Online Diabetes Community Invited to Contribute to Video Project

June 17th, 2011

Kim Vlasnik, an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic since the age of six, found welcome support through the online diabetes community. She has been writing the cheeky diabetes blog Texting My Pancreas (a name inspired by her insulin pump) since 2010. "Living with diabetes feels much more bearable when I think of it as a team sport," she writes on her About Me page.

Now the ambitious Vlasnik has launched a companion video project to strengthen the online community and to lessen the isolation, depression, anxiety and frustration often caused by diabetes. The project, called You Can Do This, invites diabetics to create and share videos of their personal challenges to show others they can get through the tough times.

Vlasnik believes that everyone with diabetes struggles at one time or another, and that validation and community can lighten the emotional load. "Tell us your stories," she invites her readers, "Show others what living with diabetes is really like - no sugar-coating. Talk about the tough stuff. Show us how you've dealt with it. Let others see their own struggles and feeling through your words."

Launched June 15th, 2010, the site had almost fifty videos uploaded in its first two days, and numerous positive comments posted by grateful fans. Texting My Pancreas and the You Can Do This Project can be found at www.textingmypancreas.com.

Edible Film a Possible Insulin Delivery Platform

September 22nd, 2011

In another promising development in the world of diabetes medication, the specialty pharmaceutical company MonoSol Rx is testing its unique PharmFilm as a possible oral insulin delivery platform. PharmFilm is a quick-dissolving film that can be impregnated with medication and placed under the tongue or against the inside of the cheek. The medication is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth's mucosal membranes.

The FDA has already approved two applications of the edible film - Zuplenz to treat nausea and vomiting, and Suboxone to treat opiod dependence. MonoSol Rx is now testing two new applications for PharmFilm, one dispenses a drug to treat ADHD, and the other delivers insulin for diabetics.

Currently, insulin can only be administered through injection, as it is destroyed by acids in the digestive system. Because the postage stamp sized insulin film dissolves so quickly in the mouth, the diabetes medication bypasses the digestive tract and passes directly into the circulatory system.

MonoSol Rx and Midatech are just two of many companies racing to develop different ways to administer insulin without injections, including insulin patches, insulin inhalers, and insulin nasal sprays.

The insulin film can be manufactured in different sizes to accommodate different insulin dosages. The advantages of a dissolving insulin film for insulin dependent diabetics (especially children with diabetes and their caregivers) are obvious - no insulin injections; precise insulin dosing; a convenient, discreet and portable medication, and instant onset of action.

MonoSol Rx is collaborating with Midatech Group Ltd, a leading edge nanotechnology company which develops biocompatible nanoparticles (tiny synthetic molecules that are designed to carry and deliver drugs) to bring the oral diabetes medication to market. The insulin film has been successfully tested transbuccally (inside the cheek) in pigs and monkeys, and the partners plan to begin human trials this year.

A spokesperson for Midatech Group said, "The results of insulin PharmFilm in our primate study validate the film delivery of active insulin across the buccal mucosa for the first time. In addition, we have preclinical proof-of-concept that these results can be achieved in a controlled dose precisely tailored to suit individual needs. We anticipate results from our human clinical trials, slated to commence in the second quarter of 2011, to revolutionize treatment methods and insulin delivery for diabetics worldwide."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 24 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes - the seventh leading cause of death in the country. Many of these diabetics (about 30%) are, or will become, insulin dependent and require insulin injections. Many are struggling with complications involving their heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and circulation.

Insulin is a hormone which moves blood sugar into the cells to give the body energy. Diabetics either don't produce any insulin (type 1 diabetes), can't make enough insulin, and/or can't properly make use of the little insulin they do produce (type 2 diabetes).

Living with a Diabetic Dog

September 27th, 2011

diabetes in dogs

Just as in people, there has been an alarming upsurge in cases of diabetes in dogs. Also as in people, diabetes in dogs can be either type 1 (requiring insulin injections) or type 2 diabetes (often connected to an overweight animal).

Dogchannel.com, the self described "website for dog lovers", has posted an article titled Seven Essential Tips for Living with a Diabetic Dog, discussing how to successfully manage your dog's diabetes in daily life.

The article offers common sense tips (carry a small packet of honey with you in case your pet has an episode of low blood sugar) and some not as well-known advice (if your dog stops responding well to insulin, it may have a urinary tract infection) for owners of dogs with diabetes.

For a more in-depth article on the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes in dogs written by a veterinarian, visit Caring For Your Diabetic Dog.

Medtronic Takes a Critical Step Towards Developing An Artificial Pancreas

November 3rd, 2011

Medtronic, a world leader in diabetes management systems, including insulin pumps and continuing glucose monitoring systems, has taken a critical step towards its goal of developing an artificial pancreas. The FDA has granted them an Investigational Device Exemption to allow the company to conduct in-home clinical trials of its MiniMed closed loop insulin delivery system. Here is the press release from Medtronic:

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct 28, 2011 - In our continued commitment to develop an artificial pancreas, Medtronic, Inc. today announced FDA approval of its Investigational Device Exemption to conduct a pivotal in-home clinical trial protocol for the ASPIRE study of the MiniMed Paradigm(R) System featuring Low Glucose Suspend (LGS) automation. FDA approval of the IDE makes Medtronic's ASPIRE study the first in-home pivotal trial of a closed loop system for Type 1 diabetes management.

"This study leads an industry-wide effort to close the diabetes treatment loop by tackling the important challenge of reducing the risk of hypoglycemia even when a person is asleep or unable to react," said David Klonoff, Medical Director of the Diabetes Research Institute at Mills-Peninsula Health Services. "The new Low Glucose Suspend integrated system is designed to help improve patients' ability to manage nocturnal hypoglycemia, which can be one of the most frightening aspects of living with Type 1 diabetes. Until now, we have never had a therapy designed to automatically intervene when blood glucose becomes severely low."

"FDA approval of the ASPIRE in-home study is an important milestone toward bringing Low Glucose Suspend technology to the U.S. market," said Dr. Francine Kaufman, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Global Clinical Affairs for the Diabetes business of Medtronic. "It's also a critical step toward our ultimate goal -- the development of an artificial pancreas. We believe this innovation has the potential to provide patients with added protection by lowering the risks associated with nocturnal hypoglycemia."

This is the second phase of the ASPIRE (Automation to Simulate Pancreatic Insulin REsponse) study, following the completion of the in-patient clinical study. ASPIRE is a multi-center, randomized, pivotal in-home study being conducted at multiple investigational centers to determine the safety and efficacy of the Low Glucose Suspend feature in the sensor-augmented MiniMed Paradigm insulin pump. Medtronic's newest continuous glucose sensor, the Enlite(TM) sensor, will be tested as part of the overall system.

ASPIRE will compare hypoglycemic events in a treatment arm with the LGS ON to a control arm that has the LGS OFF in the actual use environment and by the intended use population with Type 1 diabetes. The first study objective is to demonstrate that home use of LGS is safe and is not associated with glycemic deterioration, as measured by a change in HbA1C. The second study objective is to demonstrate that home use of LGS is associated with a reduction in nocturnal hypoglycemia when patients fail to respond. Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence and concern in diabetes management and can result in confusion, unresponsiveness and -- in severe cases -- even death.

"FDA review of the ASPIRE IDE application was conducted through an interactive review process that involved frequent communication with the FDA review team, allowing issues to be resolved quickly and avoiding any unnecessary delays during the review. We appreciate the valuable input provided by members of the FDA's Artificial Pancreas Working Group," added Dr. Kaufman.

Medtronic's MiniMed Paradigm(R) REAL-TimeRevel(TM) System, currently available in the United States, is the second generation of the only insulin pump integrated with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) cleared by the FDA. With the addition of LGS, Medtronic has designed a first-of-its-kind semi-closed loop system that not only features insulin delivery and CGM, but also advanced software algorithms that enable the Low Glucose Suspend automation.

Low Glucose Suspend works by automatically suspending basal insulin delivery temporarily if glucose levels become too low as defined by the patient and his or her healthcare provider. It is a feature available commercially in Medtronic's Paradigm(R) Veo(TM) System in more than 50 countries outside of the United States. The CGM-integrated system and Low Glucose Suspend automation are the first key steps towards the creation of an artificial pancreas.

Hypoglycemia can be one of the most frightening aspects of living with diabetes. Research has indicated that, on average, a person with diabetes will experience more than one low blood glucose event every two weeks. In addition, each year nearly one in 14 people with insulin dependent diabetes will experience one or more episodes of severe hypoglycemia.

The Diabetes Business at Medtronic is a world leader in advanced diabetes management solutions, including integrated diabetes management systems, insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring systems and therapy management software, as well as world-class, 24/7 expert consumer and professional service and support.

Diabetes + Depression = Dementia, Study Suggests, Yes

December 7th, 2011

As if suffering with two debilitating conditions is not enough for one person to take, recent studies conducted suggests that those living with type 2 diabetes and struggle with depression have a greater risk of developing dementia.

The study was headed by Dr. Wayne Katon, who is a professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Washington's School of Public Health in Seattle and more specifically states that patients with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia three to five years after being diagnosed with depression, compared to a non depressed patient with diabetes.

Katon and his colleagues published their research, titled Aging Study and the Diabetes Study of Northern California in the Dec. 5 online edition of Archives of General Psychiatry which monitored more than 19, 000 California residents with Diabetes between the ages 30 and 75 and found that depression and diabetes are among the most prevalent health issues facing American seniors.

What's more interesting though, is each of the two conditions seem to independently raise the risk for developing the other. If you are Diabetic this raises up the likelihood of becoming depressed, and with the same motion, being depressed boosts the risk of developing diabetes. The study recognized that nearly 1 in 5 of the patients was also deemed to be experiencing clinical depression.

The study also monitored for the onset of dementia over a three to five year period, and Katon's team found that just over two percent of those who had both diabetes and depression went on to develop one or more forms of dementia. By contrast just one percent of patients who had just diabetes alone ended up developing dementia.

It is important to note however, that there a lot of things that can boost the odds for depression in diabetic patients such as poor diet, bad lifestyle choices, smoking etc, and if one can manage these things it may also lessen the risk of developing depression and perhaps even dementia. Katon notes, "So the important thing to focus on here is that there are very effective treatments for depression, and so if you are a diabetic who does have depression it's very important to get it attended to. Just as important as getting you diabetes itself treated."

Living with Diabetes: Maintaining a Healthy Circulation

October 22nd, 2012

People living with diabetes need to pay special attention to the health of their circulatory systems, taking conscious efforts to reduce the risks of circulation problems or, in worst case scenarios, cardiovascular disease or stroke. Poor circulation affects the whole body from the feet to the nervous system, and is the reason why over 50 per cent of amputations performed in North America are due to diabetes complications. Maintaining a healthy circulation is the most important preventative measure a patient of diabetes can take to keep their condition stable. Keep reading below to learn more about the effect diabetes has on the circulatory system, and the steps you can take to keep it in shape.

How Does Diabetes Cause Poor Circulation?

Diabetes is often associated with other health problems such as high blood pressure and high levels of glucose and cholesterol. All of these maladies create a massive strain on the heart and arteries which in turn slows down the function of a healthy circulatory system. Once the arteries become damaged they are unable to properly circulate blood away from the heart to where it needs to be. This is the reason why so many diabetics face leg amputations or blindness; the delicate arteries have been damaged to a point where they are starting to affect major blood vessels that serve to carry blood flow from the heart to the periphery of the body.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Circulation Problems

Quit smoking - smoking has hardens the arteries over time and is a proven cause of poor circulation in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. Diabetics who smoke should quit immediate for the sake of their health and quality of life: not only will circulation improve, so will respiratory health and general mobility. You'll also save money, which you can spend on a circulation-improving massage.

Exercise - Exercise is the most effective way to get the blood flowing and improve circulation. Aerobic exercises such as jogging, walking and cycling will immediately improve blood flow to the legs and feet. The Canadian Diabetic Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, and to never let more than two days go by without any physical activity.

Watch Cholesterol, Glucose Levels - Talk to your doctor about keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels at healthy levels. Eat a diet low in salt, fat and sugar and high in whole grains and vegetables.

Improving blood circulation for those people can sometimes be accomplished by always taking medications on time. People with diabetes mellitus also take certain medications such as generic Glucophage to keep the blood sugar levels under control.

Things you did not know about Diabetes

November 14th, 2012

For most people diabetes takes a stronghold in their minds as the condition that forbids them from ever having sweets. While that is partly true in most cases, there's a lot more to diabetes than the inability to munch on your favorite foods. In fact, there's a lot about this disease that people don't really know about.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is typified by having higher than normal amounts of blood sugar levels. This happens for one of two reasons - either the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to metabolize the sugar or the body fails to use the insulin that is being produced.

Diabetes can be broadly classified into two main categories:

Type 1, which usually develops early on in life (childhood or adolescence) and requires patients to survive on insulin injections as part of their treatment. The symptoms of this condition are frequent urination, continual thirst, extreme fatigue, weight loss, and severe hunger pangs. Owing to the ambiguous nature of these symptoms, type 1 diabetes usually goes unnoticed for a very long time.

Type 2 is more common among adults and is usually caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, obesity, lack of exercise, and poor diet. 90% of all diabetes cases fall under this category and treatment for this condition combines insulin injections, lifestyle changes, weight loss, and oral medication such as generic Actos 45mg.

Whether it is type 1 or type 2, people with diabetes are more susceptible towards long-term complications, such as heart disease, eye problems, strokes, foot problems, and kidney disease. For this reason, it is imperative that those suffering from diabetes keep a vigilant eye on their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

According to a report published by the World Health Organization, diabetes is becoming one of the most common afflictions of modern times. In fact, it would not be stretching the truth to say that the world is standing on the brink of a widespread epidemic of diabetes, especially the kind that is caused by physical inactivity and obesity.

In 2005, more than 1 million people died of death. However, this figure is misleading for the simple reason that while people live with diabetes their whole life, their deaths are often recorded as kidney failure or heart attack. As you can imagine, if those fatalities are also taken into account, the actual picture is a lot grimmer. Even more disturbing is the prediction that deaths caused by diabetes are only projected to go up by more than 50% over the next decade or so. In upper-middle income countries, this percentage is as high as 80%.

A yet another new (and worrying) trend has been noticed recently. Type 2 diabetes - a condition that was more prevalent among adults - is being reported among children and adolescents as well. A rare phenomenon by all accounts, it accounts for more than 50% of the newly diagnosed cases in some countries. This indirectly indicates towards an increasingly unhealthy lifestyle and obesity among our younger members of the population.

Even as health bodies and governments across the world are looking for a solution to this problem, there is no denying that the key lies in educating and spreading awareness about this condition. That, and a healthier lifestyle, could free us from the complications associated with type 2 diabetes at least.