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Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Devices Improve Lives, But No Cure for Diabetes Yet There’s Good News About Islet Transplantation

Type 1 diabetics can live easier now with the technology (That’s the good news) but the scientists have not found the cure yet (that’s the bad news) We will not let that get us down for there are things we can do keep healthy. People are living healthier and longer just like the doctor I met who has been a Type 1 diabetic for 30 years now.
There’s also Liz Walton-McMahan who has been injecting herself five times a day with insulin for twenty years and now has an insulin pump given to her by a big-hearted acquaintance. Her blood sugar control has been better as a result that makes her more hopeful she will not develop any of the awful complications.
The insulin pump she received is expensive because it is computerized and is as small as a pager. She could not afford this herself because it is about $7,000. She connects the pump to a thin catheter which delivers insulin doses just under her skin. Mind you, she still has to put in the data on her carbohydrates intake but the pump calculates how much insulin to release to process the blood sugar every time she eats.
Before the insulin pump, she had to calculate this all by her lonesome self which was not easy because her job sometimes makes her work 12 to 14 hour days. This was something created by each meal, something she used to have to figure this out. Before the pump, she would be exhausted but now she feels better.
Remember 13 years ago when University of Alberta developed a method to transplant the islet by injecting cells from a cadaverous pancreas into the recipients’ liver? At first there was a 10% chance the patients would be insulin free for five years. That rate of success has now gone up to 50%. They are now moving forward with three new trials for this islet transplantation. So far they have enough donors and a short waiting list for patients.