2011: The Diabetes Year Review

The New Year is just around the corner, so as per tradition, we’re reviewing all of the things that have made 2011 a year to consider from the diabetes world and here at the ‘Mine.

We’ve had some big moments in tech as the FDA eventually accepted some progressive stuff. There were some amazing times using our blogging compatriots IRL (that is Internet-speak to get “in real life”). And there were some milestones of us both professionally and personally.

Here’s a look at what we believe stands out in 2011:


We rang in the New Year with some news from our side: DiabetesMine became part of the Alliance Health Networks family. I took about the new role of Vice President of Patient Advocacy as well as Editor-in-Chief of DiabetesMine. Allison formally joined the staff of the ‘Mine as Assistant Editor.

Fresh from the experience of a lifetime, Amazing Race winner Nat Strand chatted with us about what it requires to travel around the planet with diabetes!

I also discussed the nitty-gritty of inhaled insulin with Dance Pharmaceuticals CEO, John Patton. He is a veteran of the unsuccessful Exubera team, also is on a mission.

We found our show on diabetes issues with a look at diabetic retinopathy (no pun intended!) . We’ve since followed up with 411’s about heart disorder, gum disorder, neuropathy, gastroparesis, depression and maybe even suspended shoulder. Not to bum you all out, but for us PWDs to understand this stuff is important.


Allison coated the JDRF Research Summit in Washington, D.C., where upgrades about the artificial pancreas, the immune system, and prevention of diabetes were discussed. Allison also interviewed Dr. Ed Damiano about the Artificial Pancreas Project.

JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer publicly discussed the organization’s new leadership, setting off a firestorm of controversy. Some people were rather mad that JDRF is no more focused solely on cure research, but we have been applaud the work they are doing in creating technologies which can help patients live much better today. Allison shared her private feelings and struggles in hoping to get a cure.

We were very excited to talk about an inspiring guest post from a U.S. Marine who refused to give up his dream of serving his country when he was diagnosed with diabetes.

Dr. Denise Faustman, among the most contentious yet admired investigators, sat down to get a video conversation with us about the latest improvements within her innovative research to treat diabetes. She gave us a tour of her laboratory.


We kicked off the 2011 DiabetesMine Design Challenge, our yearly online contest to promote creative new instruments for improving life with diabetes.

Speaking of invention, Allison took us on a yearlong excursion of an artificial pancreas clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital, headed by co-investigator Dr. Ed Damiano.

Allison also traveled to Washington, D.C., using a delegation of bloggers to get JDRF’s Government Day to talk about social media with the JDRF grassroots advocacy leaders from around the Nation, meet with Members of Congress on the Hill, also have a briefing with Jeffrey Brewer. Really trendy!

At the ‘Mine, we found our newest Weekend Edition, today featuring a wonderful roster of cartoonists and a very quirky, useful and fun advice column out of D-author and community educator, Wil Dubois. We adore you, Wil!


Allison and I traveled to Los Angeles to take part in the first-ever Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum, where we discussed our thoughts on social media and patient community needs, and also heard about some fresh Medtronic offerings (like the MyMedtronic Connect iPhone program), also toured the facilities where they produce the Medtronic CGM sensors. That last piece was fairly eye-opening.

We also researched some interesting rumors we had heard in LA about progressive products currently only available in Europe: the Medtronic Enlite sensors and also the Animas Vibe insulin pump.

At the same company burgeoning ahead to bring innovation to the diabetes marketplace: CellNovo, we took a peek in the midst of our Layout Challenge. CEO Bill McKeon discussed their sleek new insulin pump inspired by the iPhone.


I flew to Las Vegas to get a keynote address to Sanofi Aventis’ A1c Champions national assembly, where I was able to provide these inspirational speakers a pep talk about the Diabetes Online Community! What a fantastic set of grassroots advocates the Champions are.

DiabetesSisters’ semi-annual Weekend for Women conference took place in Raleigh, NC, and Allison had the chance to attend. She shared with the tales of many “sisters” who found inspiration and hope by simply spending some time with other girls with diabetes.

We engaged in Karen Graffeo’s Diabetes Blog Week, where we discussed that which we admire about the DOC’s diversity, a heartfelt letter to a former endocrinologist, also 10 things we hate about diabetes.

JDRF announced a partnership with Amylin to examine the combination of insulin and symlin, something we’re sure people who dislike several daily shots (and who does not?) If they can find the formula to 10, will love!

JDRF’s NYC Chapter hosted a day with Dr. Sanjoy Dutta, the Director of Glucose Control Therapies at JDRF. He spoke JDRF’s Insulin Initiative, a program to research the way to make insulin work faster and much better, which will help blood glucose control in the long run, of course.

D-Mom and super advocate Moira McCarthy Stanford composed a touching guest post about handling her teen daughter’s rhetoric against her advice on how other parents can prevent the exact same heartache. This post was rather controversial.


We were thrilled to announce the winners of the 2011 DiabetesMine Design Challenge. What an honour to be able to share the amazing talent we discovered throughout the process!

Nevermind taking the summer off: June marked the commencement of our conference-circuit tour. We were eager to reunite with our friends for the third yearly Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit.

This was followed by the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions. This enormous yearly conference was a small light on breakthrough products this season, largely because so much has been backed up awaiting FDA approval. Grrr… However there were still a few succulent statements, including research demonstrating increased life expectancy for PWDs, new advances from the Artificial Pancreas Project, and a CGM trial in children and teens.

We were honored to feature the story of Bob Krause, the longest-living individual with diabetes! Bob has had diabetes for 85 decades and is doing good. We were also thrilled to meet with Bob in person in San Diego at a Joslin reception at the ADA Scientific Sessions:

Plus, we both stepped in front of a Flip camera to take part in Kim Vlasnik’s You Can Do This! Job. Allison and I made our own home made video donation.


July was a significant month for Allison… she got married!

And while she was on her honeymoon and that I took my annual family trip to Germany, we had some totally amazing folks stop by to offer guest articles:

    We also printed three interviews in the diabetes area with some key leaders:


      We struck Las Vegas for the American Association of Diabetes Educator’s Annual Conference, where David Edelman, Manny Hernandez, Hope Warshaw and that I spoke to a crowded room of diabetes educators about the energy of the DOC! Talk about your advocacy opportunities — woohoo!

      Afterwards at the AADE seminar, got the inside scoop on what educators are saying for their patients, and also we have a closer look at the brand new Spring Universal infusion set.

      Scandal rocked the DOC using the discovery the insulin pumps could be murdered! Not only that, but the guy who discovered this is really a pump-wearing PWD himself, who also began some some tenuous back-and-forth involving himself and the pump maker, later demonstrated to be Medtronic Diabetes. The hacker wasn’t convinced they took the problem although Medtronic asserts they are investigating the issue. Seconds after, articles on insulin pump hacking are still cropping up in the information…


      We started September with the 2nd yearly Diabetes Art Day, the brainchild of art therapist and activist Lee Ann Thill, who helped us to work out a number of our diabetes frustrations in the form of creative expression.

      September was a large month for us at the ‘Mine, as we hosted our first-ever DiabetesMine Innovation Summit, bringing together in 1 room pharma product experts, entrepreneurs, designers, VCs, empowered patients and our competition winners. The resulting interactions were nothing short of revolutionary!

      Then diabetes innovation came knocking front entrance in the kind of a test drive of the brand new iBGStar glucose meter, which plugs directly into an iPhone or iTouch.

      But progress still floundered as the FDA continued to grapple with the way to create the Medtronic VEO — a product currently accessible 40 other nations — accessible from the U.S. using its powerful low-glucose freeze feature. Geez, in the very short-term insulin is far riskier than not enough!

      The UN Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases took place, Together with a rally in Central Park. But not without quite a bit of headache before and not nearly enough commitment during and after, at least based on the people who attended. Ann Keeling, CEO of the International Diabetes Federation, gave us her comments about the outcomes of the Summit.

      We also checked out , from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, a new social media and counterpart to the new type 1 diabetes national registry they are constructing. Great things have been in the works there.


      In October, Allison traveled to Kansas City, MO, for among the biggest (and maybe best?) Diabetes meet-ups actually! Simon, a PWD from Australia, traveled half way across the globe for a “North American tour” that coated Los Angeles, Kansas City, and New York. In case you’re bummed that you missed out, we hear he’s coming back in 2012 to get the Friends of CWD for Life convention!

      Brilliant minds in diabetes research convened in San Diego for TEDxDelMar, the first-ever satellite TED conference focusing on the hunt for a cure.

      Mid-October brought us LADA Awareness Week, a campaign dedicated to increasing awareness about a kind of type 1 diabetes. Close to my heart, this is! The appropriate definition of LADA is somewhat hard to pin down, so that I queried some top experts to learn what they believe.

      We took a peek at some of the numerous new diabetes iPhone programs, for example, new Glooko program, which permits you to upload your blood glucose readings to your cellphone with a simple USB cable for easy logging.

      Getting a deal on blood sugars was a top priority for Allison, who shared her thoughts and worries on pregnancy and diabetes (it is all about going, right?) .


      November is a HUGE month to the diabetes community… but it goes relatively unnoticed by most of the world. In hopes of changing that, we found our own Unite Behind the Blue Circle Campaign. Our request for ADA, JDRF, and AADE to reluctantly utilize the Blue Circle to combine the diabetes community obtained over 3,000 signatures!

      JDRF also rang in November with the launch of the T1 Day and a shocking newspaper ad in TheNew York Times and The Washington Post saying that 1 in 20 individuals with diabetes will die from a low blood glucose. They’re not the only federal advocacy org utilizing stats to scare up support, and Jeffrey Brewer stands supporting the transfer.

      We also engaged in the 7th yearly DBlog Day, this season breaking out the glue and scissors to make a commemorative scrapbook page.

      November 14 was the fifth annual UN-recognized World Diabetes Day and we observed here at the ‘Mine by taking a look at the previous five decades of World Diabetes Day. We’ve come a long way, Baby.

      Allison was available in NYC with her video camera willing to welcome members of Team Form 1 later the country. Not kidding!

      Significant diabetes tech news broke when the FDA accepted Tandem’s new slick t:slim insulin pump, using an iPhone-like layout. Suddenly, the FDA seemed on a roll — as they also accepted the iGlucose, a system that wireless transmits blood sugars to a control system, also Medtronic Minimed’s iPro CGM, a new constant monitor that physicians can contribute to patients.

      Nevertheless, we still have issues with progress at the FDA, also that I expected to gain some insight at a JDRF breakfast FDA reform held in Silicon Valley. Thumbs sideways.

      We closed out with two giveaways:

      • We interviewed PWD chef hottie Sam Talbot and gave off a copy of his newest cookbook, The Sweet Life.
      • We honored all our vocal readers with our 20,000 Voices Giveaway, to mark our 20,000th comment here at the ‘Mine and all of the amazing people out there who make our work worthwhile!


        The FDA came in a major way with the approval of the iBGStar glucose meter, the very first and only meter that directly plugs into an iPhone! This bodes well for integration of health / medical devices with customer technology.

      The FDA also released its advice on the Artificial Pancreas, also JDRF seemed pleased with what they watched originally; we’re waiting to see how it all plays out.

      Lifescan also released their OneTouch Verio glucose meter (in Canada), the first-ever meter compared to may alert you to trends. We have some excellent user comments.

      I was very pleased to be featured in the new anthology, My Sweet Life, a fresh publication of essays out of two dozen girls living successfully with diabetes. Shout-out to writer Dr. Bev!

      Allison’s husband chimed in with his thoughts about being the life partner of a PWD. He is a keeper, I tell you!

      I chatted with Jenny Mackenzie, the successful filmmaker supporting SUGAR BABIES, a brand new educational documentary about four families living with diabetes.

      FOR 2012:

      Well… we’re crossing our fingers (and toes!) The events in November and December bode well for more amazing tools to pass from the year through FDA. In addition, we have more fun things our sleeves up here at the ‘Mine, as we aspire to create 2012 bigger and better than ever.

      As always, your input is more than welcome.

      Happy New Year, Folks!


      Amy + Allison

      Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


      This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content does not adhere to Healthline’s editorial instructions and isn’t clinically tested. For more information about Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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