Diabetes Research, For Shame.

It’s hard to believe that in a world of nuclear energy, advanced biotechnology, and advancement in almost all other areas of science, that diabetes sufferers are still plagued with the same issues as when insulin was first synthesized for commercial use in the 1920’s. But here we are, in 2012, and we are struggling with limited understandings of all the working parts involved with diabetes control, and trying to find mechanical solutions to solve these problems. Sure, the technology has changed drastically since the 20’s. No longer do you have to sterilize in steam and sharpen large syringes by hand. You also probably won’t find a lot of diabetics complaining if they have an insulin pump, or 24 hour acting insulin such as Lantus, even if they do gripe about the aesthetic nature of wearing or using such gadgets. After almost 100 years of research and development however, you have to start asking yourself if we as a civilization are really getting anywhere with diabetes relief, especially with Type 1.

What brings this to mind is an article and video I recently came across on CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/04/health/artificial-pancreas/index.html In it, a 12 year old girl constantly fights the highs and lows characteristic of Type 1 diabetes management, and her wearing an artificial pancreas brings a short amount of relief until she has to leave the hospital, and the artificial pancreas behind, after the test trials end.

Pretty much everything within the apparatus is already in commercial use. The insulin pump, continuous blood glucose monitor, etc. The largest factor in bringing this all together is probably the computer program that decides when glucose is introduced, when insulin is, and how it all relates to the high or low blood sugar readings. In addition to the cumbersome nature of tabulating all of this information, the apparatus is as large as a fanny pack, and you have to be connected to the units for injecting insulin and glucose at all times.

I’m not saying that I expect an outright cure, not right now. What I do think is that the make-shift way we are dealing with Type 1 and even Type 2 diabetes as an epidemics is unacceptable. With the pool of resources most research organizations receive, a more thorough look into diabetes and its various working parts should be possible, and expected more rapidly. With President Obama’s efforts to combat cancer, there should also be more emphasis put on effective diabetes relief and prevention. If it’s a big pharma money issue, if you gave me the chance to pay a large sum of money to cure my diabetes, I’d sight on the dotted line. I think most diabetics would say the same.

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