Blood Glucose Meters: Monitoring Diabetes on Your Phone

iBGStar Glucose MeterLiving with Diabetes requires frequent monitoring of blood glucose (blood sugar), an essential measure of your health. The American Diabetes Association can help you better understand Diabetes, select from the latest tools, learn how to manage your blood glucose levels, and prevent serious complications. We provide a guide to help you select a blood glucose meter, many of which are available at local drug stores, but today’s article is inspired by one that’s not listed and you may not have seen yet.

iBGStar blood glucose monitor

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A Disease-Creation Economy

Money, Politics and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy

By Mark Hyman, MD, practicing physician (original on Huffington Post)

“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.” —Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses

Medical Economics - follow the MoneyMoney in politics is making our nation sicker, threatening our national security, and ultimately destroying the very economic prosperity the “money in politics” seeks to achieve. It is undermining our capacity to care for our citizens and threatening our global economic competitiveness in invisible, insidious ways. The links, connections and patterns that promote obesity and chronic disease are clear, though. The economic and social impacts are evident. As health care consumes an increasingly large percentage of our federal budget, the negative impacts of money in politics have become too alarming too ignore, and never more obvious than in this election cycle of 2012.

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The End of Illness

The End of Illness - image from Amazon.comToday’s article is adapted from The End of Illness by Dr. David B. Agus and an ABC News story about his book. (video below)

“The end of illness is closer than you might think,” says Agus, a professor of medicine at USC. But to achieve that, people must look at their bodies in a whole new way. He and many others like him are challenging long-held beliefs about what “health” means and are promoting health & wellness as ways to extend life, improve vitality, and lower the cost of medical care.

As a cancer doctor and researcher on the front lines, Dr. Agus became infuriated by the statistics and lack of progress within the medical profession, and that got him thinking about alternative approaches. He likens it to “having to go to war to understand peace,” since the goal should be to avoid war in the first place. And shouldn’t the same apply to health – striving for ways to eliminate illness rather than just treat its symptoms? Read More …

Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms?

robot medic

Image credit: Shutterstock/koya979

By Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures
(original on TechCrunch.com)

I was asked about a year ago at a talk about energy what I was doing about the other large social problems, namely health care and education. Surprised, I flippantly responded that the best solution was to get rid of doctors and teachers and let your computers do the work, 24/7 and with consistent quality.

Later, I got to thinking about what I had said and why, and how embarrassingly wrong that might be. But the more I think about it the more I feel my gut reaction was probably right. The beginnings of “Doctor Algorithm” or Dr. A for short, most likely (and that does not mean “certainly” or “maybe”) will be much criticized. We’ll see all sorts of press wisdom decrying “they don’t work” or “look at all the silly things they come up with.” But Dr A. will get better and better and will go from providing “bionic assistance” to second opinions to assisting doctors to providing first opinions and as referral computers (with complete and accurate synopses and all possible hypotheses of the hardest cases) to the best 20% of the human breed doctors. And who knows what will happen beyond that?

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Innovator’s Prescription: Disruptive Healthcare Solution

book cover of The Innovator's PrescriptionHarvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen — whose bestselling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, revolutionized the business world — now presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

In this meaty 87-min lecture at MIT, Professor Christensen explains how you can’t believe everything you learn in business school and reveals insights into such socially significant and complex industries as health care. “It’s the principles of good management that can cause successful companies to fail,” he says.

The lecture introduced concepts from his latest book, where Christensen applies his principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system. With collaboration from two pioneers in the field — Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang — he examines a range of symptoms and offers proven solutions.

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Walt Mossberg blasts medical consumer products

In his TEDMED 2010 talk, Walt Mossberg, Technology Journalist for the Wall Street Journal, shares his thoughts about medical consumer products. He’s clearly a fan of Apple’s iPad and iPhone but laments the lack of really useful consumer medical products like good blood glucose monitors. Thankfully, we’ve seen lots of innovation in 2011, but I wonder if it’s enough to change Walt’s mind. Watch the video and let us know what YOU think with a Reply below.

Flying with Medical Devices and Supplies

Image of Wheelchair and Airport SecurityGuest article by Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com

Recent reports allege that security officials at a Florida airport forced a 95-year-old woman with cancer to remove her adult diaper as part of a security pat-down.

While this is an extreme example, some medical equipment and assistive devices– such as pacemakers, wheelchairs and oxygen tanks – can hinder airport security screening procedures.

In response to the incident involving the adult diaper, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials released this statement: “While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, the TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner.”

How can caregivers ensure their elderly relatives are treated with dignity, yet expedite the process of getting an elderly loved one through airport security safely? AgingCare.com asked Sarah Horowitz, spokesperson for the TSA’s Office of Public Affairs, to weigh in on how certain assistive devices may affect airport security:

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Why Americans pay so much for Prescription Drugs

As a colleague participant in a Linkedin discussion said, The entire medical system only gets paid when they can convert a non-patient into a patient. Moreover, it is in the best interest of the system, to keep the patient a patient, so as to continue getting paid.

That perspective even extends to prescription drugs and why so many Americans seek lower cost solutions from Canada even when their health plans include discounts on generics ordered online. It also reminds me of Eat Your Medicine, which views food as pharmacology and promotes changes in diet and lifestyle rather than the quick fix of a pill.

INFOGRAPHIC: Why Americans pay so much for drugs, and Canadians don’t.

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Using the iPhone to give the “finger” to Finger Pricks

Finger Prick to test blood glucose of diabeticDiabetics who prick their fingers several times a day to test blood glucose levels have a new reason to want an iPhone, or at least they may in the future. This new phone app may eliminate painful finger pricks.

Researchers at Northeastern University in Boston created nano-sensors that are injected under the skin like a tattoo and then glow under a fluorescent light to show the amount of glucose in a patient’s blood, according to MIT’s Technology Review. The nano-sensors are specialized molecules designed to attract and bind to specific chemicals and fluoresce when hit by the right spectrum of light.

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New blood test predicts how long you will live

TelomeresI saw a report on FOX News today that I had to look into. It was about a $700 blood test that measures the length of a person’s telomeres. Telomeres are “caps” on the ends of chromosomes that prevent them from “fraying” as cells replicate. If the telomeres become too short, the cells can’t divide and eventually die. That’s the process of aging.

The test is controversial because of privacy worries and what might happen if our employers or insurance companies knew the results. With that risk, would you want the test? And would you marry someone with short telomeres who has little time to live?

Fortunately, this Huffington Post article gives hope for living longer even if you already have short telomeres. It describes lifestyle changes that reduce stress and improve general health and happiness, and how that can actually reverse the aging process by lengthening the telomeres.

Scientists have also done lab experiments on mice that gave even greater promise. They genetically engineered a bunch of mice without a protective enzyme that resulted in shortened live spans of about six months. At the sixth month approached, the scientists reversed the genes and the mice became young again.

No testing has been done on people yet, but these types of discoveries might be good reason to get in shape and make lifestyle changes now. NET: Don’t worry; be happy.

Don’t Just Blame Dementia

By Michael Friedman, L.M.S.W., Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia University’s schools of social work and public health (reprinted from Huffington Post, 4/3/11)

After a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, subsequent emotional, mental, cognitive, and behavioral problems are usually blamed on the disease. Other possible reasons including behavioral disorders such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse or ordinary human reactions to tough realities are very often ignored.

“Grandma seems terribly sad.”
“Of course, she has Alzheimer’s”
“Grandpa has been nasty lately.”
“It’s the Alzheimer’s.
“Uncle John doesn’t enjoy life anymore.”
“Who would? He has dementia.”
“Mom isn’t eating much or isn’t taking her pills or isn’t getting any exercise.”
“It must be the Alzheimer’s.”

Not necessarily. In fact, blaming dementia very often gets in the way of understanding what is really going on and doing something about it that will help.

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