People with diabetes use iPods.

Amy Tenderich, author of the Diabetes Mine web log, wrote an open letter to Steve Jobs requesting his help in getting diabetes device manufacturers to incorporate more industrial design in their products. Diabetes test and monitoring devices tend to be bulky and ugly. The kind of thing you’d expect Microsoft to design.
Some of the Mac focused web logs and tech news sites have picked up the story and open discussion is underway. This is what I think Amy expected. In her follow up post she interviews a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellow, Joel Goldsmith, who worked at Medtronic and provides some insight into how out of touch the device makers are.

Mr Goldsmith says:

What’s funny is that these companies tend to think that people with diabetes are somehow not the same people as those buying iPods and Nintendos and Razor phones. Why would they feel any less strongly about design issues? If they have to live with these devices 24/7, why wouldn’t they feel even stronger about it?

Some in the community have suggested that hearing aids might be a better place to start. I disagree. My boss wears a hearing aid and no one notices until he tells them. My assortment of lancets, test strips, needles, and a meter is always noticed.

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Diabetes cure? New hope or false hope?

New research out of Brazil (also here and here ) has indicated that it might be possible to cure diabetes. In a experiement that involved 15 people under the age of 30 the research were able to use stem cells harvested from the bone marrow to create a treatment that was injected back into the patients. Of the 15, 14 were able to give up insulin completely.

While this is great news it must be tempered with caution. The research used a very small sample size and the researchers are not sure they understand the mechanisms involved. They suspect that the body is stimulated to produce new white bloods cells that either prevent further attacks on the pancreas or simply replace the existing errant ones.

Danger Will Robinson

Amy Tenderich, author of the Diabetes Mine blog, writes about the difficulties that the law enforcement has in recognizing someone with diabetic hypoglycemia. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. While I have had only a few scary lows I often wonder about what could happen if I experience a low while driving and cause an accident. Will I be taken to a hospital for treatment or will I end up dying in some prison cell because the cops think I am drunk or on drugs? I have a medical ID alert bracelet that lets medical personnel know that I am both diabetic and allergic to penicillin. What is they don’t see it?

Insulin Honey Moon

Wow! It’s been over 3 months since my last post. December was the last time I saw my endocrinologist. I was experiencing a lot of “lows” so he recommended cutting out the morning insulin ( I was on one unit of NovoLog ) and taking blood glucose readings two (2) hours after each meal. I instead chose to cut out all insulin and hold my carbohydrate intake to 50g or less per meal. I have been doing this for about 3 months and except for a few mistakes ( incorrectly reading labels ) things have gone quite well. My before meal numbers have been between 90 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL with after meal averages of 150 mg/dL.

I eat mostly whole grains (oat, bulgur wheat), vegetables and lean meats (chicken, fish). I was doing this before diabetes so this was not a drastic change. I occasionally indulge in junk food (Cheetos are awesome!) and my favourite ice cream is Häagen-Dazs Rum and Raisin. I keep track of my food intake using the excellent Calorie King Nutrition and Exercise Manager.