Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

JDRF — going blue for World Diabetes Day on 14 November

October 11, 2010
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They’re doing it, I’m going to do it, are you? Going Blue! Whatever you do, don’t feel blue about diabetes, get blue to show your support for World Diabetes Day. Fundraise, raise awareness or just spread the word. You can find out what JDRF is doing, and they’ll help you with a free pack.


Active Fat

September 24, 2010
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This is a great website that explains how belly fat is bad for you — fat has a life! These cartoons explain the perils clearly and in about as fun a way as it’s possible to do. Nor is it lecturing or hectoring. Well done to the 3 organisations involved, including Diabetes UK.

Diabetes with humour

August 17, 2010

Loved coming across these cartoons from Haidee Merritt at

Diabetes is Tough – Dr. Jen’s Diabetes Diary

July 16, 2010
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Diabetes is Tough – Dr. Jen’s Diabetes Diary. Boy does Dr Jen know what she’s talking about. Very well put about the sheer weight of a diagnosis of diabetes as a life=long sentence. Good for her to acknowledge that.

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Exercises That Protect Against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

July 13, 2010
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Very simple to do, and if you are sat at a PC all day, then probably vital to do. People with diabetes are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome — I’ve certainly had it and have the scars to prove it. Still think these are worth doing though.

Exercises That Protect Against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

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dLife Diabetes Companion — new iPhone app

May 13, 2010
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dLife Diabetes Companion offers access to the same award-winning features of and dLifeTV including recipes, videos, expert questions & answers plus the ability to log and track blood glucose levels and get a 360-degree view of diabetes management.

dLife Diabetes Companion allows users to:

Manage – Log and track blood glucose levels with color-coded results to help identify high and low ranges over time.
Eat – Find over 9,000 healthy and flavorful recipes and 25,000 foods with full nutritional analysis for a healthy diabetes diet.
Solve – Find expert and community answers to over 4,000 diabetes questions.
Watch – View over 400 dLifeTV videos – with health experts, cooking demos, plus Real People Real Stories.

Intestinal Bacteria May Contribute to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

April 27, 2010
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Intestinal bacteria helps increase appetite? Its just put me off my lunch…!

According to researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, obesity and metabolic syndrome may be partially brought on by intestinal bacteria that increase appetite and insulin resistance. The two can lead to overeating and high blood sugar levels – both important factors in the eventual onset of type 2 diabetes. Perhaps even more interesting, the scientists found that the bacteria can be transferred from one mouse to another, creating increased appetite and insulin resistance in an animal that had previously experienced neither.

As a result, the researchers believe that excessive consumption of calories may be more than simply a matter of undisciplined eating. If scientists can duplicate the results with human test subjects, they might find additional ways to treat or forestall obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Both animals and people acquire intestinal bacteria from their family members soon after birth. If bacteria that can predispose individuals to overeating and eventual insulin resistance are so easily transferred, it means that the environment, not just genetics, can lead to those outcomes.

The Emory researchers think, however, that there may be a genetic component to the altered bacteria. They are now looking into a gene called toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5), which plays a role in controlling intestinal bacteria, to see if a deficiency in TLR5 in humans and mice is a key to increased appetite.

The Emory findings were published online in the March 4 issue of Science.

via: Intestinal Bacteria May Contribute to Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Consensus Moving to A1c as a Better Predictor of Diabetes Than Fasting Glucose

April 26, 2010
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Glucose fasting to test for diabetes could soon become a thing of the past…

Over the past few months, there has been a discernible shift of opinion among healthcare providers about which test best reveals a high risk of acquiring diabetes. The old standby, fasting glucose, seems to be giving way to the hemoglobin A1c (HBA1c) test as the preferred method.

A just-published study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health contends not only that the A1c better identifies persons at risk for diabetes than fasting glucose, but also that it can better predict stroke, heart disease, and overall mortality.

To prepare for a fasting glucose test, the patient must fast first, usually from midnight until the time a blood sample is drawn the next day. The level of blood glucose in the sample gives a good indication of whether the patient is non-diabetic, is at risk for diabetes, or has the disease. An A1c, on the other hand, indicates blood glucose levels over an extended period, usually 90 days, and does not require patients to fast.

Among the advantages of an A1c over the fasting glucose test, said the study’s lead author, Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, is its low variability and reduced susceptibility to variance based upon illness or stress. For that reason, it is much less likely to produce a “false alarm” that could lead to a misdiagnosis.

Another advantage is that A1c levels are rendered in percentages that are easy to understand. The Johns Hopkins study identified an A1c of 5.0% to 5.5% as within the normal range. As the A1c percentage increases, so does the risk of acquiring diabetes. A1c’s of 5.5% to 6% are considered “very high risk,” indicating a nine-times greater likelihood of getting diabetes than an A1c within the normal range.

A patient with an A1c of 6.5% or greater, according to the researchers, should be considered to have diabetes. (The American Diabetes Association guidelines say that anyone with an A1c from 5.7% to 6.4% is “at very high risk” of acquiring diabetes within five years, while a range of 5.5% to 6% indicates a need to take preventive measures.)

The study relied on blood samples taken in the early 1990s from 11,000 black and white adults who did not have diabetes. By measuring the A1c’s in those samples and then tracking which participants eventually developed diabetes, the researchers were able to establish some pretty solid indicators of diabetes risk.

The Johns Hopkins data are one more push in the direction of establishing the A1c as the preferred test for diabetes risk. Look for doctors and HMOs to begin offering it as a standard component in routine annual check-ups.

The study appears in the March 4, 2010, issue of New England Journal of Medicine.

via: Consensus Moving to A1c as a Better Predictor of Diabetes Than Fasting Glucose

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Texas Researcher Poised to Test Leptin as a Replacement for Insulin Among Type 1s

April 23, 2010
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After mice “thrived” on the insulin-free regimen the hormone leptin offered, researchers are now ready to test the response on humans…

A University of Texas researcher who genetically modified mice with type 1 diabetes to control their disease with leptin instead of insulin is now ready to extend his experiment to human test subjects. Dr. Roger Unger, a researcher at the UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, will begin the tests as soon as leptin manufacturers can assure him of a steady supply of the hormone.

While other studies have indicated that the hormone may help control blood sugar levels, Unger and his associates were the first to experiment with leptin as a monotherapy in diabetes.

In his paper, “Leptin monotherapy in insulin dependent type 1 diabetes,” just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Unger details how his team initially genetically modified diabetic mice to produce extra quantities of leptin. The mice were then taken off insulin and left to rely solely on leptin to control their blood sugar levels.

Unger reports that the mice thrived on the insulin-free regimen. Because genetic manipulation is not an option in human test subjects, the next step was to treat diabetic mice that had not been genetically altered with pump-delivered injections of leptin. Unger reports that those mice, too, did well despite the absence of insulin.

One reason for Unger’s desire to see if leptin can be a viable alternative to insulin is concern about the side effects produced by the typically large doses of insulin that most people with type 1 diabetes have to take. Among them are large fluctuations in blood sugar levels and possible long-term ill effects on blood vessels. In his experiments with leptin, Unger found that only low doses of the hormone were needed to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Even as he undertakes tests with human subjects, Unger agrees with other diabetes experts that there is still a long way to go before leptin could be recommended as an alternative diabetes therapy. One important question the research may help answer is why leptin mimics insulin’s ability to deliver sugar to muscles and fat cells.

In comments on his paper, Dr. Barbara Kahn, a diabetes expert at Harvard Medical School and chief of endocrinology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said that Unger’s research will have to address several other crucial questions:

  • Mouse and human eating patterns are very different. Mice graze constantly on food that takes a long time to digest, while humans eat several meals a day. Can leptin, which can maintain constant blood sugar levels in animals whose eating patterns do not create wide swings in the first place, work in humans, whose eating patterns invite such swings?
  • Unger’s mice had to be genetically altered to produce leptin, whereas most people with type 1 diabetes already produce normal amounts of leptin. What side effects might be created if the amount of leptin in their systems is increased?
  • Will leptin make it harder for type 1s to tell if they are having a hypoglycemic episode?

Whatever answers Unger’s further research delivers, they probably won’t help people with type 2 diabetes, who are resistant to both insulin and leptin.

via: Texas Researcher Poised to Test Leptin as a Replacement for Insulin Among Type 1s

China Takes Over as Diabetes Capital of the World

April 22, 2010
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The BBC recently reported China as the diebetes capital of the world…

One in 10 adults in China, or approximately 92 million people, has Type 2 diabetes, making the country the new diabetes capital of the world, according to a recent report. India was previously thought to have the highest number of diabetics in the population, according to a recent article from the BBC.

The majority of the cases in China remain undiagnosed. The report notes that there is an estimated additional 150 million with pre diabetes. A similar percentage of people in the U.S. have diabetes, but China has a much greater overall population, leading to the higher overall number of people with diabetes. A study last year notes that more than 60% of the global cases of diabetes would occur in Asia.

Researchers suggest that the urbanization and improvements in lifestyle in China have contributed the growing number of cases.

via: China Takes Over as Diabetes Capital of the World

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