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Friday, January 09, 2009

ADA Accomplishments in 2008

The ADA has just posted this review of their achievements in 2008 on their web-site:

In Diabetes Today 08-JAN-2009
American Diabetes Association Reflects on 2008 Accomplishments in the Fight Against Diabetes and Looks Ahead to Challenges in 2009

I read the whole thing through carefully. Unfortunately, the accomplishments I was looking for weren't in it. I read it twice to be sure.

What they did include as headlines were:

Research Funding
Fighting Discrimination Against People with Diabetes
Health Reform
Creating A Healthy Environment
Those are all necessary and highly laudable achievements. I have nothing but praise for all of those involved in those areas. But that is a very limited list to my mind.

These are the headlines I missed:

"America's average A1c of diagnosed diabetics reduced significantly."or "Mortality rate of diabetics reduced."or "Rates of long-term complications reduced in diabetics."or "Fewer people with metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes."

I didn't see anything remotely like those. Those, or similar accomplishments, are the headlines that would indicate to me that the ADA is making a real and significant difference to the diabetics of the world, or at least of America.

I searched again, but all I could find was:

"Since 1987, the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent"

Maybe I'm too simple to understand these things, but isn't that trend heading in the wrong direction? And at a rather high rate?

If beating the medical afflictions of the world was a team sport and the ADA was the most highly funded team in the Diabetes Division, don't you think that by now the fans would be screaming for a review of the team's aims, methods and tactics? Hopefully the recent change in coach will bear fruit.

They note that in "in 2008, the American Diabetes Association provided $42.5 million toward funding research to combat type 1 and type 2 diabetes in people of all ages and races."
How much of that money came from big Pharma ? Most. How much of that money went to discover the optimum SMBG testing and dietary regimen for type 2 diabetes? Any? I doubt it.

On a more optimistic note, back when I wrote Money, Medications and Motives, the ADA FY06 Corporate Recognition Program included several major grains, food and beverage companies. That link no longer works and I could not find the same level of sponsorship from that industry group on the present Become a Corporate Supporter page (although it is still top-heavy with Big Pharma). I hope that is a sign from the new coach of things to come and not just poor search techniques on my part.

In that case I applaud the changes that are occurring and I hope they continue into other areas such as the focus for research funding. Maybe some day I will start to see the headlines I missed today.

Cheers, Alan


Margie's Musings said...

I couldn't agree more, Alan. With the epidemic in diabetes, you would think government would be pushing for a cure...or at least a cause for the epidemic.

Anonymous said...

Amen! Reboot ADA!

Trinkwasser said...

Put it this way, at least they have changed their recommendations marginally with respect to Type 2 diets, which is considerably more than DUK have done. Er, not a lot for all that money eh? At least they could unhide Gannon and Nuttall's papers, they were money well spent

Anonymous said...


I think you will find what Dr. Hadler has to say is interesting. I recommend his book, Worried Sick.

I have always thought that the large "disease" organizations exist mainly to keep themselves funded and pay nice salaries to their executives. Well, they do put out lots of nice pamphlets, too. However, it doesn't seem that they do much else.

Alan said...

Anonymous, although I criticise the ADA at times I don't deny the value of the organisation to the level you do. I'm not quite that cynical, so I differ with you there.

Much of Dr Hadler's overall philosophy I agree with. On his specifics I don't. I do agree that statins are grossly over-prescribed and cause much harm with unproven benefits, but on blood glucose levels I disagree. There are many studies showing the dangers posed by high levels; EPIC-Norfolk immediately springs to mind but there are many others.

Where I agree with Dr Hadler is that I do not think over-medication is the way to correct high BGs. Diet, adjusted by feedback from testing, together with moderate exercise should be the primary treatment with medications used only when necessary to complement that primary treatment.

Ashley said...

Hi Alan,
I couldn't seem to find your e-mail address, so I'll have to contact you through a comment!
I have some information about an upcoming study for Type 2 diabetes.

Would you be willing to take a short survey, or maybe post a link to it on your blog? The survey is anonymous, but should you or any of your readers choose to leave an email address you can learn more about this upcoming diabetes clinical study when it is ready to accept participants. By clicking on the following link or copying and pasting it into your browser, you will be connected to the questions: www.DiabetesCareStudy.com.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback!

Thanks for your time,

Alan said...

I'va approved the previous comment for publication, just in case it is useful to someone. However please note that is not an endorsement.

I completed 7/8 of the survey, then closed the page. The survey may be anonymous but it is obviously intended to assist in selection of participants in a new clinical study of a medication. Some of the questions are personal and detailed. If you decide to participate in the survey or the study, that is entirely up to you.

Cheers, Alan

Trinkwasser said...

As it stands, the side effects of Dr Hadler would be worse than some of the side effects of the drugs he decries.

He *might* have a bit of a point though if he conceded what a lot of other doctors and researchers are finding - the medication is being used to counter the effects of toxic levels of carbs

("Toxic" may be a third or less of what your dietician recommends)

Robert Miles said...

Did they fund any research for other types of diabetes, such as:

gestational diabetes
double diabetes (also known as type 1.5)
monogenic diabetes
the type often associated with hemochromatosis

Assorted types mentioned here:



What about any type where gastroparesis is also present?