When I was in the Army years ago, I heard a lot of different obscenities. Nowadays, however, the one I hear is the word “cure.”
It’s the four-letter word of diabetes. It is obscene because, as a dictionary says, obscenity is “abhorrent: offensive to the mind.”
Believing that some new drug or treatment will cure diabetes is cruel, because what it promises is a lie. It’s costly, because shysters and scammers are the only ones who profit from it. It’s dangerous, because it leads people to avoid doing the only things that we know will help us to control our diabetes.
Only three things make it possible for us to control our diabetes:
- Eating right
- Taking scientifically tested medications
None of these things will cure our diabetes. But each of them contribute to controlling it by keeping our blood glucose levels and weight in check. Taken together they can even drive our diabetes into remission – to the point where our blood glucose levels and weight are normal.
Remission might actually be even better than a cure. When our diabetes is in remission, it’s only because we are taking better care of our health than ever before. That can mean that not only our diabetes but our other ailments are under better control.
We so desperately want a cure for diabetes that ever since the discovery of insulin in 1921 someone or other has hyped his or her treatment or potion as a cure. We know now that taking insulin injections is a wonderful way to control diabetes, and in fact is indispensable for many of us.
But taking insulin never cured anyone nor did any other “breakthrough” in the years since Banting and Best discovered it. Most of these so-called breakthroughs come from greedy crooks. And in the past decade the Internet has become a wonderful opportunity for them to prey on the incredible growth market that diabetes has become.
Right now I block 58 ads from my website. In this I cooperate with my friend, Dr. Bill Quick, who blocks the same ads from his website. Bill also has a blog here. Both of us work with the people who run HealthCentral.com to block those ads here too.
But new ones pop up all the time. So please let me know when you see an ad that promises a cure on my website or here.
It’s not just the scammers who are promising us a cure. One of the biggest criticisms of the two biggest diabetes charities – the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International – is that they keep promising us a cure in 5 or 10 or 20 years, if only we will give them our money.
Recently, a friend of mine, who is one of the top people at the JDRF, and I talked about this. He is well aware of the history of that unwarranted hype and told me that it is one of his missions to stomp it out.
The true cynics believe that the problem is even deeper. Many of these people believe in conspiracy theories. I don’t.
I know from my experience in government and in business that some of us are capable of great good and others of us are capable of great evil and most of us are usually pretty good. And good will triumph, thanks to the inherent decency of most of us and especially to the whistle-blowers among us.
So I know that it’s not “Big Pharma” that is holding back a cure, like some people believe. As much money as the pharmaceutical companies make from people with diabetes, they couldn’t do bury a cure if they tried.
I haven’t given up hope for a cure someday. It is not the existing technology of pancreas or islet cell transplants, because either of these treatments always requires a lifelong regime of drugs to suppress the immune system, which can have worse consequences than having diabetes.
We already have less toxic drugs for transplants, like those used in the famed Edmonton Protocol. But less toxic is still toxic. Nonetheless, research is continuing and in theory transplants without these drugs may some day be a reality.
The other main hope for a cure is a still unspecified application of stem cell research. But that lies over an even more distant horizon.
I sure hope that one of these treatments will become a reality soon. I am committed to keep on writing about diabetes until we have a cure. And I would like to retire before I’m 80.
This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.