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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa
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A New Audible Meter for People with Diabetes

October 19th, 2013 · No Comments

Most blood glucose meters are either pretty basic and inexpensive or offer lots of features at considerable cost. But one meter comes with a low price tag and yet does more than any other.

For those of us who have limited vision or are blind this meter is a godsend. It is the second generation Solus V2 meter from BioSense Medical Devices in Duluth, Georgia.

I reviewed its predecessor, the Solo V2, three years ago at “A New Talking Meter.” BioSense changed the name slightly and improved a fine meter even more. The V2 in the name of both the original and new meter refers to vision and voice, not version. In fact, however the Solus V2 is also the second version of the talking blood glucose meter from BioSense.

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Diabetic Grain Brain

October 11th, 2013 · 6 Comments

Later this month a renowned neurologist will publish an important book about how wheat, carbs, and sugar are destroying our brains. While all of us have some interest in our brains, what could this have to do with diabetes?

The connection is actually too close for comfort. Having diabetes doubles your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the most dreaded form of dementia. In fact, many people, like Mark Bittman in The New York Times, are beginning to say that Alzheimer’s is type 3 diabetes. You may also want to read “Alzheimer’s Disease is Type 3 Diabetes” in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

Adding dementia to the well known list of complications of diabetes is enough to give anyone pause. But not to worry. Diabetes doesn’t cause anything, as I wrote here two years ago at “Diabetes Causes Nothing.” Well managing diabetes is the leading cause of nothing. Poor management causes all of these complications. Including Alzheimer’s.

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Painless Diabetes

October 3rd, 2013 · 6 Comments

The trouble with diabetes is that it doesn’t hurt. Because it is painless, most people who have diabetes think that they can ignore it. After all, anything that is serious would hurt a lot, right?

Wrong.

The pain comes later with the complications of diabetes that come in its wake, sometimes years later. Some of these complications hurt a whole lot. Think of the continuous pain of diabetic neuropathy, one of the most common complications of diabetes. Or think of the sharp pain when you get a heart attack.

Diabetes is the most insidious disease anyone can get. A dictionary definition of insidious is one that develops “so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent.”

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The Bad Fats for Diabetes

September 30th, 2013 · No Comments

All of us know that we need to avoid the bad fats. But nobody is quite certain yet which of the fats are bad for us. A new study of saturated fats helps to clear up the confusion.

Bad fats are those that are bad for our hearts. Nothing is more important for those of us who have diabetes, because heart disease is the most serious and common complication that we face.

The scientific community does agree that one type of fat is quite bad for our hearts. The bad guys are the trans fats that we made in large amounts in the previous century from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. In 2001 a large study that I reviewed then began to wake us up to the dangers of this artificial fat. These findings and subsequent government pressure on manufacturers and the spread of knowledge has substantially reduced the amounts of trans fats in the American diet.

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When Omega 3 Works for Diabetes

September 29th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The easiest way to protect our hearts is to increase the amount of omega 3 in our diets. Since heart disease is the most serious complication of diabetes, nothing could be more important for us. But it’s not that simple.

A study to be reported in the September 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutrition shows a surprising connection between omega 3 and physical activity. An observational study of 344 healthy adults living in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, found that those people who had regular physical activity had more omega 3 in their blood — and were therefore at less of a risk of heart disease — than those who didn’t exercise.

We have, of course, known for a long time that diet and exercise are the cornerstones of diabetes management. But until now who could have guessed that that they were so closely linked!


The Best Source of Omega 3

Some earlier studies showed that people who consume the most omega-3s seem to have the least risk of heart disease. But not all studies found this to be true. The authors of the current study examining the connection between omega 3 and physical activity on heart disease risk felt that some of the earlier studies failed to control for interacting factors.

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Safety of Diabetes Drugs

September 13th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Two studies published in professional journals this year have cast renewed doubt about the safety of one of our most important class of diabetes drugs. But the leading regulatory agencies both in Europe and the U.S. seem to think that those studies are flawed.

We call this class of drugs incretin-based or GLP-1 agonists. They include Byetta, Victoza, and Bydureon.

The most recent investigation of this class of drugs came out last month in the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care. Dr. Peter Butler of UCLA is the lead author of “A Critical Analysis of the Clinical Use of Incretin-Based Therapies.” It was prompted by a study conducted by Dr. Sonal Singh and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Glucagonlike Peptide 1–Based Therapies and Risk of Hospitalization for Acute Pancreatitis in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.” That article appeared in JAMA, and both are available online.

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Cutting the Cost of Diabetes

September 7th, 2013 · 5 Comments

The experts tell us that diabetes is the most expensive disease we can get. But it can be the cheapest.

The costs are not just the oral medications and insulin, the blood glucose meters and test strips, and the visits to the doctors. But the financial drain can also include income lost from missing work. And the biggest costs have to be the poorer quality of life that so many of the complications of diabetes can bring in their wake.

So then how can I write that we could be so lucky as to have a disease that costs us practically nothing?

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The Fast Path to Heart Health with Diabetes

August 31st, 2013 · 9 Comments

Almost all of us who have diabetes are too busy to keep our hearts in good shape. At least most of us act as if we were.

When our hearts get out of shape, we aren’t so busy any more. Heart disease is the most common as well as the most serious complication of diabetes.

This combination of lack of time and importance of heart health drive my quest for a quicker way to meet this challenge of living long with diabetes.


Lead Author Arnt Erik Tjønna (left) Tests a Volunteer for his Maximal Oxygen Uptake

A couple of weeks ago I learned the answer when I was in Canada’s Yukon Territory. I was driving to Alaska, where I am enjoying a cool summer. I had my car radio tuned to 105.1 FM from Burwash Landing, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio One station. The speaker was Dr. Brian Goldman.

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→ 9 CommentsPosted in: Exercise

Weightism and Diabetesism

August 26th, 2013 · 2 Comments

We all know that those of us who have diabetes, particularly when we are also overweight, have serious health problems to manage. And almost all people with diabetes are overweight.

But we often overlook the social problems that accompany these issues. They can be as serious and can make our physical problems even worse, according to provocative new research.

Discrimination is the root cause of these social problems. Although during the past century our country has made — and continues to make — enormous strides to end overt discrimination, covert discrimination still festers in the hearts of many Americans. We are cleaning up our act, but not our hearts.

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Diabetes Supplements are Drugs Too

August 25th, 2013 · No Comments

Many people with diabetes use supplements to help them manage their blood sugar. They use everything from bitter melon and gymnema sylvestre to cinnamon and fenugreek to help them control their diabetes. And now to judge from the many emails I get, berberine has become the big hope.

Most people who take supplements for blood sugar control do that because they worry about the side effects of prescription medication. The problem is that they imagine that their supplement of choice doesn’t have any side effects.

Any medication that does anything for us also has side effects. Some are obvious, but many others don’t show up until lots of people have used them for years. Then it is too late for the early adopters.

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