Friday, April 15, 2011

I want to move to London

My local forecast: Mostly sunny with a light breeze at a balmy 71 degrees. Our dogwoods, lilacs and fiery pink azaleas are in full bloom under an idyllic Carolina blue sky.

Yet... I'm a bit jealous of my friends in cold and foggy London. After all, they get better insulin pumps and drugs than us Americans. Ironically, many of them are made by American pharmaceutical companies. Really.

Case in point: Medtronic's Paradigm VEO has been available on the UK for around two years. This sweet, little pump has a built in CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and an auto shut off if your blood sugar drops too low. It's a step closer to an artificial pancreas. However, it's still not available in the U.S. and we may not ever see it. Why? 3 letters: F-D-A.

The FDA or Food and Drug Administration is in charge of protecting US citizens from bad and defective medical devices. Unfortunately, the agency is overworked and understaffed. And they're held hostage to antiquated processes. And they have a culture driven by fear.

The agency has an overarching philosophy: "better safe than sorry." Perhaps the FDA officers don't realize that T1 diabetics ALREADY live in a world of immense risk that easily justifies the fast adoption of innovative technologies like the VEO. The good doctors and scientists WANT to help us. They've fast tracked treatments before under the spectre of an AIDs epidemic.

I believe they need to adopt a similar mindset now... especially since Cellnovo will be introducing a nifty new iphone-like pump/cgm later this year... in London. Sigh.

Photo Credit: yisris on Flickr

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


OMG. All teens live to text, and type-1 teens are no exception to the rule. My friends Pat and Shauna routinely text their daughter with diabetes - "TNT" - shorthand for test and text me (your number).

In a recent edition of COUNTDOWN, Dr. William Tamborlane, M.D.,from the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation wrote impassioned and funny advice for teenagers like my daughter Cassie. His best point reminded me of Nike's slogan, "Just Do it:"

"If you use a pump—TTFB. Take the Freakin’ Bolus! That’s our motto and we have it emblazoned all over the new pump skin we provide our patients. Nothing is more important for managing your glucose levels with a pump or multiple daily injections."

It makes sense.

If you bought your teenager a Lamborghini, you could safely bet that she'd never keep it just sitting parked in the garage. She'd drive it until the wheels came off.

Why not the same thing with an insulin pump? It's an expensive and intricate piece of technology that kids with diabetes get to sport on their hip.

So listen up teens with T1: If you got it, USE it.

TTFB may be my new favorite thing to text my daughter!!

Photo Credit: Ken Banks,