Who’s the fool here?

Who’s the fool here?

Having been around this wacky world for 20 plus years one just might think that Diabetic Investor has seen it all, that as crazy as some things appear to be we would no longer be shocked. This is particularly true when it comes to the truly wacky world of non-invasive glucose monitoring. Yes, this quest for what many believe to be the Holy Grail of diabetes devices continues unabated even though millions has been spent and so far at least there is not one single FDA approved non-invasive device on the market. The one non-invasive device which did receive FDA approval, the infamous GlucoWatch is nowhere to be found.

Diabetic Investor has chronicled numerous attempts at non-invasive glucose monitoring, both conventional and continuous. We have documented the many failures and have noted that in spite of all these well documented failures money continues to flow into this quest. We have consistently noted that if investors would perform even the slightest due diligence they would never invest their hard earned money into this projects. That even if by some miracle a company did succeed here the product would not necessarily become commercially successful.

Our mantra here has been consistent, the reason the majority of patients do not monitor their glucose levels on a regular basis has little to do with the so-called pain associated with performing the test. The reason is patients do not value the information provided by the test. They have no idea what these numbers mean, the information is not relevant or actionable. This fact would not change even if the data was gathered from a non-invasive device.

Still the mainstream media and many of the diabetes bloggers continue to eat this stuff up. They continue to report on these efforts as if one day this dream will become a reality. Unfortunately, they have something in common with the people who invest in these companies as like the investors they fail to perform even the slightest due diligence. Here is the most recent example:

“An experimental device might one day literally take the pain out of managing diabetes, Korean researchers say.

The new invention uses a patch to monitor blood sugar levels via sweat, and delivers the diabetes drug metformin through the skin with microneedles.” – This comes from the HealthDay web site.

“Over the past few years, researchers have been working on more convenient and less intrusive ways for people to monitor their diabetes. Now, a group of international researchers led by Dae-Hyeong Kim from the Institute for Basic Science in Seoul, South Korea have created a dual patch that can both monitor blood glucose levels and deliver medication that reduces high sugar levels when they occur. Their work was published today in Nature Nanotechnology.” – This from the Popular Science web site.

Now normally we would not leave the hyperlink in a post but today it does serve a purpose and we would encourage everyone to read the article from Nature Nanotechnology. We will warn everyone upfront that this is not an easy read for anyone who does not have an advanced engineering degree.  Now, in the interest of full and complete disclosure we didn’t read the whole paper as we don’t have an advanced degree of any kind. However, we do have something better, access to some the best minds in the business people who actually understand what the paper says. People who have been around glucose monitoring and have the expertise to separate fact from fiction.

This is why we weren’t surprised when our experts stated yet again that as cool and whiz bang as this sounds the damn thing has little chance of ever reaching the market. Without revealing who sent this to Diabetic Investor here is the response we got from one of our experts;

“David—these will be invented and re-invented forever, especially since will always academics need publications and newspapers need hyperbolic headlines. Fortunately, this device has two magic ingredients: graphene and tiny gold particles (although it would be better to describe the gold as “nanoparticles” and get a trifecta of buzzwords). Now, if it only had a quantum cascade laser attached, it could solve all the known problems of diabetes. The stupidest idea is to inject metformin in response to a suspected high glucose value signaled by changes in pH and temperature of sweat—someone needs a refresher course on the physiology of hyperglycemia and injected drugs to deal with it!”

Yet what really gets under our skin, and yes the play on words here is intentional, is how lazy the mainstream media can be. Even worse however is the fact that some respected diabetes bloggers reported on this without doing any fact checking whatsoever. Listen we can understand the lack of due diligence by the mainstream media for as our expert correctly notes newspapers and web sites just love articles with attention grabbing headlines about way cool whiz bang technology. What we cannot understand is why any diabetes blogger would act so shamefully. Do they not owe it to their readers to reach out to these experts before reporting? Simply put this lack of due diligence is shameful.

Still this isn’t the first nor will it be the last time that diabetes bloggers have reported on way cool whiz bang technology without investigating whether the damn thing works. What’s even crazier here is that many of these bloggers are also patients, like Diabetic Investor they live each day with diabetes.  Given this fact one just might think they would seek out experts, to ask questions – it’s not as if Diabetic Investor is the only publication with access to these experts. As Momma Kliff used to say they should know better. Or as we like to say better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.