Of course we’re always monitoring mainstream media headlines mentioning diabetes — from legit news to those items that just generate eye-rolls. There’s been a wave of coverage recently, so today we offer a “Friday Flash” of diabetes in the news:

 

Diabetes on American Idol, Again!

It used to be a rarity to find someone with diabetes making their way onto the American Idol reality TV show, but we’ve now lost count of how many PWDs (people with diabetes) have pushed past the auditions with incredible talent over the years. Most recently, we loved watching T1D peep Jackson Gillies from California, who made it to the Hollywood round while also sharing his health story: not only was Jackson diagnosed with type 1 at age 3, but as a teenager he was diagnosed with a rare chronic skin condition known as hidradenitis suppurativa, or HS. He chatted with the Idol judges about his health hurdles in life, but this young man’s positivity was truly inspiring — and they recognized that. And then hearing him sing and play guitar… Wow! We wish Jackson all the best as he moves forward on American Idol.

 

Insulin Access and Affordability in Colorado

Colorado’s governor on March 21 signed “Kevin’s Law,” allowing pharmacists to give emergency prescription refills to medications such as insulin for those who need. This legislation was named after Kevin Houdeshell, a T1 in Ohio who died several years ago after he ran out of insulin couldn’t get ahold of his doctor’s office over the holiday season to get an Rx refill. Several states have enacted this law and Colorado is the latest. In related news, Colorado is poised to become the first state in the USA with insulin-specific legislation to cap price increases for this life-sustaining medication. This week, a big early win came when a Colorado House committee passed HB19-1216 that would cap monthly co-pays for insulin at $100 a month, no matter the amount you take. It would also direct the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to investigate what’s driving the cost increases all along the supply chain and to compile a report with recommendations by November 2020 on how to address the insulin price hikes. Both bills were introduced by Rep. Dylan Roberts, whose younger brother Murphy lived with T1D before his death as a result of a hypo-induced injury. Who can avoid feeling all the emotions when seeing the news headline: “State lawmaker pushes for cap on cost of insulin in memory of his brother“? This legislation now moves forward to the House Appropriations Committee and from there, it would go to the full state House and Senate before ending up on the governor’s desk.

 

OneDrop Teams with Amazon

Next-gen glucose meter + coaching provider OneDrop has made big headlines for teaming up with Amazon on new “digital diabetes services” — meaning Amazon will offer the OneDrop mobile app platform and service directly to consumers. This is a huge win for both the young New York-based company and for mainstream awareness and access to diabetes tools! It’s part the Amazon Choice program, which you may remember made news in Fall 2018 when it announced the launch of its own brand glucose meters. Those Amazon Choice meters are actually repurposed Bluetooth-enabled Jass Wireless 2/Basic meters made by AgaMatrix, rebranded as the Choice Wireless and Choice Basic. Now, they will integrate directly with the OneDrop mobile app for tracking glucose, medications, food and exercise, allow users to set daily goes and view progress, and also sign up for OneDrop’s coaching program if desired.

 

“Evidence-Based Hope”

Yep, this is a real thing, thanks to Dr. Steve Edelman of TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) and Dr. Bill Polonsky, who founded the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. We’ve heard the phrase “evidence-based hope” around medical conferences over the years, but never really dug into it too much. In a new video by TCOYD, Edelman and Polonsky discuss how research progress indeed supports a real belief in the betterment of diabetes care. Many of us (myself included) have struggled with depression and distress over the years, and there can be times where the hopelessness just feels all-consuming. But thankfully, Edelman and Polonsky share resources that exist to help struggling PWDs — something worth knowing.

Here’s a link to the five-minute video the pair recently made for our D-Community: A Dose of Dr. E on Evidence-Based Hope.

 

First-Ever GLP-1 Pill for T2 Diabetes

An inbox pitch alerted us that Novo Nordisk has filed two “new drug applications” with the FDA for its oral semaglutide medication, the first once-daily glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist in pill form. The company already has an injectable once-a-week version on the market dubbed Ozempic that helps stimulate insulin production in the body and improve blood sugars for T2s along with exercise and diet. The new pill-form would mirror what Ozempic can do for T2 PWDs. Novo has also asked regulators to allow the injectable form to be labeled for the reduction of heart attack, stroke or death (!) in adults with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease. It’s possible this could get priority review with the FDA, meaning a fast-track review time of six months.

 

Cure Mittens for a Cause

Sure, Spring has sprung and many of us are thinking about warmer weather. But it’s still cold enough out to be rubbing our hands together… Say hello to the “Cure Mittens,” created by a family in Minnesota that is coming up on an Easter-time dia-versary. A creative intro video introduces us to Gracie, the daughter who was diagnosed at age 10 just a day after Easter 2016, and has her showing off the mittens they’ve created that go for $30 and come in six different color schemes. The proceeds go directly to cure research. There’s a blog post on the site sharing Gracie’s D-story and what exactly led to these “mittens that matter.” These D-mittens are just one line from family’s Pretty Simple brand created in 2014 that includes bags, beanies, hats, jewelry, clothing and other accessories that raise money for a number of charities in the diabetes world and beyond. The colorful mittens look like they can keep our fingertips warm, whether we still do fingerpricks or not.

 

Genetics Testing and T2D Risk

DNA testing is all the rage these days, and it appears that front-runner 23andMe is now able to map out an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes because, why not? Yep, the consumer genetic-testing company now offers customers a new report “meant to display the relative risk the test user has at a particular age of developing diabetes, given their genetic information.” The data is based on genetics and self-reported data from ~2.5 million 23andMe users who’ve consented to take part in the research, analyzing 1,000 genetic variants related to T2D. Notably, the Business Insider article includes interviews with medical professionals who emphasize that genetics are just ONE of many risk factors for T2, and it’s not a 100% guarantee one way or another. Still, this could provide an important wake-up call for a lot of folks…

 

World Frog Day

ICYMI, March 20 was not only the first day of Spring, but also happened to be World Frog Day! OK, OK, you may be wondering what this has to do with diabetes… for most people, probably nothing. Except maybe those scientists who’ve been studying the idea of frog skin potentially being turned into treatment for type 2 diabetes…. (yeah, that’s a thing). But on a personal note, I’ve shared before how I’m a special fan of frogs, in part because I have a little stuffed animal frog (named Froggy) who has been a part of my life since before my T1D diagnosis at age five. Yep, I’ve had him since I was barely walking. That’s why I refer to him as “The Frog Before Diabetes,” and back in the early days of diabetes as a young kid, Froggy would carry around my D-supplies and even get injections with old syringes and have his frog-toes pricked with lancets, because I didn’t want to be alone. So every year on World Frog Day I smile and give my Froggy a hug — because yes, even though I’m now 40 he still has a place in our home and hearts. btw: I also marked my 35th dia-versary earlier this month (!) and Froggy was naturally right there with me to mark the occasion.

 

So that’s what’s up.

Please let us know what you think about these diabetes news bits, via email at info@diabetesmine.com, or any of our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. As always, we look forward to hearing from you, D-friends!