mm456: Blast from the Past! No. 38

August 2, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

So, back into the archives yet again.

I console myself by guessing that most of you weren’t here nine months ago. As one of my favorite paper publications used to say: “If you haven’t read it yet, it’s new for you!”

lhc76019043_thumb24_thumb2

Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From last fall, and always in season, originally posted October 17, 2007, and originally titled “mm172: Diabetes: Not so Simple, Simon! (And stay away from that pie!).”

MUDGE’S Musings

Continuing our medical mini-series, this story was among the NYTimes’ most emailed yesterday.

Type II, adult onset diabetes is the focus of the piece, delving in great detail into recent research that is raising more questions than answers.

It’s a lengthy article, but well written, and well worth your time.

MUDGE’S Musings

Continuing our medical mini-series, this story was among the NYTimes’ most emailed yesterday.

Type II, adult onset diabetes is the focus of the piece, delving in great detail into recent research that is raising more questions than answers.

It’s a lengthy article, but well written, and well worth your time.

nytimes

By AMANDA SCHAFFER

An explosion of new research is vastly changing scientists’ understanding of diabetes and giving new clues about how to attack it.

The fifth leading killer of Americans, with 73,000 deaths a year, diabetes is a disease in which the body’s failure to regulate glucose, or blood sugar, can lead to serious and even fatal complications. Until very recently, the regulation of glucose — how much sugar is present in a person’s blood, how much is taken up by cells for fuel, and how much is released from energy stores — was regarded as a conversation between a few key players: the pancreas, the liver, muscle and fat.

Now, however, the party is proving to be much louder and more complex than anyone had shown before.

So, the usual suspects, pancreas, liver, muscle and fat have been joined by new candidates: a hormone produced by bone, osteocalcin; inflammation in the immune system; the brain; and the gut.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

In Diabetes, a Complex of Causes – New York Times

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

mm391: A site for poor eyes

May 25, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

For yr (justifiably) humble svt, eyesight is the most important of the five senses. Of course, if my senses of taste and smell weren’t so important to me, perhaps I wouldn’t weigh what I do.

And, if I had no hearing, my music collection and my 100 stations on Pandora would be useless. And without a sense of touch, certain very enjoyable activities would be far less enjoyable, if possible at all.

But, all considered, for me, sight is the most precious. So this story leapt off the page for me.

nytimes

electronicmagnifier

The Magnifying Glass Gets an Electronic Twist

TECHNOLOGY | Novelties |  By ANNE EISENBERG | Published: May 25, 2008

PEOPLE who lose part of their sight to macular degeneration, diabetes or other diseases may now benefit from some new technology. Several portable video devices that enlarge print may help them make the most of their remaining vision.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm281: No! Don’t take away my Diet Mountain Dew!

February 10, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

As a charter member of the Boomer cohort, health issues are never far from top of mind.

Embarrassed to admit that, at dinner with the closest of friends the other night, our various afflictions comprised the sum total of the conversation for the two hours the four of us were together.

Not our kids (except relating to their health); not politics (what presidential election?); just visits to this chiropractor (by now a virtual member of our friends’ family); that specialist; these MRI results. Ugh.

Never again, that!

But, typical.

Imperceptibly, somehow when I wasn’t paying attention I joined that group of health-obsessed codgers that I used to make such cheerful fun of. Anyone have a pill to treat depression stemming from participation in excessive health-related conversation?

–Coming right up, sir!

Read the rest of this entry »


mm270: Health trilogy

January 30, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

As yr (justifiably) humble svt trudges around this excessive winter in his oh-so-elegant cam-boot (complete with exposed sock — wow! is it cold!), nursing his partially torn Achilles and worrying that his odd appliance-forced gait is causing new compensatory aches and pains in his lower back, health is very much on his mind.

And as a charter member of the Boomer cohort, one would expect no less. And since we are such a huge demographic, health news, never in short supply, can now be, appropriate to the season, officially classified as a blizzard.

A blizzard of health related news. This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© proudly brings you its all-health news SASB©.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm221: The dread disease we all hope to catch: Old age

December 13, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

It is always interesting to see how stories hit from different directions, and yet form a pattern startling in its similarity of topic. So it was when, while dining in the company cafeteria today accompanied by my trusty companion, Business Week, I encountered an article that grabbed my attention as I leafed by in search of something else.

The topic: Alzheimer’s disease. I pulled it out of the magazine, the better to locate on line, see below.

While scanning the NYTimes somewhat later, this story jumped out. The relationship is obvious — Alzheimer’s. The Times speculates on prevention; BW speculates on its origins, in search of treatment or cure. Take a look:

nytimes

Mental Reserves Keep Brains Agile

By JANE E. BRODY

My husband, at 74, is the baby of his bridge group, which includes a woman of 85 and a man of 89. This challenging game demands an excellent memory (for bids, cards played, rules and so on) and an ability to think strategically and read subtle psychological cues. Never having had a head for cards, I continue to be amazed by the mental agility of these septua- and octogenarians.

The brain, like every other part of the body, changes with age, and those changes can impede clear thinking and memory. Yet many older people seem to remain sharp as a tack well into their 80s and beyond. Although their pace may have slowed, they continue to work, travel, attend plays and concerts, play cards and board games, study foreign languages, design buildings, work with computers, write books, do puzzles, knit or perform other mentally challenging tasks that can befuddle people much younger.

But when these sharp old folks die, autopsy studies often reveal extensive brain abnormalities like those in patients with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas and Yaakov Stern at Columbia University Medical Center recall that in 1988, a study of “cognitively normal elderly women” showed that they had “advanced Alzheimer’s disease pathology in their brains at death.” Later studies indicated that up to two-thirds of people with autopsy findings of Alzheimer’s disease were cognitively intact when they died.

Alzheimer’s doesn’t automatically cause the impairment we’ve always presumed it universally does? How strange!

“Something must account for the disjunction between the degree of brain damage and its outcome,” the Columbia scientists deduced. And that something, they and others suggest, is “cognitive reserve.”

Cognitive reserve, in this theory, refers to the brain’s ability to develop and maintain extra neurons and connections between them via axons and dendrites. Later in life, these connections may help compensate for the rise in dementia-related brain pathology that accompanies normal aging.

Sounds like MUDGE has got to get out and get some of that cognitive reserve. Think Target carries it? Or Neiman Marcus?

No, you guessed it, cognitive reserve is home made, not bought.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Memory – Aging – Medicine & Health – New York Times

This will never do — actually changing sedentary habits. Let’s look for a magic bullet instead:

bw_255x65

Is Alzheimer’s a Form of Diabetes?

If so, an insulin-centered treatment could alter the course of the disease

by Catherine Arnst

Scientists have been searching for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease for more than 100 years, and during that time, theories about why brain cells are destroyed in the course of the illness have come and gone. One of the newer and more unorthodox theories posits that Alzheimer’s may actually be a form of diabetes. Some experts have even taken to calling the brain disease type 3 diabetes, as distinct from the insulin-dependent (type 1) and adult-onset (type 2) varieties of the condition.

The diabetes hypothesis stems from growing evidence that cells in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims are resistant to insulin; just as in diabetes, the cells don’t respond appropriately to this hormone. As a result, neurons are deprived of glucose, which they need for energy. As the evidence mounts, the type 3 label is gaining currency in Alzheimer’s research circles and is drawing attention from the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma companies are testing existing diabetes drugs against Alzheimer’s, while startup Acumen Pharmaceuticals, in partnership with Merck (MRK), is focusing on molecules that allow insulin to reach brain cells.

This is absolutely stunning: suddenly Alzheimer’s might not be mysterious; it may operate according to long-understood mechanisms, like diabetes. While there is no cure for diabetes, there are treatments that are quite effective. Imagine adapting such pharmaceuticals to work in the insulin resistant areas of the Alzheimer’s brain.

A research team led by neurobiologist William L. Klein at Northwestern University came up with more supporting evidence for the type 3 diabetes theory in September, 2007. Klein, a founder of Acumen, discovered that a toxic protein called ADDL damages insulin receptors on the surface of brain cells, rendering them less responsive to the hormone.

Seems that type 3 diabetes might be as controllable as type 2, which long has drawn the continued attention of pharmaceutical science.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Is Alzheimer’s a Form of Diabetes?

Approaching a stupendous birthday, with a mother and mother-in-law 80 years old and above, concerns about aging are certainly more immediate to this writer than before.

And, thanks to the fact that I’m part of a very large cohort of similarly aged population, researchers have come to recognize like never before the profit potential of science directed toward the ailments of the elderly.

Couldn’t be happening at a better time. By the way, do you think that daily blogging is sufficiently challenging brain stimulation?

MUDGE is certainly hoping so!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm172: Diabetes: Not so Simple, Simon! (And stay away from that pie!)

October 17, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Continuing our medical mini-series, this story was among the NYTimes’ most emailed yesterday.

Type II, adult onset diabetes is the focus of the piece, delving in great detail into recent research that is raising more questions than answers.

It’s a lengthy article, but well written, and well worth your time.

nytimes

By AMANDA SCHAFFER

An explosion of new research is vastly changing scientists’ understanding of diabetes and giving new clues about how to attack it.

The fifth leading killer of Americans, with 73,000 deaths a year, diabetes is a disease in which the body’s failure to regulate glucose, or blood sugar, can lead to serious and even fatal complications. Until very recently, the regulation of glucose — how much sugar is present in a person’s blood, how much is taken up by cells for fuel, and how much is released from energy stores — was regarded as a conversation between a few key players: the pancreas, the liver, muscle and fat.

Now, however, the party is proving to be much louder and more complex than anyone had shown before.

So, the usual suspects, pancreas, liver, muscle and fat have been joined by new candidates: a hormone produced by bone, osteocalcin; inflammation in the immune system; the brain; and the gut.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

In Diabetes, a Complex of Causes – New York Times

We rail in this country against the high cost of health care. We are outraged by the prices we pay for pharmaceuticals.

But people, there’s wonderful work being done to discover how the human system works, and how to repair it when it is impaired. This diabetes research is a perfect example.

Of course it’s partially financed by the big drug manufacturers. Be glad it is — where else would the big money come from? The government? A useful source of research funding, but always constrained.

You’ve heard this before. These days, the cost of bringing a drug to market is measured in $100s of millions (probably a cool $billion by now), and bunches of years (as many as 15!).

When that 1:10,000 long shot hits, drug companies have a very short patent life to receive top dollar for their intellectual property, which by the way is alleviating pain, curing disease, improving life for patients around the world, while providing the wherewithal for research and testing of the next great breakthrough.

When viewed that way, the high cost of medicine in this country doesn’t seem so extreme.

Yes, the insurance driven system at the patient level is broken, a subject for another day.

But, as a person who has been living with Type II diabetes for over a decade, and whose sister’s partner’s juvenile diabetes is rapidly killing her, MUDGE has a personal stake in successful diabetes research, and by extension, all the useful medical research in this country, however it’s funded.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm111: Charmr: The Apple aesthetic meets the insulin pump

August 21, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Among the zillions of sites that this observer doesn’t get to nearly frequently enough, Ars Technica stands out.

arstechnica

Charmr: The Apple aesthetic meets the insulin pump

By Thomas Wilburn | Published: August 17, 2007 – 03:16AM CT

Editor’s Note: Hosted by user experience firm Adaptive Path, UX Week 2007 brought together application programmers, graphic artists, and web designers from around the world to discuss the challenges of everything from evolving Web 2.0 applications to redesigned pharmacy bottles. The event featured keynotes from professionals at Milton Glaser, One Laptop Per Child, and Nokia, as well as presentations from eBay, Yahoo!, and CNN, among others. From Washington, D.C., Thomas Wilburn provides an excerpt from the UX Week sessions.

One example of “sweet” design: Adaptive Path, organizers of the UX Week conference on user experience, showed off concept images for an easier-to-use insulin pump Tuesday. Dubbed the “Charmr” for its charm bracelet-like display component, the device would be a drastic change from the bulky pumps currently in use—a difference that designers highlighted by naming the conference session “Wear It During Sex.”

As one who has a loved one who wears an insulin pump, this one just jumped out at me. And note above the reference to One Laptop Per Child, another point of interest here.

And, in my professional life, it’s all about the user experience. Recently, I was (surprisingly to me) characterized the “manager of the web conferencing user experience” by an objective observer (who I’d never thought was that impressed with what I do).

The rest of the story is short:

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Charmr: The Apple aesthetic meets the insulin pump

Someone’s got to build this thing, pronto!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE