Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Poor medication adherence (also known as poor compliance)

November 9, 2009
1 Comment

“Poor medication adherence,” the latest euphemism to replace the much-disliked “poor compliance,” is a hot topic these days. According to the New England Health Institute, a third to a half of American patients don’t take their medi­cations as prescribed. And people with chronic conditions, including diabetes, are reportedly the worst when it comes to medication adherence and “persistence” (the length of time they continue to take a prescribed drug).

Because three-quarters of the U.S. healthcare budget goes to treat chronic disease, poor medication adherence is getting a lot of scrutiny from budget watchers. Drug-related morbidity, which includes the consequences of poor adherence, costs about $290 billion annually, 13 percent of total healthcare expenditures. Diabetes patients with poor adherence, for example, are twice as expensive to care for as those with good adherence: $16,498 versus $8,886 every year. And it’s not just about money: A study of diabetes and heart disease patients revealed that those who did not adhere to their medications died at nearly twice the rate of those who took their medications as prescribed.

These statistics are fueling big interest in technology that can get people to take their medicine. One company, called Proteus, has come up with a kind of internal spyware: a little digestible chip that’s embedded in prescription pills. After you swallow the pill and it reaches your stomach, the chip is activated by stomach fluids. From there, inside your stomach, it sends a signal to a microelectronic receiver on your shoulder, either in a small skin patch or inserted under the skin. The receiver records the date, time, type of drug, dose, and even the place of manufacture. It also measures and reports your heart rate and respiratory rate. Then the receiver wirelessly relays that information to doctors. By checking the logs from the receiver, doctors can tell whether you are actually taking the medication as often as you are supposed to.

Should we focus on diabetes treatment, or cure?

November 6, 2009
Leave a Comment

From Diabetes Health, “One thing that really frustrates people with diabetes mellitus is the biopharma industry’s focus on treatments rather than cures. A cure is what the diabetes community wants, not another band-aid. So the existence of a biopharma company that calls itself “CureDM” is promising, and its first product, Pancreate, seems to be on its way to fulfilling that promise. CureDM started with the information that in most cases, the mass of pancreatic islets drops by 80 percent in type 1 patients and 50 percent in type 2 patients. They also knew from recent research that the adult human pancreas contains an abundance of pancreatic progenitor cells. Like stem cells, progenitor cells have the capacity to differentiate. Unlike stem cells, however, they are not able to become any type of cell. Instead, they differentiate only into their “target” cell, in this case, islets.”

NHS Partnerships | Supporting young diabetes patients by podcast

November 5, 2009
1 Comment

Wild! The NHS getting into podcasts in this case for over 14-year-olds with Type 1 diabetes. Advocated by Sir Steve Redgrave who supports the project saying, ‘diabetes must live with you, not you live with diabetes.’

NHS Partnerships | Supporting young diabetes patients by podcast.

The Big Blue Test on World Diabetes Day – TuDiabetes – A Community for People Touched by Diabetes

November 4, 2009
Leave a Comment

The Big Blue Test on World Diabetes Day – TuDiabetes – A Community for People Touched by Diabetes.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day. On that day, at 14:00 hours (2 pm, local time), thousands of people with diabetes will test their blood sugar, do 14 minutes of exercise, test again and share their results online.

The event is called The Big Blue Test because the blue circle is the international symbol for diabetes. The idea of a shared “blood sugar test-in” started with an activity organized in July 2009 by, a community for people touched by diabetes. More than a thousand people participated then. Now, we seek to reach thousands of people with diabetes through eight diabetes social networks* and Twitter. The activity incorporates 14 minutes of physical activity to reinforce the importance of exercise.

“People with diabetes have to test their blood sugar routinely. It can be a very lonely activity.” said Manny Hernandez, co-founder of TuDiabetes and a person with diabetes himself. “We want people to take The Big Blue Test, to shed light on this chronic condition and the importance of exercise on World Diabetes Day.”

Currently, more than 250 million people have diabetes worldwide. Millions more have diabetes but do not know it yet. People with diabetes need to test their blood sugar levels several times a day and exercise regularly.

Participating in this event to raise diabetes awareness on November 14 is easy:

1. Test your blood sugar.

2. Run, jog, walk the dog or do anything you’d normally do as part of your exercise routine for 14 minutes.

3. Test your blood sugar again.

4. Go to (or your preferred diabetes social network*) and post your readings and what physical activity you did. If you have a camera, you can also add a photo of your reading(s) or you exercising.

5. If you have a Twitter account, you can also post your readings on Twitter (use the #bigbluetest hashtag) and link back to

“We hope to see most readings posted at 14 hours (2 pm) local time, on November 14. If you are early or late, it’s OK,” said Hernandez. “What matters most is that you test your blood sugar often and that you exercise regularly. If you don’t have diabetes, you can take The Big Blue Test. Either way, tell others to test, exercise and share on Nov. 14.”

I’m going to do it & my exercise will be a walk along Brighton seafront, come rain, wind or sunshine. What a great way to unite a global community. Well done Manny.

About Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

November 4, 2009
1 Comment

Just signed up for an online petition from JDRF to Gordon Brown asking for more funding to research Type 1 diabetes. Go on Gordon!!

About Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Sirona Biochem’s new scientific advisor

November 3, 2009
Leave a Comment

The management of sugar metabolism is a primary medical challenge associated with treating diabetes and obesity and that is why SGLT inhibitors show such promise in this regard.

The best ways to get enough “good” (ie, long-chain) omega-3 oils

November 3, 2009
Leave a Comment

Nutrition: Note to Self, from The Economist print edition, Oct 29th 2009:

The best ways to get enough “good” (ie, long-chain) omega-3 oils are either to eat lots of oily fish or to take, every day, supplements that contain at least 500mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or both (though some studies have suggested as much as 1,100mg a day is better). Products that contain short-chain omega-3s, such as alpha-linolenic acid from plant oils like flax-seed oil, have not been linked with the strong health benefits shown by fish oils.

Having got enough long-chain oils, though, it is important to let them do their work. That means reducing consumption of omega-6 oils—those found in maize, sunflower, olive and most other seed oils. Many people have turned to these seed oils as a way of reducing their intake of saturated fats, but omega-6 fatty acids compete in the body with omega-3s, since the two have similar chemical properties. The best dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is reckoned to be less than 4:1. In Western diets, it is typically more like 10:1. The message, then, is: eat less fat and get more of it from fish. And those who buy omega-3 supplements that also contain omega-6s are probably wasting their money.

dLife website accredited to be the best

November 2, 2009
1 Comment

Learned on Friday that dLife (a US-based website where the ‘d’ is for diabetes) won the MM&M Best Healthcare Online Media Brand 2009. From all the outstanding brands online, dLife was judged to be THE best.

A press release said, “This is not just a humble victory for dLife; more importantly, it is a victory for the 700,000+ patients that visit dLife every month to get a unique brand of practical lifestyle content that helps them manage the challenge of diabetes self care every day. It is also a victory for our sponsors and partners whose support and belief are essential to driving our engine. And, finally, it’s a victory for the dedicated, smart and hardworking professionals that inhabit dLife and have built brick by brick, day by day, into what it is today and what it will become tomorrow. We look forward to continuing the journey. “

The Cat’s whiskers — feline advice on handling your diabetes

November 2, 2009
Leave a Comment

There is actually a lot of diabetic cast ou there too, but this is Whiskers Brimley, a cat giving us humans some helpful advic.e

Daily Mail assessment of salt and sugar in breakfast cereals — not healthy at all

October 30, 2009
Leave a Comment

« Previous PageNext Page »

    Search Sue Marshall’s blog

    Desang Diabetes Directory

    See our directory of diabetes management kit -- blood test machines, insulin delivery devices, finger-prickers.

    Sue Marshall picture

    Sue Marshall