Raining on the Ice Bucket Parade

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a truly horrible illness. It is a progressive fatal neurodegenerative disorder that leads to worsening muscle weakness. Weakness in the limbs initially makes handwriting sloppy and makes it hard to button clothes and eventually causes paralysis. Patients also develop weakness in the muscles that control swallowing and speech, eventually requiring them to use feeding tubes and computer text-to-speech software. Ev...

A Small Step Towards An Artificial Pancreas

Patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are forced to spend much of their time obsessing about their blood sugar and insulin doses. The state of the art in treatment of T1D is an insulin pump that delivers insulin and a continuous glucose monitor that displays the glucose level and sounds alarms for values that are too low or too high. (See here for a refresher on the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.) Currently, p...

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Have Diabetes

The danger of diabetes is not only the immediate risk of very high blood sugar. Diabetes also has many dreaded long-term complications. (In this post I am referring to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. For an explanation of the differences between these two very different diseases see the first half of this post.) Diabetes greatly increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and amputation. In the US it is the leadin...

Are You Obese?

Americans are getting heavier and have been doing so for decades. One in three adults in the US is obese. Overweight and obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other serious health problems. What can be done? Last month the ...

Weight-Loss Surgery More Effective for Diabetes than Medication

About 20 million Americans currently have type 2 diabetes, three times more than in 1980. Diabetes is a major risk factor for stroke and heart attack, is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, and is the largest cause of the need for dialysis. Diabetes is also usually progressive, meaning that on the same medications and on the same diet and exercise regimen, the blood sugar of a patient with diabetes will slowly increase, necessitating constantly increasing amounts of medications. So des...

News Flash: Diabetes is Not Good

Type 2 diabetes mellitus has long been known to increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and eye disease. In the US diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure requiring dialysis and one of the leading causes of blindness. Diabetes is also increasing in prevalence as people become more overweight. A study in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine attempted to quantify the risk of premature death associated with diabetes. The results were dramatic, and attracted much m...