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January 23, 2006

Other, Research: Other Research

Question from Arlington, Virginia, USA:

My beautiful three year old little girl was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I am devastated and in need of some hope. Can you offer any thoughts on new/upcoming products/techniques such as non-invasive testing/insulin administration, and speculation as to whether you think this disease will be cured and if so, the most general idea of when?

Answer:

In September 1989, my two year old daughter, Marissa, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, so I understand well what you are feeling. Let me first say that a diagnosis of diabetes should not be viewed as devastating. Given the standards of care available today, there is no reason that your daughter should not live a long and wonderful life. And, there is no reason that she should not be able to do anything that she wants to do. With today’s fast-acting insulin analogs, insulin pumps, long-acting analogs, 5-second glucose monitoring, and the prospect of continuous, alarming, minimally invasive sensing just around the corner, there is every reason to be very optimistic.

As for a cure, every year since my daughter was diagnosed I’ve heard that there will be a cure in ten years. I still hear that today from some people, though more feel that a cure is much more complicated than previously imagined and that it may be many more years away, if at all, for people already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This is not meant to discourage you, for I remain very optimistic about my daughter’s future, regardless of whether a true cure is found. Scientists and doctors from around the world are working hard to find a cure using a variety of techniques. Many are also working on better therapies, such as continuous sensing and drug treatments to prevent or reverse complications.

The best advice I can offer you and your family is to realize that while your life has changed, your life’s goals and plans need not. It may just take a little more planning.

JSH

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