Saturday, April 21, 2018

250 Postings And Changes At Work

Last week's blog posting was my 250th blog posting on Current Research into Cures for Type-1 Diabetes!  Also, this year marks the 10th year of publishing the blog, as the first posting was in June 2008  (although I had created a precursor web page in 2006).

Changes At Work

In March I was laid off from my job as a software developer, so I took advantage of the impending job search to think about what I really wanted to do.  And I decided that what I really wanted was to use my software engineering skills to help the day-to-day lives of people with type-1 diabetes.

I limited my job search to companies that were working directly to make the lives of people with type-1 diabetes easier or better in some way.  I'm lucky to live and work in Silicon Valley, so there are several such companies (and non-profits) in the area.  I'm happy to say that starting in late April, I'll be starting as a "Staff Software Developer in Test" for Bigfoot Biomedical.

Several things attracted me to Bigfoot.  First, they are developing an Artificial Pancreas ("automated insulin dosing and delivery solution"), and I'm absolutely convinced that is the quickest path to better treatment, fewer complications, and an easier life for people who need insulin.  Second, their larger goal is to lower the overall burden of type-1 diabetes.   (Not just create a device that is technically better than the competition's, but to create a whole infrastructure of treatment, supplies, and support that is smooth and easy to use.)  Third, their internal software development infrastructure is cool.  It is what I'd expect from a Silicon Valley start up.

So what does this mean for the blog?

I'm not expecting any changes in the blog.  I stopped blogging on artificial pancreas research years ago, so there is no direct conflict of interest.  I won't be blogging on Bigfoot products or the products of competitors.  On the other hand, I will continue to blog about "current research aimed at curing type-1 diabetes" just as I always have.  For me, Artificial Pancreas type devices are treatments and I blog on cures, so there isn't any overlap.

I've already discussed the blog with the Bigfoot team (many are avid readers), and they are very supportive.  Bigfoot wants it's employees active in the type-1 world, and so being supportive of my blog fits into their general philosophy.

How You Can Help This Blog

There are three ways you can help this blog:
  • Tell someone about it.  I have zero budget for anything, and that includes publicity, so if you like this blog, the best way to help is to tell other people affected by type-1 about the blog.  If every reader, even just once a year, would tell one person affected by type-1 diabetes about this blog, it would reach 1000s of new readers.  And it doesn't matter if you verbally tell one person, tweet/facebook once, post to a forum or group, or send one email to one person.  It all helps.
  • If you read about research aimed at curing type-1 diabetes, which has not been discussed in the blog, then please tell me about it.  My email is below.
  • If you have questions about any blog posting or any research aimed at curing type-1 diabetes, please email your questions, or post them as comments to the blog.  These questions tell me what you care about, and they also tell me where I need to spend more time, so they are very helpful to making the blog better in the long term.
Thanks very much for all your support over all these years of blogging.

Joshua Levy 
publicjoshualevy at gmail dot com
All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF, JDCA, or Bigfoot Biomedical news, views, policies or opinions.  In my day job, I work in software for Bigfoot Biomedical.  My daughter has type-1 diabetes and participates in clinical trials, which might be discussed here. My blog contains a more complete non-conflict of interest statement. Thanks to everyone who helps with the blog.


Oscar said...

I would feel a bit conflicted being an advocate for curing type 1 diabetes while at the same time working for the diabetes trinkets and toys industry, which diverts scarce diabetes research and development resources into things other than curing the disease. Even worse, these gadgets dangle the prospect of making money quickly by detours away from the cure in front of the eyes of greedy capitalists, who already face the daunting research costs and uncertainties in finding a cure, especially given the headwinds against progress enforced by the 'Foot Dragging Administration' (the FDA).

Given the accumulating evidence of the disconnect between blood sugar control and the development of the characteristic complications of diabetes, and the apparent role of genetic factors and of the continuing autoimmunity of the original attack on the beta cells continuing to operate against other parts of the body in causing complications, I wonder if pestering the patient with more profitable machinery to achieve stricter and stricter control is really going to solve the problem. The most recent research suggests that it is inherited differences in the DNA protection and repair mechanisms of patients that explains why Gill found that the average 50-year survivor had an HbA1c of 10, while many die much earlier with very much better control. Perhaps trying to replicate that protective factor in people would be a much simpler and more direct way to address the problem of diabetes than subjecting the patient to increasingly aggressive blood sugar management. Hummingbirds, after all, have an average blood sugar of 600 mg/% yet never develop any complications such as human diabetics do, indicating that diabetes is a kind of 'gunpowder and match' disease, in which both non-physiological blood sugar values plus some special sensitivity to that abnormality are necessary to produce the complications. Since intervening at the point of blood sugar control is both difficult and dangerous, why not try intervening at the point of the sensitivity to hyperglycemia instead, to provide a more patient- rather than lab value-centric approach to treating the disease?

Many patients I know have simply become overwhelmed by the myriad of new difficulties which all this diabetes gadgetry has introduced in their lives, and the majority of new comments by type 1 and LADA patients on diabetes forums a such as 'Tu Diabetes' are about struggles with blood sugar control machinery rather than about the disease itself, suggesting that these devices have simply introduced their own iatrogenic disease on top of the old, natural disease of diabetes. The goal should be to free patients from any disease, whether iatrogenic or not.

Madelon West said...

Congratulations on your new job! Thanks for these posts. As a relatively new type 1, this blog is invaluable for keeping up with research.

Jeff Scrimsher said...

Joshua, thank you for these posts/emails and congratulations on the new job. As a type 1 for over 40 years I appreciate all the advances the industry has made. When I was diagnosed as a teenager I had to give myself multiple insulin injections and check urine samples for glucose. Today I have an insulin pump that monitors my blood sugar every 5 minutes and an a1c below 7. What a difference these devices make! I will patiently await a cure but in the meanwhile I will most likely upgrade to the next generation of artificial pancreas and be grateful for an improved quality of life. I look forward to your emails and would like to thank you again for all you do.

aviano said...

Thank you for the job you are doing. Still waiting for a cure.

Ellen said...

I do love this blog and check it weekly to see what you post, comments, etc. I have two children, now adults with Type 1...very unusual because my third child doesn't have it nor is it anywhere in my family. I appreciate what all people do to help people with type 1. One son wears an insulin pump, the other stays on a strict diet with injections. I agree with Oscar regarding all of the gadgets and the amount of time it takes to manage them as well as the expense involved, but if it makes even one type 1 diabetic feel better, it is better than not having it. So congrats on your new job. I am very happy for you and look forward to reading this blog in the future. I will also invite others to read it as well. Good luck to you!!! AND THANK YOU! NelleRain

Evaughn said...

I have an 11 year old son in his second year of treatment. Open your blog daily to search for new posts. Use a self contained pump and a cgm. Life is much easier than it was at time of diagnosis.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Patman1961 said...

I enjoy your BLOG as well. Thank you for the service you provide. Congrats on your new job! I would love to get involved in Bigfoot! I'm a dinosaur though. Still programming mainframe assembler and COBOL code after 37 years in the industry. ;-)

Patman1961 said...

Congrats on your new job. I'd love to get involved in that. I'm a programmer too, but I'm an old mainframe dinosaur. programming in assembler and COBOL. After 37 years I've kind of accepted this as my lot.

You provide a great service here. I just want to say THANK YOU!