Sunday, July 12, 2009

Diabetic? Join in a major test-off!

Diabetes is a systemic disease that most people have heard off, but do not fully understand. It is currently supposed to be affecting 24 million people in the United States, and similar numbers of people across the world. Most people with diabetes don't even know they are affected by it.

Folks with Diabetes need to regularly test their blood. This can be a painful process, and believe it or not, an entire industry has sprung up to help ease the pain. While that may be true, many diabetics are reluctant to test their blood sugar, or in general, adjust to life with diabetes.

Tu diabetes and Es tu Diabetes represented by and it's Spanish counterpart
are websites run by the Diabetes Hand Foundation , whose founders and Social Entrepreneurs Manny Hernandez and Andreina Hernandez are very good friends of mine.

This excellent idea for the web communities was born because Manny, who is a diabetic himself, found a huge gap for people with diabetes to communicate with others easily online. This community now allows diabetics to discuss everything from the disease to medicine, policy to diets and recipes and a lot in between as well! These twin communities, in English and Spanish span vast memberships across the Americas and continue to grow every day.

On July 14, 2009, based on an incredible brain flash of one of the members of the community, Tu Diabetes is hoping to have 10,000 people test their sugar at the same time on a single day and report their sugar readings online.

What will this achieve?

It is very important for diabetics, their family members, colleagues and friends to understand the importance of checking blood sugar on a regular basis.

What advantages does checking blood sugar provide?

I am no medical professional, but let me lay out a few things as someone whose family has seen enough of diabetes:

Diabetes is an autoimmune disease which results either in over-production of insulin (known as Type 1) and limited production of insulin (Type 2) in the body. Insulin controls how much sugar is available in the blood. Sugar is necessary for all life activities and is essentially our fuel.

Imbalance of sugar regulation can lead to various issues. Low sugar can lead to loss of energy, and sometimes lead to a fit. High blood sugar causes it's own set of problems. The long term effects of diabetes can lead to obesity and cardiovascular risk, and has been linked to many disease conditions

Do not be alarmed!

If you get yourself diagnosed properly, and manage to check your blood sugar regularly and manage a healthy lifestyle, diabetes can be well managed, and you can lead a very long healthy life.

Thus, it is very important for school nurses, office personnel, the police, other community service professionals, near and dear ones, friends and even acquaintances to understand your needs as a diabetic.

Knowing your blood sugar levels - ideally, you should test yourself 4 times a day, can help you know and understand your highs and lows, and allow you to plan and adjust to your body's insulin propensity.

So, please go to today or tell someone you know!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Blog Brief: Medical Technology Funding - relaying good news

I first saw this posted on the sfmedengineers group, and on searching, found out that Mediligence had this blog on medical technology funding. It appears that amidst all the bad news and coerced good news, medical device companies seem to be enjoying the cliched "green shoots".

Amidst shying VCs and dried up funding wells, $300mn for a month appears to be quite a sum for 2009. Hopefully, this also means there is some sanity to the ideas that are being funded. A cursory glance does show that it is not a bunch of stent companies that received money.

So, here's to hoping we are in for a period of rationality. One easy way to find out if irrationality has returned, obviously would be a good count of highly ambiguous device ideas, companies that don't even have device ideas, ideas or even an i, and of course, my favorite, stent companies.

Till then, let's hope we see some real medical needs be solved, as opposed to the future Madit-CRT in waitings. (Madit CRT - the act of "If at first you don't succeed or obtain a large population size, simply say everyone has a disease and implant a potentially volatile shock device close to their hearts".)

Here is the link to the companies that received funding in the past month: