A Lizard’s Saliva Inspires a New Med

I love the music of Paul Simon. In his song“Senorita With a Necklace of Tears” he writes,“. . . There is a frog in South America, whosevenom is a cure . . . more powerful thanmorphine and soothing as the rain, a frog inSouth America has the antidote for pain . . .”I always liked that lyric and have oftenwondered if it actually is true.

What we do know, however, is that there isa lizard native to the southwestern UnitedStates whose saliva (in a synthetic form)—although not a cure—is a promising newremedy for people with type 2 diabetes.

Lizard Spit and Type 2 Control

Byetta (exenatide) injection was given FDAapproval in late April 2005 and is our coverstory. I recall reading research abstracts fromyears back that reported on a potential type2 treatment derived from a lizard’s saliva.These reports always stopped me in mytracks. This huge reptile eats only a few timesper year, and its spit contains somethingcalled exendin-4, which stimulates insulinsecretion from the pancreas only when bloodglucose is high.

I would like to hear from any of our type2 readers who try Byetta in the comingmonths. Please write and tell me about yourexperience with this new medication. In themeantime, see our article (“Byetta Now Available for Type 2s”).

Meters for the 21st Century

David Mendosa is a respected authority ondiabetes, and we are privileged to have himas our meter columnist. This month, Davidrecounts how far we have come with bloodglucose monitoring in his article “Welcome to the World of 21st Century Meters.”

I think the meters we have today arefantastic. I really like the five-second testsand the accuracy achieved in a portable labdevice, and I have no problem lancing myfingers after all these years. But I am keepingmy expectations low for a noninvasivemeter in the near future. I believe testing byextracting a drop of blood will be the goldstandard for many years to come. When Iuse that number to dose my insulin, I don’twant any mistakes. I want a number that is asaccurate as possible with a portable device.

See David’s article and our comprehensive meter resource chart.


Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer has written a usefularticle on stress management for peoplewith diabetes . Simply havingdiabetes can be highly stressful, so we allneed to seriously consider her suggestionsfor managing our daily stress.

I find that my best method of stressmanagement is regular physical exercise.When I’ve done my exercise for the day, I feelrelaxed. When I exercise, my body feels great,and I get an extra boost seeing how exercisehelps keep my BGs in control. Knowing Ihave “done the deed” for the day gives me areal sense of well-being and keeps me fromfeeling guilty for skipping my workout.

Here’s hoping you get lots of relaxation thissummer!

Scott King
Type 1, 30 years (and counting)

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