Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Longer Lifespans (non-cure news)

The American Diabetes Association meeting (ADA 2011) just finished, and as with every year there has been a lot of news.  Normally, I only cover cure related research, but this is such important news (even if non-cure) that I'm going to give it a blog.

I know that many people are interested in Dr. Faustman's results.  I have worked on a posting on those for eight evenings, and it is still not ready.  I have not been able to get a copy of the poster they presented, and I'm spending more than the usual amount of time reviewing my posting.  So I'm expecting it to go out approximately July 21.  After that, I'm hoping for several more postings with news from ADA.

Increased Lifespan for People with Type-1 Diabetes

This is the single best news that I got from ADA 2011: the "lifespan gap" in the USA between people who have type-1 diabetes and people who don't is getting much smaller.  When my daughter was diagnosed, we were told that, on average, people with type-1 diabetes had a lifespan 15 years shorter than other people.  That information weighed heavily on my mind.  And this paper shows that type-1 diabetics born between 1950 and 1964 did have a lifespan 18 years shorter than others born at that time.  However, this study also shows that for type-1 diabetics born between 1965-1980, the gap has dropped to about 4 years.  That is very strong progress.

It is important to remember that this study uses a lot of estimations (after all, most people they studied are still alive).  However, they used standard techniques to do these estimations, and there is a large body of research on life expectancy, so I don't see any reason to doubt them. In particular, I think the same techniques were used for the 18 year gap as for the 4 year gap, so I'm totally comfortable with the trend: it is getting much better.

As an optimist, I'm hopeful that things are going to be even better from the 1980-1995 cohort, and continue to improve in the 1995-2010 cohort and onward. I think that with pumps, quarterly A1C measurements, and now CGMs, I think we can expect continued improvement.


Joshua Levy
All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF or JDCA news, views, policies or opinions. My blog contains a more complete non-conflict of interest statement.
To Get as Email Join here: