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Survey: Two-thirds of Type 1 diabetics don’t use blood glucose meters to download data

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO – Almost 70% of adults with Type 1 diabetes never use their blood glucose self-monitoring devices or insulin pumps to download historical data about their blood-sugar levels and insulin doses — information that likely would help them manage their disease better. These new survey results, which were presented Sunday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago, also found that only 12% of patients regularly review their past glucose and insulin pump data at home.

“This research highlights the fact that these devices used to manage Type 1 diabetes are not being used to their full potential,” said Jenise Wong, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant adjunct professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “These devices can be useful not only for real-time disease self-management, but also in helping to review past data to guide future treatment decision-making.”

Glucose-monitoring devices include continuous glucose monitors, which automatically measure blood-sugar levels every few minutes via a sensor inserted under the skin, and blood=glucose meters, used with a fingerstick drop of blood. People with diabetes also use insulin pumps to deliver basal insulin and insulin boluses for high blood-sugar levels or when they eat carbohydrates. These devices typically collect and store information, such as the response of glucose levels to physical activity and food, as well as the individual’s carbohydrate intake and insulin doses. Most insulin-dependent patients use the information displayed on the screen to make immediate decisions about insulin dosing, according to Wong.

She said many healthcare providers encourage their diabetic patients to download the information from their devices to their computers and look at the data collected for the past few days, weeks or months. “However, we know very little about how often people with Type 1 diabetes look at their past data on their own between visits with their providers,” Wong said.

Through an online survey, Wong and her colleagues asked 155 adults with Type 1 diabetes how often they download the past data from their glucose-monitoring devices. Seventy-seven survey participants were men, and 78 were women, and their average age was 34.5 years. 

Nearly all subjects used a glucose meter, and many used more than one device. A total of 106 individuals used an insulin pump, which either communicated with a glucose meter or allowed the user to manually enter glucose values from a glucose meter. Forty-three used continuous glucose monitors.

The researchers found that only 31% of survey respondents (48-of =0154) reported ever downloading past data from their devices at home. Even fewer did so four or more times a year and actually read the information before giving it to their healthcare provider: 12%, or 18-of-154 participants. Users of continuous glucose monitors regularly downloaded and reviewed their data more often than users of the other devices: 28% versus 5% to 7%.

Older adults also were more likely to download their past data, Wong said. For every decade increase in age, there was 1.5 times the chance of the patient downloading and reviewing data from any device. 

“Future studies are needed to understand why people with Type 1 diabetes rarely look at past data from their blood-glucose monitoring devices,” she said.

Few diabetes devices work with smartphones. Wong speculated that patients might find it too technically complicated to download and review the data, or they might not find the data helpful or may not understand how to use the past data to help them manage their diabetes in the future.

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Study: Soy protein does not reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO, Ill. — Soy protein supplements, which contain natural estrogens, do not reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes who already have borderline-low testosterone, according to a new study. The results were presented Saturday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

“Because soy contains phytoestrogens that are similar to the female hormone estrogen, it was not known whether consumption of soy could reduce testosterone levels in men with Type 2 diabetes, who are at increased risk of low testosterone,” stated the study’s lead investigator, Thozhukat Sathyapalan, an endocrinologist researcher at Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom.

“It was important to know this because prior studies have found that daily consumption of soy reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Our study found that soy protein and phytoestrogen supplementation is safe in diabetic men and may improve their diabetes control and their risk factors for heart disease.” 

Their study included 210 men ages 55 years to 70 years who had Type 2 diabetes and a borderline-low total testosterone level: less than or equal to 12 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or 345.8 nanograms per deciliter. For three months, the men ate two cereal bars a day, each containing 30 g of soy protein. The bars in one group of 100 men contained 66 mg of soy phytoestrogens, which is equivalent to the amount in soy supplements or in a typical Southeast Asian diet. The second group of 100 men received soy protein bars in which phytoestrogens were removed. Patients were asked to avoid eating foods containing soy.

The men had testosterone blood tests before and after treatment at the same time of day. Both groups experienced an increase in total testosterone level, the investigators reported. On average, testosterone level increased from 9.8 nmol/L to 11.3 nmol/L in the soy protein-phytoestrogen group and from 9.2 nmol/L to 10.3 nmol/L in the group receiving only soy protein.

Sathyapalan said it is unclear why testosterone levels rose, but it could be a direct effect of soy.

Soy protein with phytoestrogens also improved diabetes control much better than did soy protein alone. Specifically, the first group significantly lowered their fasting blood glucose (sugar) levels and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood-sugar control over the past three months, as well as fasting insulin levels and estimated insulin resistance, which showed an improved use of the hormone insulin. Neither group lost or gained weight, according to Sathyapalan.

In addition, the phytoestrogen-containing soy protein reportedly led to better improvements in certain cardiovascular risk factors, he said. These included triglycerides — a type of fat in the blood — and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, which measures inflammation in the body and is a predictor of heart disease risk. Total cholesterol and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels rose (i.e., worsened) in both groups but not enough to be statistically significant, according to Sathyapalan.

Both soy protein supplements significantly improved diastolic blood pressure (i.e., the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) but not systolic blood pressure (i.e., the top number).

 

 

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Performance Health acquires TheraPearl

BY Ryan Chavis

AKRON, Ohio — Performance Health, the manufacturer and marketer behind TheraBand, Biofreeze, Perform, Cramer, Bon Vital’ and Hygenic products, last week announced that it acquired TheraPearl, the creator of hot and cold therapy products.

“TheraPearl brings proven strength and additional scale to our emerging retail business,” stated Marshall Dahneke, president and CEO of Performance Health. “The alignment for us is both natural and exciting as Performance Health is well-positioned to introduce and promote TheraPearl’s unique portfolio more broadly while TheraPearls’s emphasis on resolving pain and promoting wellness is entirely aligned with our other key brands. Combining their strengths and momentum with the rest of our business will lead to better and more comprehensive solutions for all of the customers we serve.”

TheraPearl recently ranked 41st on Forbe’s list of most promising companies. The company will continue to operate from its headquarters in Maryland.

“TheraPearl is excited to join Performance Health and its portfolio of brands that share the common goal of offering innovative wellness products,” said Daniel Baumwald, president of TheraPearl. “In just six years, TheraPearl has experienced substantial growth by developing a successful product pipeline that appeals to both retailers and consumers. As part of Performance Health, we hope to continue that growth by gaining greater access to channels that reach the healthcare practitioner community.”

 

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