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Diabetes Update: Meter News Column

July 1, 2004

By David Mendosa


Make Sugarless Lemonade

This newsletter keeps you up-to-date with new articles, Web pages, and books that I have written about diabetes.

  • I list and link most of these on my at Diabetes Directory and in the site’s menu.

  • From time to time Diabetes Update may also include links to other Web pages of special interest.

My recent contributions are:

  • Meter News Column: Strip Costs
    I am delighted to report that I am again writing a regular column for a diabetes publication. This is my third go at columnizing. Between 1997 and 2003 I reviewed diabetes-related Web sites for the American Diabetes Association in my column “About the Internet.” I also wrote seven columns for LXN Corporation’s website as the “e-Charged Newsletter” in 2001, until LifeScan bought LXN and discontinued the company’s site as well as all of its products, including the In Charge and Duet meters. Both sets of columns are now online at my site.

    By permission of the editor my new columns will also appear on my site following publication. My first “Meter News” appeared in the inaugural (June 2004) issue of Diabetes Health. While this is a totally new magazine, it is also the successor of Diabetes Interview, which was clearly the most cutting-edge diabetes publication. I am glad to say that Diabetes Health is even much better — and not only because it carries my column. In fact, I join with about a dozen other columnists, including Joy Pape, Deb Butterfield, and Steve Edelman.

    The focus of my column is on meters that people with diabetes use to check their levels. Mostly it will deal with blood glucose meters, but my beat also includes home A1C testing (and fructosamine meters if anyone ever brings them back on the market). I will try to write about those aspects of testing that are new to most people. That means, of course, new products, but I interpret my responsibility to also include my takes on the whole field.

    Please let me know your suggestions or ideas for future columns. My first column focused on the four brands of blood glucose meters (of a total of 14 brands) with the least expensive strip costs. The URL is
    http://www.mendosa.com/metercolumn1.htm

Update:

  • Policosanol
    I was frankly surprised at the amount of interest in my article last month on cholesterol, http://www.mendosa.com/cholesterol.htm. It seems that many people have suffered the same (or worse) problems that I suffered at the hands of the biggest selling class of drugs in the world, the statins.

    Several correspondents suggested that I try an over-the-counter supplement, something that I had never heard of before called policosanol. It is quite interesting and appears to be an excellent alternative to any of the statins. See “Update: Policosanol” at the end of my Cholesterol article.

Book Reviews:
Book: Think Like a Pancreas

For All Insulin Users

  • Think Like a Pancreas
    I laughed out loud when I opened the package containing Think Like a Pancreas. With a title that flip I didn’t expect much.

    I couldn’t have been more wrong. Actually, the title makes sense, because it clearly reflects the author’s breezy style. Further, the style is paired with a greater depth of information on taking insulin than in anything else I have ever read. There is a lot that I didn’t know before and even more that I knew but not the reasons why.

    The coverage of insulin use is so complete yet so accessible that I would have thought that it could only have been produced by someone who was an experienced journalist who had diabetes and is also a Certified Diabetes Educator. I was right on the last two points, by as far as I know the author, Gary Scheiner, is not a journalist. This is, however, at least his second book (he is the co-author of You Can Control Diabetes: A Personal Guide to Self Empowerment, a 340-page comprehensive reference on diabetes self-management). He also edited a journal for a couple of years, for which I can forgive him because I edited a magazine for a few years myself.

    His treatment of how to handle both normal and severe lows alone is worth the price of admission, i.e. buying the book. Many people will find his comprehensive chapters on basal insulin dosing and bolus calculations just as valuable.

    There’s a lot more here succinctly told in just 241 pages. While I wonder about certain details, the worst mistake that I caught was a misspelling of my name, which also can be forgiven.

    The nation’s leading publisher of books on diabetes, Marlowe & Company in New York will bring out Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, on August 3 for $15.95. It will be available in most bookstores and from Gary’s website, http://www.integrateddiabetes.com. It is must reading for anyone who uses insulin.

  • DIABETease:
    A lighter look at the serious subject of diabetes
    DIABETease: a book of cartoons

    Laughter is the Best Medicine


    Lots of books focus on the serious side of diabetes. It is truly no laughing matter. That’s why Theresa Garnero illustrated and wrote her book of cartoons.

    She works as a diabetes educator at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. That’s less than 40 miles from my home, but I haven’t had the opportunity to meet her. That’s something I regret, because she sounds like just the sort of upbeat person I appreciate. For example, she inscribed the autographed copy that she sent me with the wise words, “Keep laughing — it lowers blood sugar.”

    Her book, DIABETease, is a 60-page paperback filled with 50 colorful, comical illustrations about diabetes. They inform us without the typical heavy load of seriousness and fear. She kindly authorized the use of one of these illustrations as this issue’s featured illustration.

    Theresa isn’t maintaining that there is anything funny about diabetes. “Rather, it is the human condition that lends itself to humorous situations,” she says. “Since less than half the people with diabetes ever receive education about how it can be controlled, it’s not surprising to hear the dark side emphasized. I’ve found that diabetes cartoons to be a much needed sigh of relief.”

    DIABETease: A Lighter Look at the Serious Subject of Diabetes lists for $16.99 softbound and $34.95 hard cover. Theresa donates half of her profits to diabetes research, which shows her commitment to those of us with the condition. The book is available directly from Theresa at her website, www.tgarnero.com, or tollfree at (877) 765-4386. You can also buy it at many bookstores, including Amazon and Borders. But Theresa earns higher royalties when you buy it directly from her, which means more money for diabetes research.

Research Notes:

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