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

Entries Tagged as 'Basics'

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Correlation or Cause

August 29th, 2011 · No Comments

We can divide everyone into two types of people — those of us who have diabetes or those who don’t. Or we can divide us into men and women. Or into people who can read and write compared with those who can’t.

“Wait a minute!” you might exclaim. “That’s already a lot more than two types.”

Precisely. And that’s just the problem with all those studies that purport to show that two situations that occur today have a cause-and-effect relationship.

A greater proportion of people in those countries with a high rate of literacy have diabetes than in those countries where people are less educated. That’s a correlation between diabetes and literacy. It doesn’t prove that education causes diabetes.

Maybe the rate of diabetes has gone up in this country because more people live in homes that have air conditioning. Those two variables do correlate. But that doesn’t prove that one caused the other.

We have so many types of people in fact that each of us is unique. And no study can possibly control for every type of difference among us.

Yet scientific researchers continually bring forth new studies correlating one sort of change with another. These studies do have a real value.

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Are You a Noncompliant Diabetic?

July 9th, 2010 · No Comments

Does it make you angry by my asking if you are a noncompliant diabetic? I didn’t mean to do that by asking you that in the title of this essay. I just wanted to grab your attention.

Getting angry is as unproductive as called us noncompliant or a diabetic. In fact, a new study in Hormones and Behavior shows that when we get angry, our heart rate and arterial tension increase along with other psychobiological changes. So please relax and read on.

No doctor ever dared call me noncompliant, but plenty have labeled me a diabetic. Those terms don’t make me angry — any more. But I don’t like them at all and am doing my best to stomp them out.

As a writer, words are important to me. As a positive person I try my best to avoid these “negative cues.”

This morning a friend mentioned another negative cue that health professionals sometimes use to describe the way we lead our lives. I hadn’t thought of this before, and that conversation is what prompted this essay.

“How are you managing your diabetes?” is the common clinical phrase that they throw at us. While to speak of managing doesn’t appear negative on its face, it really is. It focuses on our burden.

Likewise, I talk all the time about controlling diabetes. I’m now going to try to stop doing that.

The positive way to ask the question is whether we are living our lives boldly and fully. That’s a lot more than a dry, narrow emphasis on management or control.

Six years ago I first wrote about these and other “incorrect diabetes terms” at www.mendosa.com/incorrect_terms.htm in an article with that title. I wrote there that many people who have diabetes actively resist being labeled as a diabetic, as if we were an illness. A correspondent writes, “What I give as an example to doctors and other technical people is: If a person has hemorrhoids, does that make that person one?”

If you have diabetes but aren’t a diabetic or a hemorrhoid, I think that you might enjoy exploring my earlier article about the other words and phrases that our language would be better off without.

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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Bad Science

December 11th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Whenever I become conscious of a word or concept new to me, I began to notice it everywhere. All of you probably have had this experience.

It is so common that we even have a nice big word for it thanks to the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung: Synchronicity.

A couple of weeks ago a member of the diabetes support group that meets in my apartment loaned me a book called Bad Science. A practicing physician in the U.K.’s National Health Service and newspaper medical columnist named Ben Goldacre wrote it and Fourth Estate published it last year in the U.K.

The book is a detailed indictment of the British press for its woeful ignorance of some basic scientific concepts. Like one of my favorites, “regression to the mean.” This sounds complicated. But it is simply the fact that everything, including our health, has a natural cycle. Since we tend to see a doctor when we feel the worst, we think that his or her treatment helped us, while we would soon feel better no matter what the treatment was. [Read more →]

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My Motivation

June 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Motivating people with diabetes to control this disease is my goal in life. For most of my life I consciously took in information, but now what gives me the greatest joy is to share it.

But what motivated me to control my own diabetes?

Yesterday afternoon I gave my chiropractor a copy of the article that I wrote here on Chia Seeds, mentioning that many people had read and commented on it. While he was treating me, he said that my articles must help many people to control their diabetes.

Maybe, I acknowledged.  But I’m trying to help just one person at a time. [Read more →]

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Positive Motivation

February 4th, 2009 · 4 Comments

You need to help me a lot with this one.

All of you who read my articles here are motivated to control your diabetes. Almost all of you have a positive motivation. I doubt if many of you have a primarily negative motivation based on fear of the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes. Negative motivations just don’t keep us doing what we need to do for long.

What are your positive motivations? What do you tell people you know who have diabetes to encourage them to tame it?
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Killing T Cells to Cure Diabetes

December 21st, 2008 · 12 Comments

Dr. Richard K. Bernstein knows how to cure diabetes, and researchers are ready to start the research. All they need is money. Does anyone have enough money and care enough about curing diabetes to fund this research? Do you?

Even if you have type 1 diabetes, you almost certainly still have some of your beta cells. If your body stops killing them, they will replicate and produce insulin — and then you will possibly have a cure.

When I talked with Dr. Bernstein a few days ago, he told me that he knows how kill the specific killer T cells. Most famous as the leading proponent of a very low-carb diet, Dr. Bernstein is a diabetologist with a practice near New York City. He was also an engineer before he got in M.D. degree in his 40s.
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Who Can You Trust?

November 24th, 2008 · 1 Comment

We can’t completely trust anything, anyone, or any organization. Nowhere is this more true than for our health.

Yet we have to decide. Doing nothing is impossible.

A correspondent that I know only as “drscll” prompted these reflections. He or she asked if we could trust even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The question startled me at first, because if any part of our government is trustworthy, I’ve always thought that it was the CDC. Staffed by a dedicated group of people, many of whom put their lives on the line to control epidemics, the CDC deals in facts, not opinions or recommendations.
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Cutting the Cost of Diabetes Care

October 15th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Seeing your doctor probably costs a lot more than you think. Even if you have health insurance with a minimal co-pay, that’s not the half of it.

If you need to see your endocrinologist every quarter, these costs can really add up. You need to factor in the cost of travel, which can include meals out and even overnight accommodations, particularly if you live a long way from the doctor’s office. If your child is the one with diabetes, one or both parents will need to take off from work.

Until Kevin McMahon, the president and CEO of Diabetech in Dallas, told me about a new online cost calculator I hadn’t realized what a financial burden these doctor visits could be. Kevin just told me about this neat way to help you determine the cost of these visits.
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Supporting Diabetes Charities

October 8th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Once upon a time I knew some people who wanted me to help them set up a charity. They were smart enough to know that they could make a lot of money by establishing a not-for-profit organization that would pay them outrageous salaries.

They said that I could be the vice-president of the charity. While I respected their intelligence, I declined their offer. I decided that I wasn’t as big a scumbag as they were.

However, they weren’t the first scumbags earning big bucks from our charity contributions. The salaries that many heads of charity organizations take home are obscene. And that includes some of our most respected diabetes organizations.
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Looking AHEAD to Weight Loss

July 6th, 2008 · 1 Comment

One of the biggest and most important diabetes trials is well underway. But so far it hasn’t received much attention. That will change

The Look AHEAD trial began in 2001 and is scheduled to conclude in 2012. In it they randomly assigned 5,145 overweight people with type 2 diabetes to either a lifestyle intervention or to enhanced diabetes support and education.

AHEAD is shorthand for Action for Health and Diabetes. We sure like catchy acronyms, don’t we!

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Posted in: Basics, Diabetes Developments, Exercise, Food