t be as much fun. Soon it will also connect to Bayer’s Didget World, a password-protected Web community where kids can create their own page and spend points that they earn when they consistently monitor their levels.

The Didget meter uses Bayer’s Contour test strips and takes just 5-seconds and 0.6 microliters of blood. It is now available for purchase in the United States through CVS.com, Drugstore.com, and Walgreens.com. The suggested retail price is $74.99. If it gets your child to test his or her blood glucose more often, this is cheap fun.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.

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Posted in: Testing

LipidLab Omega-3 Test

April 20th, 2010 · No Comments

Ever since coming to New Zealand on vacation for five weeks on February 23, I have been eating a lot of the country’s wonderful fish and seafood. Everything from the well-known salmon, prawns, shrimp, oysters, and calamari to butterfish, groper, smooth dory, gurnard, ling, monkfish, and blue cod and on to fish I never heard of before — hoki, moki, warehou, tarakihi, whitebait, bluenose, trumpeter, and green shell mussels. We have a greater variety of fish and any other source of omega-3 fats, and they all taste wonderful to me.

Because of my steady diet of New Zealand fish this month, my omega-3 level is certainly improving, something important to everyone and crucial to those of us who have diabetes. But according to the results of the LipidLab test that CEO Doug Bibus just sent me, my results were already good enough.

“Wow!” he emailed me. “What a pleasure it was to interpret your chromatogram and data. You truly are the omega 3 man!!!  You are close to Dr. Ralph Holman’s omega 3 levels.  He has a 25% total omega 3 and a 1:1 omega 6 to omega 3 ratio.  He just celebrated his 92 birthday!”

And I am only 74.

Doug went on: “Would you mind if we used your profile as an example on our website as a true success story? Are you taking any fish oil supplements or getting most of your omega 3 from your diet (fish).  You have a big level of ALA which comments on your intake of flax and greens.”

I replied to Doug, “You are certainly welcomed to use my profile on your site. I don’t take any fish oil — but I do take three capsules of Neptune Krill Oil (the NOW brand), 500 mg each, daily. I eat a lot of cold-water fish, mainly salmon (fresh, frozen, and canned) and also a very high quality sardine (from vitalchoice.com ). Sometimes other fish, including the best tasting one, Chilean sea bass (formerly Patagonian toothfish, and I don’t wonder why they changed the name).

“I use flaxseed oil on my salad, which is my usual lunch (when I am at home). My breakfast, both at home and here in New Zealand is Greens First , which I have written about at Health Central. Interesting that you have my ALA results. But it’s not just omega-3. I think the key at least at the start is to reduce the omega-6.”

My LipidLab report is comprehensive and too long to include here. But I just uploaded it to my website at http://www.mendosa.com/test.pdf

Now, I am hard at work to equal Dr. Holman’s omega-3 level and eventually to match his age.

P.S: I originally wrote this article for HealthCentral.com on March 05, 2010. I am now back in the U.S. after vacationing in New Zealand. You can read about the trip here: http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/?cat=17

This is a mirror of one of my articles that Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.

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Omega-3: Tested

March 22nd, 2010 · No Comments

No wonder that I’m so healthy and happy lately! I just got back the results of my omega-3 test, and they were quite satisfactory.

In December I wrote in “Testing Omega 3” about the HS-Omega-3 Index that uses a standardized methodology to measure the percentage of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in our red blood cells. It also measures the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. In that article I gave a brief review of some of the reasons why I think that omega-3 is crucial to our diet — and deficient in the diet of most people who have diabetes.

On January 27 I ordered my test from GeneSmart, and I got my results in today’s mail.

A “desirable” level on the HS-Omega-3 Index is over 8 percent. My level came back as 12.6 percent.

A desirable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is under 5 to 1. My ratio is 2.1 to 1.

The only advice that GeneSmart was able to offer me was to maintain my intake of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. I will.

But in the packet they did include a nice set of tables about fish and their omega-3 content. Here is a copy:

Click to enlarge

Click on the image above to enlarge

I get my omega-3 levels from eating fresh or frozen (not farmed) cold-water fish about five times a week. I prefer king salmon and Chilean sea bass — technically Patagonian toothfish — which tastes a whole lot better than it sounds. I usually add canned salmon, sardines, or albacore tuna — packed in water, not oil — to my salad at lunch. Sometimes I add a small can of anchovies, which I have been able to find only packed in oil, which I drain off. I also supplement my omega-3 from krill oil, which I wrote about here exactly two years ago at “Krill Oil.”

[Read more →]

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Testing the Tests of A1C

March 3rd, 2010 · 3 Comments

Bayer Diabetes Care’s A1CNow+ monitor for us to test our A1C level at home carries the highest certificate of accuracy. As I wrote here in June, the NGSP (formerly the National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program) certified this device as having documented traceability to the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial reference method, which established relationships between A1C levels and risk for complications of diabetes. The DCCT method is the gold standard for reliable A1C testing.

So I was surprised to read an article in the journal Clinical Chemistry indicating that this was one of the A1C testing devices that didn’t meet “the general accepted analytical performance criteria.” Two Dutch researchers led by Erna Lenters-Westra reported that the local distributor in the Netherlands of the A1CNow+ Bayer “concluded that the EP-10 [protocol] outcome data did not warrant progression” to the two other protocols the study used.

But the key sentence — buried in the full-text of the study and missing from the online abstract — is this, “The bias found with the EP-10 protocol of the A1CNow was probably due to EDTA interference problems.”

I had to ask Bayer representatives what all this means. This is what the company told me:

“Bayer has reviewed the Lenters-Westra study published in Clinical Chemistry that used Bayer Diabetes Care’s A1CNow+® monitor as part of their evaluation,” the company wrote back. “Bayer believes that the results that the study authors obtained did not accurately capture the proven performance of the A1CNow+ device due to use outside the manufacturer’s specifications [emphasis added]. [Read more →]

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Glucocard Vital

March 3rd, 2010 · 5 Comments

For people with diabetes the so-called “vital signs” that health care people talk about have to include our blood glucose level. So I couldn’t think of a better name for a blood glucose meter than “Vital.”

Arkray in Edina, Minnesota, seems to agree. At least that’s what the call their new meter. You may not be familiar with Arkray, but it is the world’s fifth largest manufacturer of diabetes self-monitoring systems. This company calls their new meter the “Glucocard Vital.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Glucocard Vital in November. Arkray just ramped up production and sent me one of the first of these meters, the newest meter on the market.

Yesterday I put my Glucocard Vital through its paces. It performed perfectly for me. Since I test so many blood glucose meters, I like to use them before ever looking at the user instruction manual.

I just pulled out one of the test strips, inserted it in the meter, which then turned out automatically with the battery already in place. Even the date was already correctly set. Later, of course, I did read the manual to see if it contains anything of importance that I need to tell you about.


The Newest Blood Glucose Meter

[Read more →]

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Prescription Discount Card

March 3rd, 2010 · 6 Comments

A few days ago an Accu-Chek Aviva blood glucose meter arrived in my mail. The meter itself was nothing new. Three years ago when Roche Diabetes Care introduced the Aviva I wrote a glowing review of it, appropriately titled “Viva Aviva!

What is new is the smallest item in all those papers that accompany a new meter nowadays. It’s a wallet-sized card that Roche calls the Accu-Chek Connect.

This is one powerful little card! For some people it means that we don’t have to pay more than $15 for each prescription we get for Accu-Chek Aviva test strips.

The Front of the Discount Card

The Back of that Card

[Read more →]

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Limiting Test Strips

January 21st, 2010 · 4 Comments

Today people who have diabetes can be thankful that the United States doesn’t have a single-payer health care system. Based on two Canadian studies released today, most of us could face the prospect that our health insurance would soon cease to cover the cost of testing with blood glucose strips.

The studies both proposed that Canada could save money by cutting benefits to people with type 2 diabetes who are using drugs other than insulin. Last year 63 percent of people with diabetes in the province of Ontario who weren’t using insulin used on average 1.29 test strips per day. Although many of us would say that’s too little, one of the studies concluded that it’s too much.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal CMAJ on December 21 released these studies subject to revision. You can read the full-text of one study at “Blood glucose test strips: options to reduce usage.” The full-text of the other new study is at “Cost-effectiveness of self-monitoring of blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus managed without insulin.”

Each article recognizes that those of us who inject insulin have to test regularly to avoid hypos, if for no other reason. All type 1s and about one-fourth of type 2s inject insulin. [Read more →]

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Testing Omega 3

January 8th, 2010 · 6 Comments

If we can easily test our blood glucose and cholesterol levels, why can’t we test the level of omega 3 fatty acids in our blood? Nothing — not cholesterol or even C-reactive protein levels — is better at predicting sudden cardiac death, which still causes about 60 percent of cardiac disease death in the United States, according to an analysis by Centers for Disease Control researchers.

For years this lack of an omega 3 blood test puzzled me. No more. It has finally arrived.

The HS-Omega-3 Index uses a standardized methodology to measure the percentage of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in red blood cells. It also measures the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6.

Some cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, and sardines have a lot of this healthy omega 3 fat. I follow the standard recommendation to eat one of these fish at least twice a week. I supplement my fish with krill oil capsules for even more omega 3. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Testing