A Fish story and other wackiness

A Fish story and other wackiness

According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee pharmaceuticals and personal-care byproducts persist at low levels miles from sewage discharge pipes in Lake Michigan. The study shows that the most prevalent drug in the lake is the metformin, the most popular medication for treating Type 2 diabetes. It seems that metformin besides being an effective tool for treating Type 2 diabetes also changes the hormonal system of fish exposed to it.

Now Diabetic Investor is quite sure what to make of this study as it did not examine the impact metformin was having on fish with Type 2 diabetes. Our guess is now that we know this useless piece of information researchers are likely to conduct a follow on study which examines the role metformin plays in fish with diabetes.

In other news researchers at University of California, San Diego, developed a thin and flexible patch resembling a temporary tattoo that they say can continuously monitor glucose levels in the blood without puncturing or irritating the skin. Once this news was hailed as a major breakthrough in glucose monitoring as … wait for it … patients will no longer have to “suffer painful fingersticks” to monitor their glucose levels.

It would be very easy for Diabetic Investor to remind everyone that the reason patients don’t test their glucose levels as frequently as they should has little to so with the so-called pain of fingersticks. That the reason patients don’t test as they should has more to do with the fact these patients have no idea what these numbers mean. As we have been stating this test does not yield actionable information. Yet this won’t stop researchers from their never ending quest to eliminate “painful fingersticks.”

A quest which has been going on since Diabetic Investor began publishing and will go on long after we cease publishing, which we hope is not anytime soon as we are having way too much fun.

Diabetic Investor actually has an idea which just might prove once and for all that the so-called pain of a fingerstick is not the reason patients fail to monitor their glucose as frequently as they should. Instead of funding idiotic studies about the role metformin plays in the diabetes fish population. Let’s fund a study which examines the real reason patients don’t monitor their glucose levels as frequently as they should.

Here’s our idea not only would study participants be provided with a FREE glucose monitor, they would also be provided an unlimited amount of FREE test strips. A second group could be provided a FREE continuous glucose monitoring system plus FREE sensors. The only thing that wouldn’t be provided other than instructions on how to use the meter or CGM, is any diabetes education. Basically study participants would be educated on how to use the device but nothing beyond that, which is actually as close to a real world scenario as it gets.

Now before researchers go out and waste even more money on this study allow Diabetic Investor to provide what they will find. First they will find that even when cost is removed as an obstacle to testing, conventional or continuous, patients still won’t test as frequently as they should nor will this removal of cost as an impediment to testing will we see better patient outcomes. The study will also show that for conventional testing patients frequency of testing will remain below recommended levels. That for patients using CGM, sensor usage will fall over time as even when the sensors are FREE they won’t be used as often as they should be.

Folks at some point everyone is going to realize that glucose numbers no matter how they are obtained are just that numbers, data points without any meaning. That even if there was no pain or cost associated with testing nothing will change as patients have no clue to what to do with this data. Put another way think of someone providing all the ingredients for making a cherry pie but no instructions on how to mix them together or how long to cook the pie. Left to their own devices, excuse the play on words here, the vast majority of people would simply give up trying to make the pie. The fact is patients need some direction, some education.

Frankly it sickens Diabetic Investor every time we read of yet another effort to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor – conventional or continuous. Not that we don’t think there is not a place for such a device as yes there is merit in eliminating fingersticks. However the elimination of fingersticks won’t solve the fundamental problem which is the vast majority of patients just don’t know what to do with the data no matter how it’s obtained.

Nope rather than improving patient education which is by far the most effective tool at producing better patient outcomes let’s worry about how metformin impacts fish. Is it any wonder we call this the wacky world of diabetes, OY!