By: Russell Phillips
This year the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) went deep south for its annual conference, hosting the event in Atlanta, Georgia, from August 3rd through August 9th. Diabetes Health was there, hobnobbing with thousands of attendees and hundreds of companies, and it was an amazing experience.
We spent our time exploring the endless bounty of new technologies, medicines, lifestyle products, research, and web applications, sifting out the most exciting developments and new information. For now, here is a brief sampling of what we learned. Stay tuned, though, because we’ll bring you more detail in the coming weeks.
Health Engage is a free, web-based service (beta version for now) that allows users to not only keep track of their glucose levels and analyze trends in a meaningful way, but also share this information with family, friends, or health care providers. It works through a “widget”, which is a small application on a web page, so you can access it from anywhere on any computer. Your widget can be on your Facebook page, myYahoo, iGoogle, mySpace, or anywhere you want it to be. There are many ways to get your data into the various applications (blood glucose widget is up and running right now), as well as tools to create reports, learn about what is happening in the community, and share information with your doctor, diabetes educator, or family. This web application looks and feels expensive in its design and usability, but it is absolutely free! It will be exciting to see what comes out next from this super smart startup company.
Solo Insulin Dispensing Patch
The Solo MicroPump insulin delivery patch system by Medingo was just approved by the FDA about two weeks before the conference, and should be available in early 2010. It is very small, about the size of two iPod nanos stuck back to back, and has no tubing, instead using a patch and cradle fueled by removable cartridges that hold about 200 units of insulin. The MicroPump is controlled by a wireless remote control that has a bolus guide, color menus, messages, and history tracking among other bells and whistles. A pre-determined bolus can be dispensed, independent of the remote, by pressing on both sides of the pump simultaneously. The Solo is about two-thirds the size of the OmniPod, but requires a separate insertion apparatus, whereas the OmniPod insertion equipment is built in. More to come on this new sleek and user-friendly patch pump system.
Culturally Sensitive Diabetes Care for Latino Families
In a dynamic presentation, Rita Temple-Trujillo, LCSW, CDE, from the Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado, explored how Latino families differ from white families in their responses to the diagnosis and treatment of childhood diabetes. It was a fascinating look at the challenges involved, including language barriers, different belief systems (for example, that diabetes can be “caused” by an emotional situation), financial issues, and access to healthcare. She emphasized the importance of educating the educator to be aware of these differences in order to provide the best care and real understanding to both the child and the family. A video interview with Rita Temple-Trujillo will be available on Diabetes Health in the coming weeks.
PreDX Diabetes Risk Score
The presentation, by Eric Book, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at Tethys Bioscience explained how the PreDX Diabetes Risk Score determines a person’s risk of developing diabetes within five years. The PreDX Diabetes Risk Score starts with information about multiple biomarkers obtained from simple blood tests. Then, using a proprietary algorithm that weights the importance of each protein differently, it produces a score that rates an individual’s risk as high, moderate, or low. The score could become very useful, especially because impaired fasting glucose tests and even metabolic syndrome don’t accurately predict the onset of diabetes. In fact, only one in 10 people with metabolic syndrome ends up developing diabetes within five years. If healthcare providers could determine who is at highest risk for developing diabetes, however, they could target those patients with priority care and reduce the likelihood that they’ll go on to develop diabetes. For more information, read our article on PreDX Diabetes Risk Score.
One of the most interesting booths at the conference was Dreamfields Pasta, which has developed a pasta that fits into a healthy diabetes lifestyle. It has twice the fiber of regular pasta, only five grams of “digestible” carbohydrates, and a 65 percent lower glycemic index than traditional pastas. All of this means a lower rise in blood glucose after eating this special treat. But what makes it special? Dreamfields has come up with a proprietary manufacturing process and protein blend, which keeps all but five grams of carbohydrates from being digested. (We asked how that works, but apparently it’s their secret). The pasta also contains inulin, a natural prebiotic fiber that can aid in reducing cholesterol and glucose levels. Watch for our upcoming interview with the folks at Dreamfields on Diabetes Health TV.