Well, we all made through another year!
Surprised we got through this one? Especially with that purported Mayan prediction about the world ending on Dec. 21, 2012? Well, we're still here! Predictions of doom were apparently exaggerated... Perhaps the premonitions were of something "magical" that was supposed to happen, so we were crossing our fingers for a cure being discovered or the FDA approving the best-ever fantasy diabetes device... or somesuch.
But short of that mystical happening, though, this has been an exciting year! Here are some of the highlights we that stand out for us as we look back on the past 12 months -- from personal milestones for our 'Mine team and many members of the Diabetes Online Community, to new products unveiled, to changes among the diabetes industry and policy-makers.
What a 2012 it's been!
The year began with the loooong-awaited MySentry device by Medtronic finally getting FDA approval, allowing a parent or caregiver or PWD (person with diabetes) to monitor their night-time blood sugars from an alarm-clock styled device that synchs with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Amy explored the mystery behind nutrition labels, and we were shocked to learn what the FDA doesn't do in regulating these labels that are so important for carb-counting PWDs -- and for anyone trying to watch what they eat.
News came out that famous butter-and-cream Southern supreme chef Paula Deen has been living with type 2 diabetes, and we analyzed the mistakes and opportunities of her belated public announcement. Later, we interviewed her about the news and how it's impacted her life and cooking. With her sticky-sweet communication style, her sincerity with all this was definitely called into question...
Amy attended the huge-mongous Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that takes place in Las Vegas every year, and saw some exciting new D-tech and health gadgets on display, including a preview of the Dexcom Gen5 and the iHealth meter for iPhone or iTouch, first of many knock-offs of the iBGStar device?
We hosted the enthusiastic director of international operations for the Virginia-based non-profit AYUDA (American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad), Merith Basey, who shared a powerful guest post on diabetes in the developing world. (Hint: it's not pretty.)
We launched a new Amazing Diabetes Advocates Series, beginning with D-Advocate extraordinaire Cherise Shockley, founder of the weekly Twitter discussion #DSMA and the non-profit Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation. She leads the way!
Putting on his correspondent hat, our own Wil Dubois examined health insurance for pre-existing conditions, and how a temporary federal program is changing the coverage game.
Amy shared insights about innovation and how DiabetesMine's work is influencing the industry and key D-Device players.
Bydureon hits the scene, getting the FDA's approval as the first and only once-a-week drug to help people with type 2 keep their BGs in check. Is it really "changing the paradigm" for type 2 diabetes care?
We chatted with Charles "Chip" Zimliki, a biologist and fellow type 1 who at the time headed up the FDA's Artificial Pancreas division. Above all, he encouraged patients to get involved by giving feedback.
We had the honor of talking with famous endo Dr. Fred Whitehouse in Detroit, who's done everything from intern with the legendary Dr. Elliot Joslin, to head up the American Diabetes Association in the '70s, to treating a woman with diabetes who was one of the first type 1 patients in the U.S. to ever use insulin back in the '20s!
Current ADA CEO Larry Hausner talked with us about the organization's strategy for the next few years, along with ADA's views on hot topics like Paula Deen's diagnosis, promotion of the Blue Circle as the international symbol for diabetes advocacy, and how adults with type 1 are being represented (or not) by the ADA.
Allison trekked to the South by Southwest conference (SXSW) in Austin, TX, and participated in a panel discussion called Friending Pharma, which focused on the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and patients. People don't trust institutions; people trust people, right?
Two of the biggest diabetes sports groups merged, as the Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association (DESA) was integrated into Insulindependence (IN). Strength in numbers, we always say.
Wil infiltrated a Certified Diabetes Educator training program and was disappointed at the lack of empathy for the real people these educators are treating.
Do you share your A1C test results with other people? In Spring, we asked this question, which sparked a lively discussion from the Diabetes Community!
Amy traveled to the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum at the company's Southern California headquarters (Mike did, too, though he wasn't a part of the 'Mine team yet), and she reviewed the experience of this second annual forum. Great to see Pharma expanding its outreach to the patient community, for sure.
A story in Women's Health magazine sensationalized diabetes and how females are looking at this condition, and we called them out on it.
PWD and accomplished photographer Roger Ressmeyer has always dreamed of traveling to outer space, and he almost got his chance when he was selected as one of the top 20 finalists for the Space Race 2012, with a Grand Prize of a sub-orbital space flight! Sadly, he wasn't chosen, but we were so delighted to have the chance to feature him.
We also announced the launch of Sanofi's iBGStar meter, the first-ever medical device to plug directly into an iPhone or iPod touch -- and gave away iBGStar meters as part of Patient Voices prize package.
May was Mental Health Month, and the Diabetes Advocates created a special program to address the issue of depression and stress with the Big D.
Mike Hoskins joined the 'Mine as full-time managing editor! Immediately, we couldn't imagine life without him.
Mike was deployed right away to cover the first-ever Eli Lilly D-Social Media Summit in his hometown of Indianapolis (Lilly finally got on-board with the DOC!). He also traveled to Detroit for a JDRF Research Conference, where he learned about the magical properties of chocolate milk, among other things. And then it was back to Indy for a JDRF Gala where he and his wife met Bret Michaels (!) and chatted with this rock legend about his new national D-advocacy push.
For Diabetes Blog Week 2012, everyone in the DOC was encouraged to find a new friend. We found three.
Tandem released the t:slim (!), a slick new pump that looks and feels like a modern smartphone. Aside from all the buzz, we investigated the company's return policy and helped start a discussion that appears to have helped changed that policy to the better for patients.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on health care reform, and we looked into what this means for PWDs. Upshot: people with chronic conditions have improved chances of getting improved coverage, so it's a win!
The DiabetesMine Patient Voices Contest winners were announced, and over the next four months, we profiled each one of them individually. Hooray for so many intelligent, well-spoken, and sympatico kindred spirits out there!
The "Caveman Blogger lawsuit" rocked the blogging/free speech world. We explored where one draws the line between freedom to blog health information vs. offering health services. Since then, the Caveman Blogger has lost his first round in federal court and his case is now winding its way through the appeals process.
At the annual Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference in Orlando, FL, Adult Type 1s are formally welcomed for the first time, with special sessions just for the grown-ups! Kudos to organizer Jeff Hitchcock for continually growing his fantastic program.
Summer Olympics time!! We profiled some PWDs who were lucky enough to be Olympic torchbearers over the years. Wow.
Ice Cream, You Scream, PWDs love Ice Cream! But is that kosher? It's quite controversial, in fact.
We discovered that Pharma customer service is now being carried out via social media -- via Twitter, in fact. Mike was surprised and a little intimidated by "big brother" Pharma.
Mike headed to the fourth annual Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit in Indy, which focused largely on the "Evolution of the DOC." In other words, we online advocates were given a chance to pat ourselves on the back, and think about where we want to go next.
We had a chance to connect with loving D-Dad and researcher Ed Damiano, who talked with us about his exciting work creating a "Bionic Pancreas" and pushing for progress with the FDA.
At the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) conference in Indianapolis, IN, we heard that educators are finally listening more to patients and the DOC! We also saw a booth on the exhibit hall floor that made us do a double-take: High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) being peddled at a diabetes education conference?!
We subsequently ran an an exposÃ© on the ethics of exhibitor selection for these kind of diabetes conferences, talking policy with ADA, AADE, CWD and others.
This prompted D-Mom blogger Leighann Calentine to launch an HFCS boycott campaign.
The tech world -- and anxious consumers -- were all buzzing about the next-gen iPhone set to be released this year, but there were some specific concerns about how new iPhone 5 changes might impact the compatible diabetes technology. We looked into it, of course.
We had our eyes (hah!) on FA once again, as the agency approved Lucentis, the first-ever drug for Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).
There were some big happenings in the DOC, from fellow D-bloggers taking on new roles in the community to our beloved DSMA becoming its own non-profit under the name, Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation (DCAF), Inc. (!)
Former 'Mine assistant editor Allison decided to pursue her dream of becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator, and that means going back school full-time. How exciting to have another aspiring CDE with D! (We were fortunate that Allison opted to stay on with us in a freelance capacity, too :) )
Amy and Mike attended the MedicineX conference at Stanford University's School of Medicine, where the voice of the patient was everywhere, thanks to an e-Patient scholarship program sponsored by our company, Alliance Health Networks. It was great confirmation that our voices are incredibly meaningful and should be integral to all discussions of reforming healthcare.
One fellow e-patient at that conference was Regina Holliday, who's created a mobile art project that consists of murals on painted on e-patients' jackets. It's called the Walking Gallery, and she's made the 'Mine a part of it!
The legendary Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston kicked off its own Diabetes + Innovation conference event, which brought together national leaders and helps usher us into a new era of fresh thinking and collaboration -- we hope!!
Medtronic and Bayer jointly announced a new USB-enabled glucose meter, the Contour NextLink, which is mainly remarkable in that these competitors worked together to create an improved, patient-friendly design.
D-blogger and advocate Kim Vlasnik led the creation of a DOC "You are Beautiful" video to help one kid feel better about wearing both glasses and an insulin pump. The video went viral as a best-case example of how social media can help patients everywhere! Go, Kim!!
For Diabetes Art Day 2012 -- an annual initiative thanks to D-blogger/advocate Lee Ann Thill -- we featured a real live, diabetes artist. Don't miss her Epic Wonders.
TCOYD, the amazing national diabetes education conference series for type 2, added a Type 1 Track to its programming for the very first time!
The Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitoring system was approved by FDA!! CGM users everywhere celebrated (right?).
We got some reports from the EASD Conference (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) held in Berlin this year that companies were showing off so-called Hypo Simulator contraptions. Weird stuff, indeed.
ADA got called out for a very embarrassing telemarketing snafu -- yet they defended the mistakes made. Not good.
We launched a new series called LWD (Life with Diabetes) Video Fridays, showcasing shorts on real life with D. The series continues into early 2013, so check it out if you haven't yet.
The TV remake of tear-jerker film Steel Magnolias aired. Treatment of diabetes was perhaps a little simplified, but pretty factual overall. The crew gets an A for effort.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) released New Global Diabetes Guidelines -- which unfortunately fall flat of making any meaty and meaningful recommendations for helping the places in the world hit hardest. Disappointing.
A huge month for national and international Diabetes Awareness... where to begin?
"Uncle Wil" Dubois ruffled some feathers while "keeping it real" with a frank talk about D-teens and drinking alcohol. Do not miss this column.
The Diabetes Technology Society held its annual meeting, where Amy spoke about the impact of social media. This influential group appeared to be finally embracing industry standards - wow!
During that event, the news broke that FDA had approved final guidelines for artificial pancreas (AP) research and development!
We at the 'Mine were psyched to host our very own 2nd annual DiabetesMine Innovation Summit at Stanford University -- a truly amazing get-together of e-patients, industry folk, designers, engineers, mobile health experts and more. Patients are indeed influencing change, and we're so happy and proud to be part of the movement!
During the Summit, we unveiled our "Patients Call for Innovation" video, a powerful testament to what's still missing in diabetes care.
The FDA -- yes, the national Food and Drug Administration! -- submitted a guest post here at the 'Mine about their reactions to attending the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit. Now that's a new level of interaction between e-patients and the Powers That Be!
Generic test strips -- remember that idea? Well, some may be may be hitting shelves soon, in the form of cheaper AND more accurate Shasta GenStrips, despite a lawsuit filed by JnJ.
The CEO of Tandem Diabetes Care shared a guest post on the making of the slick new t:slim pump. We really love learning how good design happens!
For all the Medtronic users out there, we are SO hoping for the company's next-gen Enlite CGM sensor to be approved by the FDA.
We're also very intrigued by how the online community's been evolving, and eager to see how the interactions between patients/bloggers, Pharma, and healthcare providers continue to evolve.
Meanwhile, we continue our daily efforts to bring you diabetes news & views in our unique format, written by and for patients.
How are we covering our Diabetes Community? Let us know what we're doing well and what we could do better.
As always, your input is more than welcome, and we can't wait to hear from you!
Happy New Year,
Dear Friends and Readers!
Amy & Mike (and the rest of the 'Mine team!)