Time for a Dialogue

By: Scott M. King

I lean heavily on the feedback I receive from all of you because it helps meto shape the direction of this magazine. Many times, readers alert me to debatesabout hot topics taking place in the diabetes community, and other times I liketo start discussions myself.

Let’s try a few on for size.

Would This Plan Compromise New York Diabetics’ Privacy?

A new plan proposed by New York City health officials would require medicallabs to report patients’ A1C results to the city. According to a July 26,2005, Associated Press report, Thomas Frieden, the city’s health commissioner,believes that “…by pinpointing problem patients, then intervening ever soslightly in their care … the city can improve thousands of lives.”

New York already tracks people with infectious diseases as a way to haltepidemics. However, diabetes is not infectious. This begs the question: WouldNew York’s diabetics have their privacy invaded by a plan such as this?

James Pyles, an attorney who represents healthcare groups concerned withmedical privacy, told AP writer David B. Caruso, “Unless diabetics are askedfor their consent, it would be ‘an outright violation of the constitutionalright to privacy’ for the government to obtain their identities.”

Would you give up some of your privacy if it meant that you could get propermedical intervention if your numbers went bad?

The ADA’s Controversial New Fundraising Efforts

I am a proud supporter and member of the American Diabetes Association, andas a member, I feel I have the right to question its motives from time to time.I was bewildered this past June 11, while attending the Scientific Sessions inSan Diego, to read a flyer for an ADA symposium entitled “Managing Sweetnessand Patient Health: Scientific Straight Talk on Sugars, Sweeteners and Health.”What surprised me was the flyer’s statement that the symposium was “supportedby an unrestricted educational grant from The Coca-Cola Company.”

Coca-Cola? Makers of the beverage that has 39 grams of sugar per can? Andthey were sponsoring a diabetes-related symposium, on sweeteners, no less?

Taking the matter one step further, the ADA announced on April 21, 2005, thatit was launching a three-year, million-dollar alliance with Cadbury SchweppesAmericas Beverages (CSAB) “to fight obesity and diabetes in America.”

Really? Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages?

This is the company that makes A&W Root Beer, 7-Up and Hawaiian Punch, aswell as the Cadbury brand of chocolate bars.

Does Eating Sugar Cause Diabetes?

In a May 9, 2005, interview, Richard Kahn, PhD, the ADA’s chief scientificand medical officer, defended the $1 million alliance by saying, “What is theevidence that sugar itself has anything to do with diabetes? There is noevidence …. There is not a shred of evidence that sugar per se has anythingto do with getting diabetes.”

Dr. Kahn makes many good points, and the interview is posted at www.corporatecrimereporter.com/diabetes051605.htm.

This Just In: Warning Labels on Soft Drink Packaging?

An article in the July 14, 2005, issue of The New York Times reported thatthe Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA that soft drinklabeling should include a warning to alert consumers that soft drinks may causeobesity and other health problems.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on these issues. Drop me ane-mail and let’s get a dialogue going.

Scott King
Editor-in-Chief
Type 1, 30 years (and counting)

Please send me your comments and suggestions via e-mail through our Web site.

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