Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Growing Up With Type 1 Diabetes

In the years I’ve attended CWD’s Friends for Life conference, I always came away with this appreciation for what the conference provides for kids with diabetes, and their parents.  Kids – a whole bunch of them – running amuck and clad in green bracelets with pump tubing flapping from underneath their t-shirts … it’s a place where these families hopefully feel normal, and safe, and understood.

But I’m not a kid with diabetes.  I’m an adult.  (I checked, and it’s true: adult.)  I always felt welcomed at past FFL conferences, but people constantly checked for the kid at my side, because the “child with diabetes” surely couldn’t be me.  (And then there was that time that the registration lady thought Sara(aah) was my child with diabetes, wherein my head exploded.)

Growing up with diabetes isn’t hard.  It isn’t easy.  I can’t assign adjectives to it because it’s all I’ve ever known, so growing up with diabetes is exactly synonymous to “just plain growing up.”  My friends didn’t have to take injections or chase NPH peaks, but we were in the same classes and rode the same bus and went on the same field trips, so we were “the same.”  The difference, at that point in my life, was Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

The Improving Outcome For People Living With Type 1 Diabetes

During the Joslin medalist meeting last week, I didn’t say anything.  I wasn’t presenting or doing any kind of networking.  I was invited as “media” (totally in quotes) but I attended as a grown-up child with diabetes, hoping to continue on that path of growing up.

I sat next to a woman named Eleanor (my beloved grandmother’s name) and she had been living with type 1 for 58 years.  She asked to see pictures of my daughter.  She offered me a cough drop after I spent a few minutes trying to clear my throat, and she stuck her hand out to take the wrapper, spying my pump tubing jutting out from my pocket.  “I don’t wear a pump,” she said.  “I do just fine with my needles.  And you appear to be doing just fine with your pump.  Do you need another cough drop?”  I almost hugged her.

As Dr. George King, director of research at the Joslin Clinic, gave his opening remarks, quotes from the medalists were flashing up on the screen behind him.  “I have learned to understand that perfection is not possible.”  “Tomorrow is another chance to do better.”  “Say YES to every opportunity.”

These people were incredible because of what they’ve accomplished with type 1 diabetes.  Hilary Keenan, PhD and pat of the Joslin biostatistics team, stunned me with the stats on this group. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Diabetes Lessons

As doctors, sometimes the biggest lessons that we learn about disease pathology are those that we learn from the people that have that disease. Diabetes is one such disease.

I recently gave a show-and-tell lecture about insulin pumps to the new interns and residents as well as the 3rd-year medical students on their pediatric clerkship with the inpatient endocrine service. We discussed different types of pumps (point A on the picture) and they got to push the buttons and send a bolus or change a basal rate. They also looked at real time CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitors, points C and D on the picture) sensors used to check glucoses levels every five minutes. Read more »

Glucose Monitor: From On The Belt To In The Belly?

Researchers led by bioengineering professor David Gough at the University of California-San Diego have reported, in a paper in Science Translational Medicine, that they implanted a wireless telemetry continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in two pigs (222 and 520 days, respectively) and the device was successfully reporting glucose levels to an external receiver.

Following human testing and FDA approval, devices such as these could replace similar systems that are external to the body with a needle attachment that pierces the skin to take measures. Combined with potential transdermal or intranasal insulin administration, this technology could lead to less sticking and poking of people with diabetes. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »