One-day diabetes awareness festival attracts hundreds

AURANGABAD: Hundreds of people visited the ‘Madhumeha Anandnagari’ at the St Francis School ground here on Sunday. The event was aimed at creating awareness about diabetes and its complications and also to commemorate the World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Customized diet plans, diabetes management, sugar-free and oil-free cooking and a focus on effective detection of the disease in the early stages remained the crowd pullers at the fair, hosted by Udaan, a voluntary organisation working for the well-being of diabetic children.

The Anandnagari was inaugurated by television actor Anup Soni, along with deputy commissioner of police (zone-II) Arvind Chawria. The duo appealed to the people to take preventive measures before the lifestyle disease starts taking a toll on the health.

Noted chef Archana Atre from Mumbai gave a demo of over 10 oil-free and sugar-free nutritional dishes that could be easily cooked. The recipe books of the same were distributed by Udaan.

Chawria said, “I am a diabetic for about eight years. Initially I was reluctant in accepting it but gradually I brought the required discipline in my lifestyle and diet. Now, having a disciplined schedule makes me feel fitter than any of my non-diabetic colleagues.”

“The aim of the festival is to erase the fear of diabetes from the minds of people and create awareness in a joyful way to lead a healthy life. The focus of the fair is on detection of diabetes as early as possible and proper management for patients. There are stalls providing guidance on every aspect associated with it like a heart kiosk, exercise kiosk, etc,” said diabetologist Archana Sarda.

Sarda added that it was an attempt to spread awareness about the disease, which is fast spreading among the younger population and appealed to both the diabetics as well as non-diabetics to maintain a healthy lifestyle as cases of diabetes has been reported even in six-month-old babies.

Services such as measurement of blood glucose, blood pressure and body fat percentage, estimation of heart attack and stroke risk for diabetics, ECG, eye examination to detect diabetic retinopathy, were kept open at the fair. Street plays, games, tattoo making, bioscope watching, etc, were also arranged for visitors.

To bring awareness about the lifestyle disease, Udaan has conducted essay writing competitions on ‘Role of children and youth to control diabetes’ and ‘My dream – Diabetes-free India’ in about 140 schools, and around 300 students participated in the contest. Actor Soni judged the street plays for college students and awarded the best five winners.

“Often, people don’t realise the severity of diabetes and leave treatment after two or three months of the diagnosis, exposing themselves to various life threatening diseases. Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder, and stressful life together with unhealthy living is a major factor behind the huge diabetic population we have in our country,” Sarda said.

Coke and Pepsi Face Diabetes Backlash

Photo: Getty Images

Mayor Bloomberg’s thwarted soda ban hasn’t been forgotten. Coke and Pepsi are facing a new health-related challenge as doctors increasingly link their sugary beverages to debilitating illness, according to a critical new report by Wall Street bank Credit Suisse and research from Georgetown University, made available exclusively to Adweek.

Diabetes has supplanted obesity as the biggest threat to any brand hocking sugary beverages, according to Credit Suisse’s research. “We found that 90 percent of doctors in the United States, U.K. and Asia are convinced that excessive sugar consumption causes Type 2 diabetes,” said Stefano Natella, head of Global Equity Research at Credit Suisse. About 43 percent of added sugars in our diets come from sweetened beverages, per the report.

Put another way, the American Medical Association recommends that women have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day; a 12-ounce can of soda contains 8-10 teaspoons.

Until now, major soda brands have insisted that  soda—at about 150 calories a can—can be part of a healthy lifestyle for people who avoid overeating and stay active. Marketing efforts, such as Coke’s recent pro-heath ad “Live Like Grandpa Did,” focus on preventing obesity.

But when it comes to brand attitudes, consumers worry more about diabetes than they do about obesity, and many hold Coke and Pepsi responsible. A study by Georgetown University conducted last week showed that after people saw a sugary soda ad with a pro-exercise, anti-obesity message, almost all of them had a positive attitude toward the products’ parent brand. But when the ad was modified to be anti-diabetes, participants’ reactions became 37 percent more negative toward the parent brand, said researcher Ishani Banerji.

“People are not willing to punish the brand for obesity, which seems like a lifestyle problem. But diabetes is considered a disease, and many consumers see the parent brand as contributing to it,” even if the brand claims otherwise, said Kurt Carlson, a Georgetown marketing professor who oversaw the study.

Not surprisingly, Coke and Pepsi are careful to skip around the D-word in their health-related marketing. Instead, they emphasize that they are ramping up their no-sugar and low-sugar offerings and encourage fitness. “We offer a diverse portfolio of beverage choices to meet a range of consumer needs,” said a Pepsi rep. Coke is helping build 100 fitness centers in U.S. schools to promote physical activity, said a Coca-Cola rep. Both companies declined to say if they will address diabetes concerns in future marketing.

As the debate over sugar and diabetes intensifies, consumption of non-diet drinks will suffer, predicts the Credit Suisse report. Coke and Pepsi will certainly shift their messages and product development, said Tom Bernthal, CEO of brand consultancy Kelton Global. 

Ty Montague, co-founder of creative consultancy co: collective, said the pressure is on the beverage giants to “create stuff people want more than the core [high-sugar] soda products.”

Indeed, Pepsi launched a cola in Australia last year that replaces a third of the sugar with stevia, a natural, no-calorie sweetener. In June, Coke introduced its own low-sugar stevia product, Coca-Cola Life, in Argentina.

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The Magi and The Sleeping Star Offers A New Type of Diabetes Management

The Magi and The Sleeping Star is a Kickstarter campaign with a cause. In this fantasy adventure game by Game Equals Life, your hero will battle against ancient kings and robots, as well as a very real-word problem, type 1 diabetes.

Developer Adam Grantham is a game designer who has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 19 years. He’s always wanted to make a game that will help people better understand the disease, which is how he thought up the idea for The Magi and The Sleeping Star. If the game is funded, not only will it help people to learn about diabetes, but kids who have been newly diagnosed will finally have a hero to look up to.

“The Magi and The Sleeping Star is unlike any health game before,” explains Grantham on the Kickstarter page. “Rather than coming from the realms of medical research and academia, it comes straight from the game industry. I knew from the beginning that if the game wasn’t fun, it wasn’t going to be teaching anyone anything. So we designed a core game that was strong enough to stand alone as an exciting, evocative adventure.”

He goes on to discuss one of the game’s core mechanics, blood sugar balance. In order to be able to access all of your hero’s abilities, players will need to manage blood sugar levels. According to Grantham, the game isn’t about diabetes, instead it’s about a hero’s journey and that hero just happens to have the disease.

If you want to help bring The Magi and The Sleeping Star to life, check out the game’s Kickstarter campaign.

Leah B. Jackson is an Associate Editor at IGN. Feel free to follow her/send tips on Twitter and MyIGN.

Women with diabetes are at greater risk of death: Experts

More than 250 children and experts from city took part in the workshop and discussed the ways to curb diabetes.

Talking about diabetes, Dr Archana Sharda, diabetes expert from Aurangabad informed that diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in blood. Absence or insufficient production of insulin can also cause diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger and fatigue. Diabetes is diagnosed by blood sugar (glucose) testing.

Talking about the complications, Dr Brij Kishore said that acute complications of this disease are dangerously elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia), abnormally low blood sugar ( hypoglycemia). The disease affects blood vessels, which can damage feet, eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.

People suffering from diabetes are almost 50% more likely to have a heart attack.

Women with diabetes are at a greater risk of death than men. The experts said that the increase in prevalence of diabetes in the country is mainly due to factors such as unhealthy food habits, obesity due to lack of exercise and physical fitness, sedentary lifestyles, environmental degradation and its impact on endocrine system.

Dr Bhaskar Ganguli elaborated the importance of exercise for diabetics. He said that all type of exercise are good for diabetics but the aerobics is most affective.

The experts advised tips to the participants to control diabetes by not dieting but making healthier food choices. Regular exercises, quitting smoking and having healthy diet can keep diabetes at bay.

Battle of the bulge: US food corporations fueling obesity epidemic …



Reuters/Lucas Jackson

By 2030, more than half of Americans could be obese, taxing the nation’s health while costing the country $500 billion in lost economic productivity. The food industry, however, is doing its best to keep the public hooked – no matter what the price.

With one out of three adults clinically obese and 40 percent of
children officially overweight, the US is the fattest country in
the developed world. The burgeoning public health crisis will see
instances of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer skyrocket
over the next two decades, taking an already strained healthcare
system to breaking point.

But with food manufacturers keen on keeping customers loyal while
maximizing their profits, public health concerns are likely to be
dwarfed by the bottom line.


“What these food scientists have done is that they’ve gone to a
lab and they’ve created these chemical concoctions that are very
sweet, very fatty and very salty. And they call that the bliss
point. Meaning they’ve created addictive foods that are going to
get consumers hooked and they’re going to keep wanting to come
back for more and more foods,”
Elizabeth Kucinich, of
Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, told RT.

 

And while critics might also point toward issues of self-control,
the foods which are least healthy are also the cheapest, although
this reality is more a failure of government policy than an
inevitability.

In 1980, no one had even heard of high-fructose corn syrup. But
agricultural subsidies highly distorted market prices, bringing
about the rise of cheap corn, which is a staple of highly
processed foods like soft drinks and much of what one finds on
the supermarket shelves.

Between 1985 and 2010, the price of beverages sweetened with
high-fructose corn syrup fell 24 percent in real terms, with
American children consuming on average an extra 130 calories
daily from soft drinks.

If that wasn’t bad enough, a 2010 Princeton University study
found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained
substantially more weight than those with access to table sugar,
even if their overall caloric intake was equal.  

However, a plan by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to limit
soda drinking cups to 16 ounces, for example, was met with
derision, even when the public health benefits of such a ban were
obvious.

And it’s not just corn. Casein, a milk protein commonly used in
processed foods, also has addictive qualities that lead to
overeating.

“Milk protein… casein, when it breaks down in our digestive
system, turns into casomorphin, [which] is relative to morphine –
the drug,”
Kenneth Kendrick, a whistleblower and food safety
advocate, told RT. “It gives us a little stimulation in our
brain and gives us a little bit of pleasure.”

Kendrik said the reason why food in the US is both addictive and
laden with fat, sugar and salt is simple.  

“In one word, I would say: greed. We obviously are putting
money above public health,” he said. “Just like with cigarettes,
we want to keep people addicted. I equate it to what the
cigarette industry did. They deliberately wanted to put things in
that were addictive because that drives sales and will continue
to drive generations of sales.”

But as savvy and unrestrained marketing campaigns allow
corporations full rein to market their products to the US public,
the defeat of California’s Proposition 37, which would have
required the labeling of all food products containing genetically
modified organisms, proves that they want full control over the
narrative about what US consumers are putting into their bodies.

“While European countries require genetically modified foods
to be labelled, in the US the biotech industry and corporations
like Pepsi Co. and Coca Cola spent millions last year to defeat
the California ballot initiative for GMO genetically modified
organism labeling,”
Kucinich said.

It is this perfect storm of labeling control, addictive food
additives and shockingly effective marketing that has America on
course for an epidemic of monumental proportions.

What you need to know about diabetes

There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2 – but the one that is usually in the news because of its association with rising obesity rates in America is type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes: Previously called juvenile diabetes, type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In this type, the body does not produce insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy. Insulin, by shot or pump, must be started right away. Exercise and nutrition are also important in managing type 1 diabetes. It is caused by one’s immune system attacking and destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is thought to be caused genetic and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes: This type, which may be prevented through lifestyle changes in diet, weight loss and exercise, accounts for 90 percent to 95 percent of all diabetes cases in the U.S. It occurs when an indivdual’s body doesn’t make enough insulin or use it well. This results in “insulin resistance.” 

Diabetes can be diagnosed using three blood tests – fasting blood sugar test, hemoglobin A1C test and a glucose challenge test.

“Patients are often asymptomatic, but the risks associated with prediabetes and diabetes, like heart attack and stroke, are happening before the diagnosis,” said Dr. Scott Setzer, a family doctor in Lemoyne.

People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal – between 100 and 125 mg/dl – but not high enough to be called diabetes, the label given when fasting blood glucose is 126 mg/dl or higher. Sometimes, early treatment of prediabetes can return blood glucose levels to normal and prevent escalation to diabetes.

When they do present, symptoms include frequent thirst, extreme hunger, frequent urination as in every two hours, weight loss, blurred vision and fatigue, said Dr. Renu Joshi, medical director of endocrinology at PinnacleHealth System in Harrisburg.

Treatment can include lifestyle change in diet, exercise and weight loss, medications and insulin.

In the past several months, a new medication for type 2 diabetes called Invokana (generically called canagliflozin) was introduced that works by making blood sugar come out in the urine, Joshi said. It holds promise, but it can cause thirst, frequent urination and yeast infections. Patients must have completely normal kidney function to be able to take it, she said.

Get tested

The American Diabetes Association has set these guidelines for diabetes screening:

  • Anyone with a body mass index higher than 25, regardless of age, who has additional risk factors, such as high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, having delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds, a history of diabetes in pregnancy, high cholesterol levels, a history of heart disease, or having a close relative with diabetes.
  • Anyone older than age 45 is advised to receive an initial blood sugar screening, and then, if the results are normal, to be screened every three years thereafter. 

Obesity experts appalled by EU move to approve health claim for …

Obesity experts say they are appalled by an EU decision to allow a “health claim” for fructose, the sweetener implicated in the disastrous upsurge in weight in the US.

Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is used in Coca-Cola, Pepsi and other sweetened US drinks. Many believe the use of high-fructose corn syrup caused obesity to rise faster in the US than elsewhere in the world. Europe has largely used cane and beet sugar instead.

But the EU has now ruled that food and drink manufacturers can claim their sweetened products are healthier if they replace more than 30% of the glucose and sucrose they contain with fructose.

The decision was taken on the advice of the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), on the grounds that fructose has a lower glycaemic index (GI) – it does not cause as high and rapid a blood sugar spike as sucrose or glucose.

But, say obesity experts, fructose is metabolised differently from other sugars – it goes straight to the liver and unprocessed excess is stored there as fat, building up deposits that can cause life-threatening disease.

There is potential for products high in sugar including soft drinks, cereal bars and low-fat yoghurts to make health claims by using fructose. Lucozade Original contains 33g of sugar in a 380ml bottle, Sprite has 21.8g of sugar in 330ml cans and Dr  Pepper 34.1g per 330ml.

Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Elevenses bars have 18g of sugar in a 45g bar – so are more than a third sugar.

Barry Popkin – distinguished professor in the department of public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the US, who co-authored the groundbreaking paper linking high-fructose corn syrup to obesity in 2003 – said the ruling would lead to claims from food and drink firms that would mislead consumers.

“This claim is so narrow and it will confuse a whole lot of people,” he said. “That’s what the industry does an awful lot of. People see it and think, ‘ah maybe it’s healthy.’

“It brings into question the whole area of health claims. They are made on such short-term effects.”

Drinking pomegranate juice might give you all the vitamin C and antioxidants you need that day, but six months of regular drinking could raise the risk of diabetes, he said.

A health claim relating to a lower glycaemic index ignored the wider and more important public health issue, he said: that we should all consume less fructose and other sugars.

George Bray, head of the division of clinical obesity and metabolism at the Pennington biomedical research centre in Louisiana and co-author of the fructose paper, said he could see no rational reason for adding pure fructose to the diet.

“Assuming that it is correct that manufacturers can substitute up to 30% fructose for glucose or sucrose, it would be a very sad commentary on their review of the literature,” he said.

“The quantity of fructose appearing in the diet is already excessive in my view. [Focusing on the fact that] fructose does not raise glucose as much ignores all of the detrimental effects of fructose from whatever source.”

Michael Goran, director of childhood obesity research at the University of Southern California, said that although it had a lower GI, “in the long term, excess fructose is more damaging metabolically for the body than other sugars”.

He added: “This opens the door for the beverage and food industry to start replacing sucrose with fructose, which is presumably cheaper.”

More people in Europe will be consuming more fructose as a result, he said. “This is a dangerous and problematic issue. There is going to be a big increase in fructose exposure.”

The European Heart Network raised concerns with DG Sanco, the European commission’s health department, and asked it to share its views with member states. Its director, Susanne Logstrup, warned that replacing glucose and sucrose with “healthier” fructose might make people think a drink or food was less fattening.

“If the replacement of glucose/sucrose is not isocaloric, replacement could lead to a higher caloric content. In the EU, the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is generally too high and it would not be in the interest of public health if intake were to increase,” she said.

Professor Mike Rayner, director of the British Heart Foundation health promotion research group at Oxford University and an adviser to the European Heart Network, said it was important the EU looked at nutritional health claims – and that it had in recent years taken a tougher stance.

“But here is an example in fructose of a claim that is technically probably true but has no public health benefit,” he said.

Industry is delighted by the EU ruling. Galam Group, an Israeli fructose manufacturer, called the move “a game-changing step” in comments to the trade journal Nutra Ingredients. It said it expected a surge in sales from 2 January, when the ruling takes effect.

Obesity grips Australia: research shows 40% of adults are …

The obesity crisis in Australia is far worse than experts thought, with new evidence showing 40% of adults are dangerously fat.

The new figures are based on the waist circumferences of 11,000 people who were tracked for 12 years in the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute’s AusDiab study.

Previous estimates using body mass index were 25%.

“The results surprised us,” associate professor Anna Peeters, president of the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society, said.

When measured around the waist, a man should not be more than 102cm and a woman 88cm, said Peeters, who will present the findings at the society’s scientific meeting in Melbourne on Thursday.

She is pleased about growing government momentum against obesity, but says parents need more support.

“It is important to intervene early in life. We need good programmes for parents from before their children are born.”

A lot could be learnt from the US, which had decreased childhood obesity.

A minority of Australian schools adhered to dietary guidelines, she said, and workplaces should revise their catering and what was allowed in their vending machines.

Obesity was a condition of an inactive, affluent society that consumed in excess, said Peeters, who is head of obesity and population health at Baker IDI.

However, people of lower education and income living in rural areas were most at risk because energy-dense, nutrient-poor food was relatively cheap.

“People don’t need to be thinking too much about weight loss when they are a little overweight, but they do need to be thinking about preventing weight gain,” she said.

“If you are a little overweight at 30, you are likely to be quite overweight by 50.”

One way to avoid children growing up to be obese was to limit sugar intake, said associate professor Tim Gill, of the University of Sydney, who will chair a session at the conference.

“We are burning so few calories that every calorie we eat needs to come from nutritious food,” he said.

Active children should be allowed two small treats a day at most, he said.

The biggest problem was sugary drinks, which should be limited to one glass a week.

“People are not aware how much sugar they are eating. A can of soft drink has eight to ten spoons of sugar, but children and teenagers typically drink double that in a serve. Foods that contain a lot of added sugar contribute little nutrition, but a lot of calories,” he said.

Step out this Saturday and walk to stop diabetes at Waterfront Park

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — This Saturday morning, thousands of people will walk at Waterfront Park to stop diabetes. For the sixth year I’ll be there as WHAS11 sponsors this great family event.

It’s a disease striking 400,000 Kentuckians and is hitting people of so many ages, that diabetes specialists say they are overwhelmed with patients.

A diabetic must think about everything they eat and how that will affect their body, requiring even young people to figure out quickly, how they will cope.

At 14 Caleb Williams, a freshman at Eastern High School, is a standout. 

You can point to many things as to why but if you ask his parents they’ll tell you right away his attitude.

“He doesn’t complain. He does not complain about having to do it,” Amanda Jacobs, Caleb’s mom, said.

Caleb’s been dealing with type one diabetes since sixth grade.

“I think he’s doing wonderful job. Caleb is always positive never complaining. Never says why is it me? I have to deal with this,” Travis Williams, Caleb’s father, said.

Caleb said he was stunned when he learned about this diagnosis.

“I didn’t know how to accept it at first, but I learned quickly,” Caleb said.

Did he ever; Checking blood sugar levels is what he lives with each day of his life.

“These are my strips. I just get one and put it in my meter and you push this,” Caleb said as he pricks his finger.

“Then I just touch this. It’ll come up on the screen…160. OK, so it’s a little high but not bad. I feel good,” Caleb said.

Normal blood sugar levels for people without diabetes range from 70-130.

Being type one means Caleb’s pancreas no longer produces any insulin. Insulin essentially breaks down food and keeping your energy levels consistent.

It’s the see-saw life of a type one diabetic and it requires constant checking. Amanda Jacobs is thankful that Caleb is taking charge.

“It’s so hard to think about a 14-year-old having to give themselves insulin for everything that you eat,” Amanda Jacobs said.

So how does he get insulin so crucial for survival?

He injects it several times a day, with a device called the NovoPen that he carries everywhere.

“According to what I’m eating I’ll turn the dial and then insert it into my arm and push it down, my arm or stomach area,”

Travis Williams, Caleb’s dad, says diabetes runs in his family telling me his family members didn’t take care of it or treat it well.

“Just the long term effects; getting him to understand it’s not about right now it’s about 5-15 years from now,” Williams said.

A hard sell to a 14-year-old who is on the run but fortunately for Caleb and his parents, this diabetic is smart about his future.

“I just haven’t let it get to me and I’ve taken care of myself pretty well,” Caleb said. “I hope someday there will be a cure.”

This is more than a walk. The event offers free vision and blood sugar screenings plus vendors with the latest diabetes technology.

WHAS11 is proud to support the Step Out: The Walk to Stop Diabetes. It’s a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. It is this Saturday; registration at 9 a.m., the walk begins at 10 a.m. You can find us on the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park.

For more information on the walk and to register, call this local toll free number 1-888-diabetes ext: 3317.
 

Innovative technologies to manage diabetes better

Many health care solutions today, increasingly, ride on the technology train.

The pills and syringes, devices are still there, sometimes, but now have the ability to do their task faster, better, with greater sophistication, and least intrusion. That’s the way medicine is heading, and certainly in diabetes care.

An expert sitting at the very cusp where healthcare and technology have begun to work together, Satish Kumar Garg, the editor-in-chief, Journal of Diabetes Technology Therapeutics, talks to The Hindu on emerging technologies in diabetes care. He was in Chennai to deliver the 22nd Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialties Centre Gold Medal Oration.

Real problem

“The real problem today,” he begins, “when we manage patients with diabetes is hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. If we can take that one hurdle away, we can manage diabetes better.”

How does one reduce hypoglycaemia? “One way is to come up with new insulins that will limit low blood sugar conditions. There are some of these insulins that have already been approved in India and Europe, but not yet in the U.S. These are more reliable; they limit hypoglycaemia; effectively control blood glucose; and even help patients shed weight.” But here’s how technology gets a play here. “We ask people to check blood sugars two, three times a day, but what do they do with this. Now, it is possible to have metres that can provide advisories to the patient,” he says.

The moment they check their sugar, this data will show up on the iPhone. The phone has already mapped out their dosage, and based on their blood glucose, the phone will advice them on how much insulin to take.

“Now, if you can check your blood glucose continuously, it will reinforce for patients their actions: what dosage to take, should they eat more or less. This helps improve care.”

When patients start taking the right amount of oral drugs/insulin, this will reduce their glucose excursions both on the high and low end, data has shown.

Insulin pumps

Insulin pumps, very popular in the United States, indicate another way in which technology has come to the aid of the patient. There are over half a million people in the U.S. using insulin pumps, and data clearly shows that those using these devices have better glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C) levels and lower hypoglycaemia. This is because insulin is sent in smaller doses, not a large dose as when one takes insulin shot.

Since it is smart to marry relevant technologies to take on complex tasks; that is precisely what is happening in diabetes research as well. The culmination of that would be, naturally, replacing the human pancreas (which produces insulin) with an artificial one. Work is already on for this.

Dr. Garg predicts that the truly artificial pancreas will be complete in five years.

The artificial pancreas is actually a combination of the insulin pump and sensor. The part that has been approved so far, does the task of keeping a watch on the blood glucose, and when it senses a drop, it immediately sends a message to the pump to suspend insulin supply. This way, patients can avoid episodes of hypoglycaemia. The second innovation is for the sensor to tell the pump to speed up when sugars are high, but this is yet to be approved.

The third innovation already being contemplated is to use predictive algorithms to prevent hypoglycaemia events before they occur. “When we inject insulin, there is a delay in onset of action, for about 30 to 40 minutes. The sensor will know your glucose trends, so if it reads your glucose level at 110 mg, and it can predict that if you don’t act in the next half-hour, you are going down to 60 mg, and drop to hypoglycaemia,” he explains.

Missing part

If these innovations are also approved, then the only part that will be missing is glucagon. Dr. Garg says. “Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to increase blood sugar levels. The artificial pancreas cannot do this as yet, but it will be a matter of time, I guess.”

Just as is the norm, technology which starts out expensive, will become cost-effective eventually. “It will make things easier for the patient. Imagine if he can control everything with his mobile phone. But the issue now is whether we can put this data on the cloud.”

Flip side

The problem with putting all this information on the cloud is leaving all of it open to those who can hack into it. “If someone hacks into the cloud, and we do have some crazy people, then, he can hack into your pump and increase the insulin dosage.”