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Saturday, 2 January 2016

New year Cranks

My diabetes plan for 2016 is pretty simple: Try, try, and try again. Educate people, because I became very lax about this last year. 

No sooner had the New Year rung in when ,yep, another crackpot cure pops up in the mainstream media. Please guys, leave these so called 'cures' in the dark ages of 2015 where they belong. There is a reason that we no longer use medieval medicinal techniques. 

So today's farce of a cure? I'm just going to say one word. Herbal.

Teucrium (or Golden Germander), to be exact. The one that happens to be banned for herbal use in several European countries because of it's toxicity...causing heart disease and liver failure among many other pleasant side effects. But never mind that! Because media wants you to know that some herbologist thinks that it might have glucose lowering properties. So we obviously NEED to have a news story, entirely about its use in Type 1 Diabetes. The sad thing is, it was picked up by a lot of Type 1 Diabetics, some of whom I know. People who can usually smell bullpoop a mile away when the word cure is used loosely with the generalised term 'diabetes'...but haven't this time because the entire story was focused on use in Type 1. Friends actually shared this story with me. It was very awkward. There's no polite way to tell people that, even though you know it comes from a place of caring, that they should probably just ask your opinion instead so they can understand why you don't particularly support ideas like this.

News stations should really look at implementing some sort of New Years Resolution to actually do some research and think about who their stories are hurting before they cast them out to the masses. Masses aren't typically very smart. Herd mentality just leads them around in circles, bleating the same useless pseudo-science at each other, until someone becomes convinced and they die.

So the basic gist of it is: Channel 9 picked up on some research going on at Curtin University (note to self: my children will not be allowed to attend this university) that looks at using an extract of Teucrium in pill form as a glucose lowering agent. The researcher basically describes insulin as the devil.  "Unfortunately, insulin injections are not only invasive but can be very dangerous for the user as the exact amount to be injected varies depending on the individual and the meal they consume (not set amount each time)." Yes. Exactly. The amount that needs to be taken is quite variable person to person. Please explain how a pill hopes to keep up with this, I'm very keen to know. You CANNOT vary a pill when you are sick, or stressed, or have exercised more, or your cold or hot or if you wore an itchy orange sweater vest.

Needles aren't the funnest of things, that is true. They do however, keep me alive. You know what's more dangerous than injecting insulin? Not injecting it. I hear being dead can be quite dangerous if you want to continue living. 

Insulin is not the enemy, so stop demonizing it for doing its job and allowing your body to absorb sugar. I am gosh-darn grateful that I have the privilege of sticking a a needle into myself so that I can live. It also happens to be insulin that my body is no longer creating. Not herbs (maybe I missed this in biology). So it just makes sense to me that I continue to replace lost insulin with well...insulin. 

So they plan to extract parts of this herb to pop in a pill. The issues presented so far are: that the solution they have come up with lasts for only half and hour. I like sleep. Blissful, unbroken sleep. I don't even think new parents get up every half an hour. 24 hour insulin with extra shots at mealtimes win hands down. 

The next issue is that the herb works by enhancing insulin production. Type 1 diabetes = no insulin production. No matter how many times you do the maths, 8 x 0 always equals 0. You can't enhance something that doesn't exist.  

At this stage they don't know how the extract works. They don't know the active chemicals. They've done some rudimentary tests on rats who were given diabetes by engineering. It's not the same thing. 

From now on, I'd like to see media attention given to actual accomplishments. When you run 5 minute slots on pseudo-science and crazy hippies who think herbs are going to save the world from Diabetes, you are holding back real research. From real scientists. Who have evidence. And have made stuff that actually helps people with diabetes to live long, happy and healthy lives.  (CGM <3, Pumps <3, insulin! <3 <3 <3). 

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