Our Changing Diabetes World…….We are no Longer in Kansas.

As I walked through the Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association’s 78th meetings and exhibit hall I can only think that when we started this journey in 1992, never did I think we would be where we are today.  Both ideal management tools and research science looking to cure this disease seems to be at an all time high.  Twenty different posters/discussion talking about immunology and transplantation (cure searches); more new products than I have ever witnessed (treatment), and so many NOW interested into the psyche of diabetes.

We truly are no longer in Kansas.

Years ago there were huge players in this space and most of them were selling, improving, and touting the latest and greatest in the world of blood glucose meters. You could not walk five feet without a sales rep meeting you in the aisle and inviting you into their booth to ‘show off’.  This weekend, I had to actually look for these companies.  No doubt about it, the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) is here; and will in the not-too-distant future be the norm for checking one’s blood sugar.

One comes out with a non-calibrating CGM, another follows. One comes out with ‘a better’, smarter insulin, another follows.  And underneath it all, so many are speaking with the knowledge that Amazon and Google are definitely at the trade show and absolutely in stealth mode.  Once they come onto the market, the diabetes market will be changed, once again, forever because they will come with whatever they come with done and ready to go.  Both of these companies have the money in their R&D that they do not need to sell anyone on anything “in the works”, they will come with a full-blown market sweep once they enter the diabetes world……whatever that may look like, no one knows.  But many say it’s coming.

This is all good for those of who us are parents, or more importantly those who have diabetes, and will see the results of this market crunch to be the best, the first, and/or the elimination of competitors in a product world that has become so hugely and technologically advanced,
Some tidbits:
>The new implantable glucose sensing machine is indeed an implantable chip that is easily inserted under the skin, but one must still wear a transmitter attached with removable tape, placed over the ‘under-skin’ planted device-to send the data…..so it is not as if you are eliminating wearing a device.  But to be fair and clear, the transmitter comes off and goes on very easily: it’s called Eversense, made by a company called Senseonics.
>Much concern on the psyche of diabetes in kids over the contact and connection of parents to their kids with various electronic devices.  Parents need to set boundaries because the kids will rebel (and are) because of the constant monitoring of a child’s every move.  This is a growing concern.
>Apps.  Oh my.  The world of diabetes Apps is growing and growing and every one of them swears that the patient will be better in control and their A1C will be reduced merely by using the APP being hawked.  One exception to the mass race of the app world  is BlueLoop.  Actually created by a mom of a child with T1D, it surely will be useful for parents and schools.  That said, as useful as it can be and is to personal use, it is, and should become, an ABSOLUTE “MUST HAVE’ of every camp in the country. It most assuredly will lessen a huge paper workload and time-consuming aspect of diabetes camping, and at the same time allow medical professionals to be called upon if/as needed.  If you have anything to do with a camp whatsoever, run….do not walk…..to their site and arrange a call or a meeting.  BlueLoop is a game changer.

So there will be more in the weeks to come, including a sit down interview with Dexcom’s President and CEO, Kevin Sayer,  But for now, realize that the discovery of insulin is less than a hundred years ago.  The ADA has done an incredible job of bringing the entire world to one place in Orlando this week.  I know all of these better management tools and the all elusive biological cure is not coming fast enough for any of us; but not being in Kansas and landing in a tornado of diabetes, I can tell you that I have seen a bit of OZ and the Emerald City is indeed getting closer in better management and biological cure efforts.  We all just need to continue with the courage, brains, and heart to cross that field of poppies.
I am a diabetes dad.
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