Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Juvenile Diabetes Club Aid's Kids

The founder of a diabetes club said children with the disease need someone to talk to about their concerns.

The bad thing is I have low blood sugar and can’t eat much. The good thing is I have new friends,” said Eric Gutierrez, a third-grader at Taft Elementary School.

I learned to be healthy with a lot of sleep and exercise and to take care of myself,” said Faith Nardone, a Taft fifth-grader.

The two were talking about their membership in the Taft Elementary Diabetes Club, an education and support group created this year by Annie Hunter, a fourth-grade teacher with 27 years of service in the district and a diabetic herself.

Hunter said the idea for creating a club for children came to her after she witnessed an elementary school girl having her blood sugar tested in the office of school nurse Jill Zinger.

Hunter recalled that she told Zinger that some sort of club or support group should be created to provide assistance to children with juvenile diabetes. It was Zinger, she said, who suggested that she take up the cause herself.

The more she thought about it, the better the idea sounded, Hunter said, adding that she wrote up a club proposal and presented it to Michael Schubert, Taft’s principal.

I thought it was fantastic,” Schubert said, noting that much of the club’s focus is on nutrition and eating right to control the disease.

The school contacted the parents of children at Taft known to have been diagnosed with diabetes and asked for permission for their children to join the club.

The National Diabetes Education Program estimates there are 177,000 people under the age of 20 in the United States who have diabetes.

I wanted to offer support to the children who have diabetes,” Hunter said. The club gives them someone to share their concerns with, she said, explaining that sometimes their classmates just don’t understand why they can’t eat a cookie or a cupcake.

I’m a diabetic. I am learning more about taking care of myself from the children than they are learning from me,” Hunter said, explaining that the club members are very knowledgeable about the disease and what dietary limitations they must impose on themselves.

Their parents are on top of things in terms of keeping their children informed, she said.

The club, which meets every two weeks, has five pupil members. In addition to Eric and Faith, Skylar Barcley, a second-grader, and sisters Tanesha Bryant, a first-grader, and Ta’Andrea Bowers, a fourth-grader, are members.

Tanesha has diabetes but Ta’Andrea doesn’t. She joined the club out of support for her younger sister and her teachers say she keeps a careful watch over her sibling.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Diabetic Celebrity Health: Halle Berry

One in 20 women, such as Oscar winner Halle Berry, have diabetes during pregnancy. But once diagnosed it can be managed.

A condition known -- not surprisingly -- as gestational diabetes.

As the baby grows in the womb, hormonal changes can result in higher blood-sugar levels in the mother. The hormones in question are produced by the placenta - via which the mother delivers nutrients to her growing child.

The bigger the placenta grows over the course of the pregnancy, the more hormones it releases - and the greater the chances of diabetes.

Normally, the upsurge in hormones is countered by the pancreas, the organ that supplies the body with insulin.

Gestational diabetes occurs when the organ struggles to produce the required amount of insulin.

There are also indications that it is more prevalent among the overweight -- though given her regulation Hollywood figure, Berry hardly had cause to worry on that front.

However, in up to 50% of cases, there is no discernible cause of the condition. In the unborn child, gestational diabetes can lead to birth defects.

The most common complication is called macrosomnia, by which babies are born oversized. This happens because the foetus produces excess insulin to absorb the large levels of glucose it is receiving from the mother.

That, in turn, serves as a growth trigger resulting in newborns with larger than normal heads and shoulders, which increase the chance of an injury during childbirth.

No less worrying is evidence that pre-existing diabetes among mothers - most commonly linked to obesity -is on the rise. A US survey found recently that the number of woman with diabetes during pregnancy doubled in the past seven years.

Pre-existing diabetes poses a threat to both mother and child: the risk of miscarriage and still-birth climbs sharply and there is a possibility the infant will be born with birth defects.

However, once it has been diagnosed, gestational diabetes can be managed during pregnancy.

The mother will probably be advised to limit the amount of glucose in her system by adopting a low-sugar diet. Exercise has also been shown to help.

Should neither of these produce the desired result, doctors will recommend insulin injections, to bring down blood-sugar levels.

Should the pregnancy otherwise go smoothly, the long- term effects of gestational diabetes are minimal. The mother's blood-sugar levels will, in most cases, revert to their pre-existing levels shortly after childbirth.


Independent - IE

New Type-2 Diabetic Treatment Being Tested

SUFFERERS from type-2 diabetes soon may be treating their ailment by chewing gum.

A Toronto company says it is testing a chewing gum containing the glucose-controlling drug metformin which is presently prescribed in tablets for many type-2 diabetes patients, but is unpopular because of gastrointestinal side-effects, bitter taste and the size of the pills.

The side-effects were especially off-putting to the increasing number of children diagnosed with type-2, according to the Generex Biotechnology Corporation of Toronto, Canada.

The chewing-gum product, called MetControl, would be given to 36 volunteer patients to test its speed and efficacy compared with that of immediate-release metformin pills.

It believed that delivery of metformin in good-tasting chewing gum would make it more acceptable to these patients and thereby increase adherence with diabetes therapy.

Generex Biotechnology's flagship product is an oral insulin taken through the inner lining of the mouth instead of by injection.

Oral-lyn, had been accepted in Ecuador and India and was being trialled in other countries including the United States, Canada and Russia.,23599,23717864-1702,00.html