Curious about what's happening in the diabetes industry and research community? Or maybe (like me) you think that you already know what's going on... Well, get ready for a concise and extremely entertaining expose of the current status of diabetes care and research towards a cure.

The title is Diabetes Rising, the new "epic book" coming out in January 2010 by award-winning investigative journalist Dan Hurley, a type 1 diabetic himself.

As the publicist explains:

"Through interviews with hundreds of doctors and patients, Diabetes Rising addresses some of the myths that seem to have stunted progress towards a cure for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Debunking these myths, Hurley continues on to present a surprising collection of scientific theories that explain why rates of both types of diabetes are mounting" — despite the onslaught of new drugs and therapies.

I received an advance review copy about 10 days ago, and simply could not put it down.

The book is divided into three no-nonsense sections: The Rising (history of diabetes), The Reasons (hypotheses for what causes diabetes), and The Remedies (four theories that might lead to a cure).

What makes it so readable is Hurley's affable writing style; as you're reading about deep science, you find yourself chuckling over the personal quirks and even the hairstyles of the many top researchers he's interviewed.

Letting the cat out of the bag a bit here: From Hurley's "Reasons" section, did you know that in addition to the hygiene hypothesis, there are four other very plausible scientific theories on what makes people develop diabetes?

- the Accelerator Hypothesis, the notion that because people are growing taller and bigger much faster than ever before in history, this may be putting greater demands on the pancreas, and "stressing" the immune system

- the Cow's Milk Hypothesis, which asserts that giving babies cow's-milk-based foods too early in life is what wreaks havoc on the immune system

- the POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) Hypothesis, which assumes that manmade environmental toxins may be the cause

- the Sunshine Hypothesis, which states that people living in less sunny places get more diabetes, and we all should be taking Vitamin D supplements

In addition, this book clearly explains the details (and strengths and weaknesses) of each. But the section that really had me riveted was of course "The Remedies," looking at possible avenues for a cure:

- The Computer Cure, all about artificial pancreas research. Hurley himself was in a clinical study organized by the JDRF. ("For 15 hours, I was no longer diabetic," he writes, and laments that the FDA is dragging its feet on approving a simple but key feature: automatic shut-off for a combined glucose-insulin system that detects a low.)

- The Surgical Cure, about the face-off between endos and surgeons over bariatric surgery as a "cure" for Type 2 diabetes. ("By golly, it works," he writes.)

- The Biological Cure, about the search for a pill that cures Type 1 diabetes, including the best description I've read of teplizumab, which seems to stop the immune system attack on insulin-producing beta cells — in mice.

- The Public Health Cure, or the notion that "prevention is the ultimate key to ending the diabetes pandemic": attack on the fast food industry, encouraging people to take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.

Aaron Kowaslki of the JDRF plays a starring role in the sections on technology (go, Aaron!)  And even our own D-blogger friend Kelly Kunik is mentioned in this book with respect to the DOC's acerbic reaction to Halle Berry's misleading public statements.

It truly is "an amazing new epic book on diabetes..." The best I've read since Jim Hirsch's Cheating Destiny. Only Hurley comes to a much more controversial conclusion:

"While the American Diabetes Association can and does support public health campaigns and legislation, the focus of its monthly magazine, like the focus of virtually all medical efforts to improve the lot of people with diabetes, is self-management. Here's a new meter; now test your sugars. Here's a new recipe; now count your carbs. And who can argue with the view that people must take control of their diabetes? No one. I'ts a given that people with diabetes must be their own primary caregiver."

"But it's just as clear... that focusing on personal responsibility alone has not stopped, and will never stop, the rise of diabetes. Something more is needed; recognition that forces beyond the individual's control are at play, and that united action is necessary to face down what is a public, and therefore political, danger to our well-being, and to the well-being of our children."


{Kaplan Publishing, January 2010, available for pre-order on Amazon.}