2013 was a great year for KIDDs, for type 1 diabetes innovation, and for diabetes awareness in general.  My father began using the new MiniMed glucose sensor that keeps him more attuned to small changes in blood sugar levels.  Marjorie's Fund, an organization that I worked with over the summer, launched its NYC Initiative to help type 1 diabetics gain better access to medical resources,  information and support systems.  The website ASweetLife, started by a a husband and wife who thrive and live normal lives with type 1 diabetes, put out a list of the best diabetes articles of 2013.  Some relate to scientific research, and others are just touching stories sent in by people with type 1.  You can check them out here - they are definitely worth a read!! 
http://asweetlife.org/feature/the-best-diabetes-articles-of-2013/  
I can't wait to see what 2014 brings...
Happy New Year!
 
Although I was part of the planning process of the Marjorie's Fund NYC Initiative Launch, I had no idea how powerful and meaningful it would actually be until this past Saturday when the event took place.  

 
After over 20 years with the same insulin pump, and the same routine of testing his blood about 10 times a day, my dad recently decided to try a new method of glucose control.  Medtronic's MiniMed with the Enlite glucose sensor recently became FDA approved in the United States.  The sensor is injected into another part of the body and wirelessly connects with the insulin pump to continuously monitor glucose levels without having to constantly test your blood.  It also has some amazing features such as Threshold Suspend Automation, which automatically suspends insulin delivery if blood sugar levels reach a preset low.  I'm really glad that my dad will be getting one of these soon, and I know he is looking forward to having an even easier and more worry-free lifestyle with Type 1.  Check out the MiniMed 530G system at http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com   

 
This summer, I've been working with an amazing non-profit organization called Marjorie's Fund: The Type 1 Diabetes Global Initiative.  This organization was started in Africa and India, and now is being brought to New York City.  Through research and outreach, it aims to educate and prepare Type 1 Diabetics who live in resource-poor areas.  The launch of Marjorie's Fund New York City initiative is taking place on October 19th and I'm really looking forward to it! The event aims to bring young adults with Type 1 Diabetics and their loved ones from different neighborhoods together.  Anyone is welcome to attend, so check out the invitation!

 
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During the school year, I did a lot of reading for my classes, but barely any for my own enjoyment because I just didn't have the time!  But now that it's summer, I've been able to go through some great books.  One book in particular has stood out to me, and really influenced my love of science and desire to communicate what I lear.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot was gripping, informative, funny, and touching all at once.  It also reminded me of my goal for KIDDs: To make crucial information accessible so that we can empower ourselves to support our loved ones.  


 
Biotechnology, which is the application of technology to organisms in order to create useful products, was the most interesting unit that my biology class covered this year (in my opinion).  Gene therapy is an amazing subset of biotechnology that aims to eliminate genetic disorders by altering DNA.  That being said, when I came across a recent online article called "Gene Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes Aims to Eliminate Daily Insulin Injections", I was extremely interested.  Researchers at the University of Wisconsin made significant advancements towards a form of gene therapy for Type 1 Diabetes when they found a short segment of DNA that coded for insulin-producing cells in rats.  If this sequence of DNA worked in humans, and scientists found methods of inserting it into patients, people with Type 1 Diabetes would be able to make insulin themselves, rather than having to inject it.  Personally, I still have a lot of questions about this potential treatment.  Are there any long term effects that could come about from inserting new DNA?  Would the insulin-producing cells last in constant supply?  
Check out the article here, and let me know what you think about the idea!
 
As soon as I read this touching article from a website entitled "The Global Diabetes Community", I knew I had to post about it.  The article tells the story of the father of a two-year-old who was cured of his Type 1 Diabetes through two different organ transplants.  Although his first transplant failed, the doctors were not discouraged, and made room for a "new" pancreas that can produce insulin for his body.  Now, Carl Jones (no longer an insulin dependent diabetic) can lead an active life.   Although this could be a lucky case, and organ transplants are still dangerous, advances like this show that Type 1 Diabetes is continuously being researched, and that doctors are making progress towards a cure.  
Click here to read the full article!

 
I recently read an article online about a how having diabetes can affect one's relationships and ability to cope with emotional challenges.  I found this article extremely relevant because it dealt not only with diabetics, but also the people they interact with.  As the kid of a Type 1 diabetic, it was interesting to learn that studies have shown how valuable support is to decreasing stress and conflict in a diabetic's life.  The more involved a partner, parent, or even child is, they less anxiety there is surrounding the disease and its potential effects.  
Check out the full article here
 
I recently returned from a trip to Wyoming that I took with my family.  On the plane ride back, we had a layover, and when we got off the first flight, my dad couldn't find his blood tester.  A blood tester is crucial for a diabetic because it gives them an exact reading of their blood sugar level and allows them to take the appropriate amount of insulin if necessary.  Naturally, we were all worried and nervous when the blood tester was no where to be found.  My dad assured us that he would be fine, but everyone still took extra precautions.  We woke him up every 30 minutes on the flight back to New York, and always asked him how he was feeling.  The next day, after returning home, the first thing my dad did was buy an extra blood tester that either my mom, my brother, or I can carry if when we travel.  Even though it was a scary experience, now we will always be prepared if something happens in the future.  Find out if someone you know with diabetes travels with an extra blood tester! 
If you want to take an extra precaution and carry a blood tester, I recommend the OneTouch UltraMini which is extremely small and portable - my dad uses it.
 
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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently published a book entitled My Beloved World about her childhood in the Bronx.  In her book, she discloses her struggles after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of eight.  She discusses how she dreamed of being a police officer, but wasn't able to pursue the career after being diagnosed.  I'm sure becoming the first Hispanic and third female justice of the Supreme Court wasn't too disappointing! 



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