Photo: Norman Desjardins
A veteran insulin pump user wrote a thought-provoking post for HealthCentral.com about “taking a vacation” from insulin pumping. It begins:
By Kelsey Bonilia
“One of the ideas I’d been mulling over in the weeks leading up to my endocrinologist appointment was taking a pump vacation. I’d experienced several frustrating pump site malfunctions (the cannula kept kinking during insertion) that left me with stubbornly high blood sugars for hours. It was maddening to have poor blood sugar control because of my insulin delivery system. Also, after nearly five years of insulin pumping, I just wanted the freedom of life without a little medical device tethered to me.
Upon discussion with my doctor, I made the comment “I know that the pump is best…” to which he replied, “For some people, but it’s not inherently better.” He knows that I eat a fairly disciplined diet and still test my blood sugar 10-12 times a day, so he agreed that switching to insulin injections would be fine for me. He prescribed Humalog and Lantus insulin pens, which I’d never used before. It was kind of exciting to open the boxes of pens and learn how to use a new device!”
Kelsey plans to update the pros and cons of switching to insulin injections after using an insulin pump for almost five years. To read this and future posts on HealthCentral.com, >Click Here.<
Photo credit: Axwel
Diabeticlive.com is warning insulin dependent diabetes planning to take a plane that changes in cabin air pressure while flying may alter the functioning of insulin pumps. The research arose out of an incident involving a young diabetic traveler using an insulin pump whose blood sugar levels dropped unexpectedly one hour into a flight.
After uncovering reports of similar incidents involving insulin pumps delivering incorrect insulin doses while being used on planes, a team of researchers from John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Australia decided to perform some tests.
They placed ten insulin pumps on a commercial flight. When they analyzed them later, they found the pumps delivered 1 to 1.4 extra units of insulin after take-off, and that a small amount of insulin was drawn back into the pumps when descending for a landing.
To read the entire story on diabeticlive.com, including the researchers’ suggestions for diabetics with insulin pumps who plan to travel by plane, >CLICK HERE.<
Researchers are continuing to make progress in the development of an artificial pancreas for insulin dependent type 1 diabetics. An artificial pancreas is an automated, closed-loop system consisting of a continuous glucose monitor, a glucose meter to calibrate the monitor, and an insulin pump.
With the help of a sophisticated computer system, an artificial pancreas produces insulin and controls blood sugar in a diabetic much as a normal pancreas does in a person without diabetes. The sophisticated system senses when the body needs insulin, calculates the dose needed, and delivers automatically, eliminating the need for insulin injections.
To read more about several recent advances towards the development of an artificial pancreas on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.
Photo Credit: Alton
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.
Engineers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are building on automation techniques used in oil refining to create a closed-loop artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetics. The Institute’s Professor B. Wayne Bequette, whose sister developed diabetes early in life, has been fine tuning an increasingly advanced diabetes control system for six years.
The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin, leaving them dependent on insulin injections. Blood sugar and insulin levels rise and fall normally during the day, responding to factors like meals, the type of food eaten, stress and exercise. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently, and adjust their insulin dose accordingly.
Bequette’s artificial pancreas marries an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. The combination quickly and accurately identifies and responds to rapid variations in blood sugar and insulin levels, eliminating the need for frequent testing and guesswork.
To read more about Bequette and his fellow researcher’s work on theEngineer >CLICK HERE.<
Photo credit: mbbradford
It’s hard to believe that insulin has only been around as a diabetes treatment since 1922. A pair of Canadians, Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best, discovered how to extract insulin from animal pancreases, and then used the insulin to treat diabetes in humans. Stories are told of how they went to hospitals and, with a single insulin injection, resuscitated diabetes patients who were already in a coma.
Originally, all insulin was extracted from animals. In the 1970′s, researchers started using recombinant DNA technology to produce pure analogues of human insulin. In the last century, diabetes medication and management has progressed by leaps and bounds, including the introduction of long acting insulin in 2003.
The first FDA approved insulin pump hit the market in 1983, and dibetes management technology has greatly advanced in the last couple of decades. WebMD has researched four noteworthy high tech tools for insulin control, including continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, a combination of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, and diabetes information management software that allows the monitor and pump to operate much like an artificial pancreas.
To read the entire article on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.
Old insulin syringe. Photo: Markus.Michalczyk
Not that long ago, being insulin dependent meant you had to carry around a syringe and a vial of insulin to deliver your insulin injections, making sure to keep them refrigerated. There are now a variety of methods for insulin delivery on the market, and some promising new developments on the horizon. These include:
1) Insulin pens. Most types of insulin are now available in convenient prefilled pens. Some insulin pens are entirely disposable when empty, and others use a replaceable insulin cartridge, usually containing 300 units. There is a dial on one end to set your desired dose. The pens offer discreet, push button insulin delivery. Some claim the injections are more comfortable than from a needle that has already been dulled by insertion into an insulin vial. Many people prefer to use an insulin pen if they are caring for a diabetic child or pet.
Read the full article
Photo credit: mbbradford
About.com type 1 diabetes guide Gary Gilles believes that insulin pump therapy has changed the way people with insulin dependent diabetes handle their condition. Gilles, a health writer and diabetes counselor, has put together a helpful list of FAQ’s on insulin pump therapy, answering inquiries from the basic “What is an insulin pump?” to questions about their safety, effectiveness and how to program and troubleshoot an insulin pump.
Click >HERE< to read Gilles’ insulin pump FAQ’s on About.com. Gilles’ article links to related posts on the pros and cons of insulin pump therapy, types of insulin pumps, and the latest research.
A group of parents of children with diabetes who formed a non-profit foundation in 1970 called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association (JDRA) has raised almost 1.5 billion for diabetes research, and is close to their goal of developing an artificial pancreas.
In 2006, the JDRA funded a consortium of engineers, mathematicians and diabetes experts to collaborate on computer programs for a possible artificial pancreas. In early 2010, the JDRA hired Animas Corporation, a provider of high tech insulin pumps, to assist in the development of the automated insulin delivery system.
Read the full article