Featured Interview

My guest is Chrystal from L.A.. She is just one of many positive diabetics making a huge difference in the diabetes community. She is a chemist, and diabetic activist. After Chrystal's diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in November 2007, she created SexyDiabetic.com; and donates a good portion of her time connecting and sharing experiences, both inside and outside the online diabetic communities.

Chrystal has shared with us her personal experiences living with diabetes; her role in the diabetic community; some of her current diabetic project she's working on during black history month.

We talked about some of the struggles we we face, getting the African American communities and all other people of color educated on the dangers of diabetes; as well as the fears and discrimination that still exist for diabetics today.

Click here to listen with your default media player

Richard A. Vaugn

For 2012 I thought it would be wonderful to start the year off with a positive interview!

My guest is Richard A Vaughn. He has written an awesome book called "Beating The Odds - 64 years of Diabetes Health". In this book, he takes us on a journey through his diabetic life.

From the moment he was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 6, all the way up through completing his masters degree, @ a time when people thought diabetics shouldn't go to college (because diabetes was considered a disability then).

Richard also talks about his wonderful family and grand children, in addition to participating in the Joslin Medalist Study, funded by the JDRF & National Institute of health..

Richard is definitely an inspiration to us all. He has showed us insulin dependent people, how to live healthy emotionally & physically by example, with either no, or the least amount of complications possible; coming from a time when life expectancy for a diabetic was no later than 40 years old.


Click here to listen with your default audio player!


You can purchase Richard's book by clicking on the graphic of his book below.

February 2019
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Diabetic PlayList


What's in your headphones? We all know how important exercise is to any diabetic, however, the music you exercise to is also just as important too! Music can make the difference between a 3 minute workout, and a 30 minute workout. Personally, I am an oldies guy, and my musical tastes are pretty eclectic and diverse. The above playlist consist of music I am listening to on my Anddroid when I exercise or power-walk. As my mood changes, so shall the playlist.


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Socks4Life is working hard to inform their customers about diabetes.
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Hello everyone,

We are fast approaching the new year, and I just wanted to take the time to reflect, and to also talk about my new photography blog. Unfortunately, because most people appear to be more interested in gossiping about me all damn day long , rather than asking me personally the questions they want answered directly (then again, I guess you wouldn’t, because you’re gossipers),  my site has been an excellent tool to convey my thoughts to both all the very nosy ass busybodies, as well as those that are genuinely concerned for my welfare and well being. I’d like to say that, as I look forward to the coming  year of 2014, it will include some big changes for me emotionally and psychologically.

It was really unfortunate, and unacceptable that I had to go through the majority  of my roughest and toughest times of my life alone. Yet a slew of people really feel they’re at liberty to say “they know me”?. People use the word “friend” too loosely, and really need take a minute to evaluate what a friend means. You also should watch the behaviors of people you call your friends. Organizations that claim to help others, need to reevaluate whether you’re actually helping, or are the individuals just there to participate in office politics, gossip & drama? This includes hospitals, many of you need to practice some professionalism, especially since most of you would not like a taste of your own medicine. Many of the things I’ve talked about are basic 101 knowledge guys! What’s the problem? I digress.. This has proven to me many times over, that people are more interested telling you what they think, way before they are open to listening. I really don’t understand how so many have adopted a habit of not only immediately disagreeing with someone, but dismissing the other person’s thoughts with no solid foundation or facts for that disagreement other than your own personal belief? You got to be kidding me? is that the best you can come up with?  I don’t know what the hell is in some people’s heads, but that isn’t what being a friend/help means. Anyway, however, looking back in retrospect, my life’s trials and tribulation was the very cleansing and detoxification I needed, to free my spirit from society’s hooks of conformity, hate, prejudice, and a host of other ills. I guess this was one of those things I had to go through alone. Still sucks though….

Unfortunately, as a result of many of the traumatic experience I had in the last 4+ years, I have decided that diabeticradio is over. There are many resources you can learn about diabetes on your own (that is if you really care to know). However, I will continue to leave all of my old content available to those that are interested. My ownership expires in 2020, you better get all the information you can from there, because I probably will NOT be renewing the domain. After that, you’ll just have Youtube to find my old videos. I cannot compete with beliefs, and many people’s unwillingness to at least read and diligently investigate. VintageNewscast will of course remain active. Without getting long winded, I hope that next year will be the year that many of you start to look in the mirror, and hold yourselves accountable for your deeds, and how you treat people.

2014 will be my year to focus on me and my (long overdue) photographic art. I didn’t plan on building another website; however, I realized photography really is an entirely different subject all together, so I really needed to create an entirely new site. My new site is called ShadesOfSepia, which I think is a perfect name to represent the classic tone to my photography.  I probably will not begin to add content until shortly after the new year.

ShadesOfSepia will be a place to not only display my vintage inspired photographic creations, but show any historic trips around NYC; share my resources for Photoshop & Paintshop freebies, links to other great art, and more. Through my new photographic journey, as I cross paths with friendly and knowledgeable photographers willing to share their wisdom, I will share them on the site; as well as my own. ShadesOfSepia does not require anybody’s beliefs or validations. Either you like my art or you don’t; but hopefully most can appreciate my uniqueness, ’cause this is the essence of what art truly is…. Our uniqueness, and our ability to express our uniqueness through art. It’s not about “the one and only technique”, it’s not about only “only using one software”, and it’s not about carving out the same o’l gingerbread cookies over and over and over again.



I had this article saved for awhile and forgot to post it. Do you remember the article I’ve written awhile about ketoacidosis, and mentioned Madeline Kara Neumann? I’ve also posted some news coverage obtained via Youtube. Well, to make a long story short, instead of taking their daughter to the emergency room, like any good loving parent would; both parents decided to pray over their child instead of calling the ambulance. Their daughter Madeline died as a result of undiagnosed diabetes. The religious has long been protected by the law for these kinds of stupidity, and this shift in the court system was a long time coming. To bad thousands had to day before this change happened. Both parents were rightfully convicted of murdering their children. You can believe what you want to believe about *God etc. But this is a perfect example NOT to impose your belief on others, because now it is not *Gods will, it’s your will. Read the story here.


preventing-the-flu-623x289-2This is the time of year were diabetics need to be most careful (older – elderly diabetics in particular). A diabetic having a cold or flu can become be very dangerous for many diabetics. Unfortunately, cold’s and flu’s are so common that we don’t often think it as possibly being dangerous; but it can. High blood sugars and flu, bronchitis,cold, rising sugars, etc, are not good combinations at all. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, there exist many things that can cause your blood sugars to rise.  The one things we americans often overlook is stress, and having a major cold and flu is a form of stress to the body. It is important that diabetics have a game plan ready should we get sick, because high blood sugars can not only prolong sickness, it can actually make it exponentially worse.

For people who are insulin dependent (regardless if your type 1 or 2), Speaking for myself, when I have a major flu, or worse (something like pneumonia), my internal blood sugar sensors are always out of whack! In other words, depending on the severity of the flu & combined symptoms such as headaches, stuffy nose and sinus, etc, my body can no longer sense when my blood sugars are high or low, which I think is the most dangerous part of being sick. For this reason, at least ONE person in your immediate surroundings should know your diabetic (just an opinion, I know this is a touchy with some diabetics), or at least bear minimum wear a medic ID under your shirt. It is EXTREMELY important that you do not waver in terms of testing your blood sugar while your sick.

3.25flu-1As always, make sure your drinking PLENTY of hot fluids, it is one of the best ways to chase the cold away. However, there are a few important things i’d like to remind my readers about concerning liquids. I think it’s safe to say that, it is common knowledge that chicken soup appears to be most effective in helping to get rid of colds. But many soups (especially the good tasting soups unfortunately), does usually contain heavy sodium content. If you consume too much sodium while your ill, this too can make your situation worse; the reason being is the sodium will raise your blood pressure, and if you also have high sugars, it can turn small headaches in to an unmeasurable & madding migraine.

If you have a sore throat, the cough drops (yes even most “sugar-free” drops) contain sugar. Although they may contain low amounts of carbs, the carbs can easily add up in an hour or two, thus monitoring your blood sugars are essential. Also, keep in mind that many of these “sugar-free” cough suppressants can contain sorbitol, which will keep you running to the bathroom for hours. It may be best to just stay away from “sugar-free” drops, and just use the regular one (of course unless your doctor says otherwise).

It is recommended that we get flu shots every year, although sometimes I still get colds, they generally aren’t as bad when I get the shot. Talk to your doctor about a sick game plan tailored to your lifestyle and individual circumstance. It really helps when you are prepared.

© 2012 Yogi/DiabeticRadio.com


I’m starting to really like this guy! He gives a lot of great information. In this video, he goes into detail about exercising and insulin (from his personal experience). I would like to add that I’d wish he’d talked about the Dexcom. Wearing any kind of CGM really makes exercising a lot easier in terms of monitoring our sugars; something that non diabetics never have to worry about.

Last week, Katie invited Mrs. Ross, and myself as guest speakers to a mini conference, held at Hunter College School of Social Work, located here in NYC. The goal of the mini conference was to help enlighten future social workers, on the real life challenges that many people with disabilities face. Primarily, we talked about the various levels of discrimination, that exist for both people with diabetes and mental illness.

Because the purpose of the conference was to inform social workers, and since so much personal information was shared amongst us, we were all bound to a privacy disclosure. Therefore, out of respect to all those involved, I will not release my entire digital/audio recording of this event. I am still searching through what may be “publishable”.

I’ll be honest, at first I was kinda shocked, because personally, I never ever considered my diabetes to be a disability. However, during my participation, I’ve learned that the word disability can have numerous meanings in certain situations (including legal).

A perfect example of this is Medicaid. One participant explained that she was not approved for medicaid, despite the fact she proved she could not afford her diabetes supplies, they denied her. Another participant shared that, if she’d mentioned that she had type 1 diabetes at the time of her Medicaid hearing, she would have been approved on the spot! However, it also shows a perfect example of the kinds gross discrimination that people of type 2 face every single day, in addition to lack of diabetic awareness amongst the general society (other than what we see on TV).

I’ve also learned that the word disability is a very loaded word; because it’s not just the technical definition of the word, but also the collective and social definition of the word disability; by the images we see that determine what a disability “looks like”.

Meriam Dictionary – Disabled: incapacitated by illness or injury; also : physically or mentally impaired in a way that substantially limits activity especially in relation to employment or education.

Dictionary.com – Disability: 1,  lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability; incapacity. 2, a physical or mental handicap, especially one that prevents a person from living a full, normal life or from holding a gainful job. 3, anything that disables or puts one at a disadvantage: His mere six-foot height will be a disability in professional basketball.

Oxford Dictionary – Disability:  A physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities:children with severe physical disabilities.

For many of us with “disabilities”, the above definitions do not apply to all of us. Should these definitions be updated to include the growing and unique circumstances of diabetics & people with mental illness?

In my opinion, these definitions should include the kind of disability that cannot be seen. I’ve learned over the years that there are many “functional mentally ill” patients, as well as very healthy diabetics (without complications). Yet, the mixed messages, and half truths we get from the media concerning diabetes, has so many confused and misinformed. Currently there are 350+ million people with diabetes around the world, 10% of that figure are type 1 diabetics, that’s about 35 million type 1 diabetics (and growing) of ALL shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicity, and cultures around the world. Yet, type 1 people suffer greatly, because all the media focus is on type 2.

There are times when I personally believe that the very “perception” of a said disability, IS a disability on to itself. The idea that a person can feel it’s appropriate to pre-judge other people’s capability, and even qualification  based on what they “think” they know about said condition, is part of what’s crippling us as a society in my humble opinion. The worse part, is when some of these same persons try and take their “perceptions”, and convert them to self-made facts that are insubstantial.

© 2011 DiabeticRadio.com

I’ll try to put this in layman’s terms; a percentage of fats, proteins and carbohydrates gets broken down into glucose (carbohydrate are the bulk of incoming sugars). In terms of diabetes, when we talk about sugar/carbohydrates, it is common that most people would think of candy and sweets. However, in actuality the same carbs that’s in candy, are also in apples, carrots, pasta, rice, etc. Sugar exist in almost every single thing we consume each day, it is impossible to avoid.

This nutrition label is based on two large oranges, taken from Calorie King's website. As you can see, these oranges has more sugar than one pack of plain old fashioned Twinkies (which is about 24-30 carbs) We need to focus on quality carbohydrates. calorieking.com

Although not the sole cause, but a huge contributor of type 2 diabetes, are what I call “empty sugars”. Empty sugars to me are basically foods that contain sugars with no nutritional value. Two average sized oranges can actually contain more sugar than a 1 pack of 2 traditional Twinkies cakes, yet, oranges are enriched with immune boosting vitamin C. Sugars aren’t the “bad” stuff. Sugars are really what the body uses to sustain life!! But if you consistently consume empty carbs, such as things that have processed sugars (ie, cakes, microwavables, canned foods), your not giving your body the nutrition it needs to rebuild itself. Glucose is the energy your body needs to live, but overall good nutrition are the building blocks of life. Without decent nutrition, your body cannot regenerate cells to heal wounds, fight bacteria, metabolize sugar properly, or keep vital organs functional.

Your liver shares the responsibility of regulating blood sugar, and in essence, produces the glucose your body needs to survive. During the digestion process, the liver also stores about 8-12 hours worth of glucose to be used as reserves. Before Glucose is stored in the liver, it is converted into glycogen. Throughout the day, your liver breaks down that reserved glycogen back in to glucose, and delivers small amounts of now sugar in to the blood stream. This keeps your body functional.

Sensing the presence of  glucose, the pancreas’s beta cells release insulin to help glucose enter your body’s millions of cells for energy. As a result of these processes, both the liver and the pancreas together help regulate your blood sugars and keep them at safe levels.

The pancreas and liver are extremely important, because it protects your body from accumulating high sugar levels in the body. If high glucose levels occur, the body will try to use expel this excess sugar by way of urination (which is the reason for the heavy thirst). Over time if not corrected, will start to damage vital organs, such as kidneys and heart, as well as a host of other complications.

Every single body movement, heartbeat, exercise, and even mental thoughts, require glucose to function normally. The brain uses a large portion of daily glucose, because it is the central processing unit. This is one of the reasons why, if your glucose levels are too low, confusion often sets in. Your brain absolutely cannot perform with low glucose. Your brain would be literally in competition with the rest of your body for glucose.

References: EHow,

© 2010 DiabeticRadio.com

Researchers studied the prevalence of heart disease and stroke in four ethnic groups: whites, Chinese, South Asians and blacks all living in Ontario province, Canada.

Cardiovascular disease kills some 17 million people each year, and about 80 percent of these deaths occur in the developing world. Not every country is affected equally. But when scientists study populations in different countries, their results are influenced by a mix of culture, environment, and genetics.

A new study tries to sort out some of those factors.

A closer look at four ethnic groups

Researcher Maria Chiu and her colleagues studied the prevalence of heart disease and stroke in four ethnic groups: whites, Chinese, South Asians and blacks all living in Ontario province, Canada. They used data collected in national and community health surveys from 1996 to 2007.

Although all were living in the same place and had access to universal healthcare, Chiu found striking differences. Her analysis showed that more than one in 20 South Asians suffered from heart diseases, compared to around only one in 30 among the Chinese and black populations.

Chiu notes that those three ethnic and racial groups comprise 60 percent of the world population. “So it is important that we understand how these groups are, in terms of their heart health. And this study in Canada allows us to do that in a more controlled environment where everyone is living within the same physical environment as well as having access to universal healthcare.”

Chiu also looked at the prevalence of eight risk factors for heart disease and stroke, including smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. These also differed significantly from group to group. For instance, whites were three times more likely to smoke than Chinese and South Asians. And South Asians and blacks were twice as likely to suffer from diabetes as members of the other two groups.

“Our study did not look at the causes for these risk factors being high and low,” Chiu explains. “It was important that we reported that they were high and low, and the next step would be to understanding why.”

Implications for policy makers

Chiu says her research raises important questions. And the answers will likely draw from a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, cultural factors and socioeconomic status.

Chiu also said her research has important planning implications for policy makers. “For example, if we know from the study that diabetes is twice as prevalent among the blacks and the South Asian populations, and we know that the South Asian and the black populations are going to double or triple within the next 20 years, then our projections for our health care needs in the future, which currently are predominantly based on the white population, will be grossly underestimating our needs.”

Maria Chiu’s research is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

© 2010 VOA

A new study released by the Registrar General of India indicates that obesity-related diseases have joined malnutrition as leading causes of death.

As India’s economy grows, so does the temptation for many people to eat more and do less. Tired and home late? Fatty food is just a phone call away.

Overweight, but eager to get married? Now there’s overweightshadi.com, an Indian dating site exclusively for obese people.

In a country where the Global Hunger Index shows that nearly half of all children are malnourished, many of India’s well-off citizens are now seeking treatment for obesity.

New Delhi-based business professional Aradhna Tripathi admits she loves to eat. “Eating is the most important thing in any Indian household and how you show your love and gratitude for a person is through the kind of food you serve him,” she said. “Indian people are used to eating the kinds of foods cooked at home that are filled with masala and oil. With the kind of sedentary lifestyle we lead, these are the reasons we have obesity increasing. “

India’s current National Family Health Survey indicates that more than 20 percent of urban Indians are overweight or obese. And in the northwestern state of Punjab, nearly 40 percent of all women are overweight or obese.

Tripathi says she was inspired to lose weight after contracting gestational diabetes during her recent pregnancy. Her mother and grandmother are both diabetic.

More and more Indians are signing up for weight loss programs out of fear of disease, says Vandana Luthra, managing director of VLCC, a global slimming agency based in India. “Earlier it was more of a luxury going to a spa or wellness center, but today it has become a necessity,” she said.

New data released by the International Diabetes Federation shows every sixth diabetic in the world is an Indian – earning India the title “the world’s diabetes capital.” Research over the past decade shows that genetically, Indians store more body fat per kilogram than Europeans. Leading health professionals agree, obesity puts Indians at an even greater risk of getting diabetes.

This risk is now crossing socioeconomic lines, says Dr. Anoop Misra director of diabetes and metabolic disease at New Delhi’s Fortis Hospital.

He says five years ago obesity and diabetes were limited to India’s most affluent. But, now poor Indians also are getting fatter. “We thought we’d find all malnutrition, but what we found was the paradox. Many people were thin and undernourished. The other side was many were fat and some of these belonged to the poorest section of this slum. This was a clear contrast, a paradox occurring in the same community. Half people overnourished, half undernourished,” he said. He blames the rise in obesity on inexpensive and oily snacks popular in Indian slums, and a lack of preventative education.

China is not too far behind India. The World Health Organization says China’s obesity rates hover at 5 percent, and almost 20 percent in select cities. But Dr. Misra says China is better equipped to contain the epidemic because it can employ uniform prevention efforts in schools. India has a more heterogeneous mix of government and private schools.

Despite that, Dr. Misra says he is optimistic that India’s obesity epidemic can be curbed. “It is the schools that we have to concentrate upon, it is the children that we have to concentrate upon. And if it a uniform physical activity and discipline dietary instructions are given right to the children I’m sure that it can be curbed,” he stated.

© 2010 VOA

Mary Beth Eilders walks at Pecatonica River Forest Preserve. Photo by: AMY J. CORRENTI | RRSTAR

Mary Beth Eilders knew lifestyle changes were in order. The German Valley, Ill., resident didn’t exercise with any consistency, smoked up to a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years and, at one point, weighed 240 pounds.

She quit smoking nearly 10 years ago. And two years ago, Eilders, a high school business teacher, started walking to complement changes she had made in her diet.

These days, the 44-year-old mother of four feels like a different person, thanks to her daily walks. She prefers walking outdoors, but during winter months, she sticks to a treadmill in her home.

The results? Eilders has shed more than 100 pounds and recently completed her first 5K run. “I can’t tell you how good it feels,” she said.

“Women have to give themselves permission to exercise,” she said. “We sometimes feel guilty taking time away from other things, like getting kids ready for school, making lunches … but it’s important we take time for ourselves.”

Christy Eldridge, outpatient rehabilitation manager for OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill., said walking is important for several reasons: It helps increase confidence, strengthens the heart and decreases the risk of disease.

“Walking is the most overlooked form of exercise,” she said. “It’s a gentle exercise, most folks can do it, and it’s available to everyone. It’s a functional activity; it’s something that helps people do what they do every day and do it better.”

Thinking about starting a walking program? Here are some tips:

- To stay fit and healthy, set a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day.

- Record your mileage, keep a journal and constantly reassess your goals.

- Buy a pedometer. It keeps you accountable.

- Change your routine: Frequently change when you walk, where you walk and who you walk with.

- If you can’t squeeze in 30 minutes at a time, break up your daily walk into three 10-minute intervals.

Rockford Woman (Rockford Register Star)

Dr. Murray Feingold, MetroWest Daily News health columnist

By Dr. Murray Feingold

Recently, I stopped at a drug store to buy a newspaper and strolled by the pharmacy counter. There was a long line of people waiting to pick up their prescriptions. And they weren’t all oldsters.

Looking at all of these people brought to mind a concern I have regarding the huge number of people who are taking medications.

What will they do if there is some type of disaster and there is no way for them to get their meds? To my knowledge there are no solid back-up plans to address this potentially serious issue.

How many of these people really need all of the medications they are taking?

Studies have shown that we are an overmedicated society.

Approximately 75 percent of all adults take at least one prescription drug. During the past 10 years the number of people taking a medication for diabetes or high blood pressure has increased by 75 percent. The number of prescriptions for antidepressants has increased by 50 percent.

The cost for all these medications is staggering. One estimate is that it costs close to $15 billion a year.

Medical progress is responsible for a great deal of the problem. Because of medical advances, people are living much longer and about a third or more of all medications are prescribed for this group.

The drug industry continues to produce newer, more effective medications that are usually quite expensive.

Today, more drugs are frequently used to treat an illness. For example, some people with hypertension are now taking three or four medications instead of one or two.

Years ago there were no statin drugs such as Lipitor or Zocor. Now, probably the majority of senior citizens are taking some type of statin medication.

During the recent debate on health care, because of the financial burden the cost of medications has placed on our economy, there were rumblings of limiting medications for our senior citizens.

It is obvious that we cannot continue on the present path regarding medications. Changes need to be made.

One thing is certain, there will be more intervention by the federal government – the automobile industry comes to mind.

Also, there will be increased limitations on the medications patients will be able to take.

Doctors will also encounter more paperwork if they want to prescribe drugs that are not on federal or third party-approved lists.

Consider today the glory days as far as getting your medications because tomorrow will be a much different story.

Massachusetts-based Dr. Murray Feingold is the physician in chief of the National Birth Defects Center, medical editor of WBZ-TV and WBZ radio, and president of the Genesis Fund. The Genesis Fund is a nonprofit organization that funds the care of children born with birth defects, mental retardation and genetic diseases.

Copyright 2010 Allston/Brighton TAB. Some rights reserved

The National Institutes of Health, America’s federally-funded medical research organization, is spearheading efforts to establish chronic disease centers in 11 developing countries, where illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease have become bigger killers than infectious disease.

Chronic, lifestyle-related diseases caused by excessive fast-food consumption and lack of exercise now account for an estimated 60 percent of deaths in developing countries. That is a public health toll greater than that of parasitic diseases, which are also a leading cause of illness and death in the poorest countries.

If nothing is done to stop the trend, experts say that by 2015, 41 million people around the world will succumb each year to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, with half of the victims younger than 70 years of age.

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is helping to establish chronic disease centers in 11 countries, including India, China, Guatemala, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and at the U.S.-Mexico border. The centers’ mission will be to educate people about chronic illnesses and to help treat patients.

Richard Smith, Director of the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative in London, which is partnering with the U.S. health institute, says there has been a steady increase in chronic illnesses in developing countries as people move to cities and adopt Western lifestyles.

“And now, these diseases are far and away the biggest killers in all countries nearly, apart from sub-Saharan Africa,” said Richard Smith. “And even soon in sub-Saharan Africa, they will be the major killers.”

Smith says the World Health Organization has attempted to coordinate a response to the problems of chronic illnesses. But, he says, most of the money earmarked by donor countries for chronic disease programs has gone toward fighting infectious disease.

“But we need to begin to respond to the problem of chronic disease,” he said. “And really this collaboration that we have with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is really one of the first programs where serious amounts of resources have been put into beginning to develop programs to try and at the very least slow down this pandemic and preferably begin to turn it around.”

In addition to developing education and treatment programs, Smith says the new centers will conduct clinical trials of drugs to treat chronic illness.

Elizabeth Nabel, Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, says the centers are being established at hospitals, academic centers and universities.

“They will be developing surveillance and prevention measures to monitor chronic disease situations in their countries,” said Elizabeth Nabel. “So it is most appropriate as they develop these methods to work closely with the ministry of health in their country to develop public health measures.”

The U.S. National Institutes of Health is providing $26 million in start-up money for the five year program, which was announced this week in the medical journal The Lancet.

© 2010 VOA

Here is sobering news. The World Health Organization says more than one billion adults are fat, and at least 400 million people are obese. As old fashioned as it sounds, doctors say the best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. But for women who are middle aged or older, experts say one hour of daily exercise per day is necessary just to maintain weight. The heavier a woman is, the harder she will have to work – at cutting calories.

Life’s just not fair. Biologically speaking, women carry more body fat than men. They require fewer calories than men. For most men and women, fitting in an hour of moderately intense exercise in an already hectic day is difficult, if not impossible. But for many women, most hours are already filled with a full-time job and raising a family. At the end of the day, at least in the U.S., there is little incentive to prepare a real dinner when fast food is so available – and so much more fattening. But some women working out at a Boston gym say they would be willing to wedge that hourly workout into their day. “I would be willing to do it if it was going to maintain my weight and keep my health,” Jane Davern said. “All right, I would do it,” Jean Holmes states. “I would exercise to maintain my body weight, yes.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the percentage of overweight Americans increased 60 percent between 1991 and 2000. The World Health Organization says more than one billion adults in other nations are in the same shape. While there is advice aplenty on how to lose pounds or kilograms, a new study focuses on middle aged and older women who maintain normal body weight, or BMI (Body Mass Index) and do not diet. “We found that physical activity was effective in controlling weight only among women who started off with a normal BMI,” I-Min Lee states. She and colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston studied data from 34,000 women, whose average age was 54.

During a 13-year period, the women were separated into three groups. The first group exercised daily for 60 minutes. The second exercised 30 minutes a day, and the third group worked out less than half an hour daily. “These two lesser activity groups of women were significantly more likely to gain weight,” she said. “Compared to the most active group of women.” During the study, the average weight of the participants went up by six pounds, or 2.7 kilograms.

So, what can overweight women do? Surprisingly, I-Min Lee and her colleagues found more exercise did not help. “Once a woman became overweight or obese, there was no relation between physical activity and weight change among these women,” Lee said. But I-Min Lee says heavier women should keep on exercising. “While our study shows that this might not be sufficient to maintain normal weight, it clearly is sufficient to reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases, including heart disease, certain types of cancer, type two diabetes,” Lee explained. The researchers say while exercise helps prevent disease, the only way that heavier women can lose weight is to simply cut calories. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

© 2010 VOA

Joel Selanikio

Epidemiologist Joel Selanikio has used the explosion in mobile phone technology and the World Wide Web to deliver more effective public health services throughout the developing world.  Dr. Selanikio and his organization DataDyne.org are making a difference by improving the medical information available to public health programs in under-served areas of the world.  VOA’s Natalia Ardanza has a profile for this week’s “Making a Difference” series.

In Africa there is  another use for mobile phones.  Public Health workers in Kenya are now using mobile phones to gather health information from patients in remote areas and upload it to the internet for instant analysis at distant centers. And it is all happening thanks to Dr. Joel Selanikio. “You can really make a difference using just common modern information technologies,” he said. Dr. Selanikio first noticed the need to better use information technology for health care while working as a disease outbrake investigator for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I began to take the first steps toward using things like pocket computers or PDAs [i.e., personal digital assistants] for doing field work,” Selanikio said. Dr. Selanikio left his position five years ago to co-found DataDyne.org with partner Rosa Donna — as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing sustainable information technologies in poor areas.  And with financial support from the United Nations Foundation and the Vodaphone Foundation, Selanikio developed EpiSurveyor — a free, mobile, Web-based and open-source data collection tool that is transforming the way public health is practiced in under-served areas of the world.

EpiSurveyor replaces cumbersome and costly paper-based data collection that can take months, and sometimes years to produce results. “Instead of collecting data today to plan for a campaign next year, changing from that to collecting data today to plan for what we do tomorrow,” Selanikio explained. “That is a pretty radical change.” Public health relies on the rapid collection of accurate data to track disease outbreaks, monitor vaccine supplies and other similar functions.

“The issue of flexibility, we need that,” Data Manager Yusuf Ajack Ibrahim said. Ajack is with Kenya’s Health and Sanitation Ministry and saw EpiSurveyor at work when a polio outbreak in 2006 was quickly contained, saving the lives of perhaps hundreds of children. “If you are to respond to an outbreak, I cannot wait for somebody to come all the way from the United States,” he said.

This year, Joel Selanikio received the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability in recognition of these innovations.  EpiSurveyor is being used by more than 500 organizations in more than 100 countries, and it is being adopted for use in areas such as agriculture and public opinion polling.

© 2009 VOA

Photo: White House US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly address

As U.S. lawmakers work toward a final agreement on overhauling health care, President Barack Obama says some of the reforms will take effect this year. The president admits, however, that other changes will not be in place for several years. President Obama is working with Democrats in both houses of Congress to merge their two versions of health reform. In the meantime, the president is using his weekly radio and Internet address to assure Americans that once he signs a health overhaul bill, they will see immediate benefits. “We are on the verge of passing health insurance reform that will finally offer Americans the security of knowing they will have quality, affordable health care whether they lose their jobs, change their jobs, move or get sick. The worst practices of the insurance industry will be forever banned,” he said.

Mr. Obama hopes to sign the bill into law by early February. Some consumers and advocates are disappointed that parts of the plan will not take effect until as late as 2014. The president acknowledges that some of the changes will take time to implement, but he says others will start working sooner. “Now, it will take a few years to fully implement these reforms in a responsible way. But what every American should know is that once I sign health insurance reform legislation into law, there are dozens of protections and benefits that will take effect this year,” he said.

Mr. Obama says before year’s end, insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping coverage when a person becomes ill, people with medical conditions will be allowed to buy affordable health insurance, and some small businesses will get government help in covering their employees. “All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known,” he said.

The president began his address by talking about the economy. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 10 percent in December, and 85,000 more Americans lost their jobs last month. Mr. Obama said the road to recovery will be long and sometimes bumpy.

© 2009 VOA

By Dean Olsen
Enterprise News Service


Veteran central Illinois broadcaster Bob Murray lost 170 pounds on a liquid diet and got down to 210 – his “perfect weight” – in 2002.


He maintained that weight for several months before beginning a slide into his old habits as a “volume eater” and food addict. He switched jobs and worked a new schedule that didn’t allow him to continue attending a weight-loss support group. After noticing he was gaining weight, he became self-conscious, and his daily workouts at the YMCA in his hometown of Decatur became less frequent. Then, after Murray found that his new wardrobe didn’t fit anymore, the floodgates to big portions and drive-through fast food swung wide open. And his motivation to exercise plunged. “You think that you’re doing OK, and suddenly the pants don’t fit like they used to,” he said. “Once you get the next-size pants, it’s goodbye.” Murray, 62, is far from alone in his journey. Gaining and losing weight are common in the United States, where two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese, and it’s common knowledge that excess weight increases a person’s risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and several forms of cancer.

Some people maintain weight loss

Maintaining a weight loss is not as uncommon as once thought. Studies from the early 1990s indicated that almost everyone who lost weight gained it back within a few years. But those studies may have been skewed because they focused on people who were the heaviest and sickest, according to a 1999 study in the International Journal of Obesity. Authors of the study wrote that their nationwide survey of the general population found almost half of overweight adults who had intentionally lost 10 percent or more of their weight maintained the weight loss for at least a year. As many as 27 percent of them had kept the weight off for five years or more. That still means a majority of people regained weight, but the study’s authors wrote that they “reject the notion that weight loss maintenance is impossible.” Murray, who said he has gained back all the weight he lost – plus 30 pounds – said he would “love to lose weight, but like a lot of people who are overweight, I want to do it the easiest way possible.” David Steward doesn’t have to be told how hard it is to maintain a weight loss. The Springfield resident, a physician specializing in general internal medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, lost 60 pounds 4 1/2 years ago through healthier eating and regular exercise. Steward, 59, credited exercise – primarily bicycling – for helping him keep the weight off. But he won’t guarantee that he will continue to be successful, and he doesn’t look down on people who end up regaining weight. “I’m glad that it’s lasted this long,” he said “I’m always surprised that this is so hard.”

What has worked

The Rhode Island-based National Weight Control Registry has studied the habits of successful weight losers since 1994. More than 6,000 Americans who have sustained a weight loss of 30 pounds or more have volunteered to be in the registry. They lost weight with a variety of diets, and almost all increased their physical activity – mostly through walking. The ways they kept from regaining weight were strikingly similar, according to Graham Thomas, a clinical psychologist and co-investigator at the not-for-profit registry.

Most of them tend to eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet, and most said they consume fewer than 2,000 calories a day, although they really may be eating more than that and underestimating their consumption, he said. “They don’t tend to splurge on weekends or holidays, either,” he said. There’s not a lot of variety in their diets, which may help them keep track of calories through a limited number of “safe foods,” Thomas said. Most weigh themselves daily or, at minimum, once a week, and they exercise – a lot. The average was 60 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, which is what the Institute of Medicine recommends.

How do they find the time for all that huffing and puffing? They watch far less television – averaging 10 hours or less each week – compared with 28 hours for the average American adult, Thomas said. “The average American is sedentary,” said Anne Daly, a registered dietitian and director of a weight-management program operated through the office of Springfield endocrinologist Dr. Norman Soler. And most jobs don’t require heavy lifting, she said. The average farmer in 1900 burned 5,000 calories a day, she said. “Today, farmers sit on a machine and push buttons,” she said. To be successful at maintaining weight loss, Daly said most people need to both eat less and exercise more.

Bob Murray’s struggles

Murray, the voice behind the “Morning Newswatch” at Springfield radio station WTAX (1240 AM/107.5 FM), said he was successful at both sides of the weight-loss equation four times in his life, losing between 90 and 100 pounds in the 1980s before his biggest loss seven years ago. That was when a 4,000-calories-a-week liquid diet, supervised through Soler’s Health Management Resources weight-loss program, calmed his appetite and provided support and coaching, Murray said. Though never very athletic, Murray felt more energetic as he lost weight – an average of two pounds a week – and walked a treadmill for 45 minutes most days. Murray, who stands 6-foot-2, bought a whole new wardrobe and fielded questions from people who asked whether his shrinking body was the result of cancer.

But after he returned to solid food, he said he fell into a familiar pattern of feeling “cured” and relaxing his eating and exercise regimen. His switch from a daytime work schedule at WMAY-AM to a shift at WTAX that started at 1:30 a.m. coincided with his backsliding. But he didn’t put the blame on his new job. “It’s not the shift; it’s me,” he said. “In my case, I have to concentrate on losing weight. I have to change my complete lifestyle.” Since gaining back the weight, Murray said he and his wife, Sandy, who has never had a weight problem, don’t go to restaurants much anymore because he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself. For the same reason, he said he doesn’t eat when he makes personal appearances for his job.

“It gets you down,” he said.

Murray doesn’t go to the Y anymore and has a hard time mustering the motivation to exercise. “I have a great Schwinn Airdyne stationary bike at home that is a great clothes rack now,” he said. Daly said successful weight control usually is connected with accountability. For Steward, it’s his scale at home. “I weigh myself every day,” he said.

Dr. Steward’s success

Steward grew up in a small town in Iowa and was “always a little overweight,” he said. He played basketball and baseball for his high school teams and ran the 440-yard dash “slowly” for the small school’s track team, he said. His weight rose from 190 in high school to about 220 in college and fluctuated a bit during medical school at the University of Iowa, said Steward, who stands 5-foot-9. His maximum weight, in the mid-1980s, was between 240 and 250, he said. His big weight loss began after he fell on slick pavement while riding his bicycle in Washington Park. His knees, which had been giving him trouble for years, were badly twisted. The pain he felt while recovering from the fall made him realize that the excess weight he was carrying might make his knees wear out to the point that he would need orthopedic surgery within a few years.

Steward began exercising every day, something that his wife, Dr. Gina Kovach, had been doing already as part of her own strategy to stay fit. Steward, who is chairman of SIU’s internal medicine department, stopped snacking on candies, cookies and other junk food at work. And when the weather is bad, he works out hard – 40 minutes to an hour most mornings, getting his heart rate to about 140 beats a minute – on a stationary recumbent bicycle in his basement. He has set up a television in front of the cycle to help pass the time. “I keep telling myself I have to do this,” he said. “There’s no variety in it, but it’s easy on my knees.” Steward said he is fortunate to have the income to afford exercise equipment, and the time and a stable schedule that allows for regular workouts. He is quick to say that he doesn’t always eat healthy foods, but when he snacks, he tries to make low-fat selections. “I feel better in a lot of ways,” he said. “And my joints feel better.”

Dean Olsen can be reached at (217) 788-1543 or dean.olsen@sj-r.com.

Maintaining weight loss

People in the National Weight Control Registry who are successful in maintaining weight loss do these things:

_Most say they maintain a low-calorie, low-fat diet.

_78 percent eat breakfast every day.

_75 percent weigh themselves at least once a week.

_62 percent watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week.

_90 percent exercise, on average, about one hour a day.

–Source: National Weight Control Registry, part of Brown University Medical School

While scientists have known for decades that vitamin D deficiency leads to bone diseases like rickets, more recently they have found connections between low vitamin D levels and a wide range of other illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune disorders and caradiovascular disorders.  The human body creates vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, and yet some of the sunniest parts of the world have the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency. Several factors have contributed to dangerously low vitamin D blood levels among people in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Vitamin D necessary for bone strength

Healthy bones depend on vitamin D, says Ambrish Mithal of the Indian Society for Bone and Mineral Research.  “Vitamin D is what absorbs calcium into our body and helps it reach the bone. Vitamin D deficiency, therefore, results in weak bones and bones that are soft, that will bend and break.”  Getting enough vitamin D should be relatively simple. “The major source of vitamin D is sunshine,” Mithal says. “We make vitamin D under the influence of UV rays that we get in the sunlight. We make it in our skin.”

Vitamin D deficiency common, even in sunny places

But some of the world’s sunniest regions have the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency. That’s the finding of a recent report from the International Osteoporosis Foundation, which reviewed research done over the past three decades. Mithal is a coauthor of that report. “Vitamin D deficiency is a global phenomenon. But certain parts of the world, they’re prone to severe vitamin D deficiency – for example, South Asia, like India, or Middle East, like Lebanon. There have been studies from these areas which have shown that almost 80 percent, or maybe even more, of the urban population is significantly vitamin D deficient.”

He points to several factors to explain why people who live in sunny areas still may not get sufficient vitamin D. “Those who live closer to the equator are actually less prone to vitamin D deficiency, but at times this, can be overshadowed by other factors like skin pigmentation, less outdoor activity and more skin cover with clothes,” Mithal says.

Vitamin D expert Michael Holick, of the Boston University Medical Center, explains why people with darker skin generally have lower levels of the nutrient than lighter-skinned people, even in the same country. “The major reason is that their melanin, which protects their skin from excessive exposure to sunlight, also prevents them from making vitamin D,” he says. “We showed that African-Americans need to be exposed three to five times longer to sunlight to be able to make the same amount as a white person.”

Another coauthor of the vitamin D review, Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, describes how people in the Middle East can spend time outdoors without absorbing enough vitamin D. “In these, the Middle Eastern countries, people tend to follow a very much more conservative clothing style, in a large proportion of subjects. And the other thing is that with modernization, women who do not follow the conservative clothing style use sunblock. Sunblock with sun protection factor as low as six and eight can completely block the ability of the skin to make vitamin D.” El-Hajj Fuleihan, of the American University of Beirut Medical Center, says this may explain why women in general have lower vitamin D levels.

Deficiency could be dangerous

There is new concern about vitamin D deficiency because, as Michael Holick explains, recent medical discoveries show it may be much more dangerous than previously thought. “What we haven’t appreciated until about the past decade is that vitamin D seems to be important for reducing risk of many chronic illnesses that span anywhere from autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, to infectious diseases like tuberculosis and influenza, reduces risk of heart attack, stroke and most importantly, reduces risk of deadly cancers.”

Ways to get more vitamin D

People can get more of the nutrient in their diet. In the United States and other countries, some foods are fortified with vitamin D. But Holick says that’s generally not enough. “Children probably need a thousand units of vitamin D a day. Teenagers and adults need two thousand units of vitamin D a day to satisfy their requirement… You cannot get an adequate amount of vitamin D to satisfy your body’s requirement from your diet.”

So, he and other experts like Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, now recommend spending a little more time in the sun. “We are fully aware of the risk of skin cancer with sun exposure but suggest that there may be a happy compromise and that maybe the first 10 minutes or so three times a week… let the skin get some ability to make vitamin D, and then put the sunblock on.” In addition, she says, those who spend their days indoors should take a vitamin D supplement.

Although the World Health Organization has said that most people get enough vitamin D through sun exposure and diet, in light of the new research, it has commissioned its own report and may issue new recommendations.

© 2009 VOA

Diabetic Starvation

I’ve read many articles on diabetes, but there is one subject that seems to be seriously overlooked; and that is….. diabetics who are starving themselves, because they think its the only way, to control sugar AND loose weight (without medication). Too many diabetics are also not talking to their doctors about this major problem; a lot of people are too embarrassed to tell their doctor that they are hungry, in addition to some diabetics seeing this as a possible sign of failure, weakness, and or not having will power. Diabetes is more complicated than people realize. It is extremely important that you stay in constant communication with your doctor. I understand that their are many people who prefer to do it naturally. However, for some of us, sometimes for what ever reason our bodies will not cooperate. Some diabetics (type 2 in particular) have no other choice but to be put on medications.

Another element that adds more difficulty, is the assumed or misinformation about carbohydrates. In the fitness world or the world of gym bunnies, there are some diets that promote high consumption of carbohydrates; but to a diabetic can be extremely dangerous in terms of long term. Many assume that carbohydrates are bad for you, then try to cut it out of their diet completely. This is not a good plan of action and can often prove dangerous for some diabetics; since carbs are literally our life force.  Paring up with a good endocrinologist is key. Endocrinologist, are not just people who talk to you about diet, they ARE DOCTORS and  most specialize in this area of diabetes and metabolism. Remember, just like computers, research and the study of diabetes, are always changing.

ALL DIABETICS NEED TO KNOW that carbohydrates is one of the main and vital sources for the body’s energy and fuel. Over 90% of what we consume has some form of carbohydrates, and that includes meats, rice, veggies, even some of the so called “sugar free” products (but that’s another subject by itself). The main thing to focus on is your quality of carbs you consume. You also need to know that, if you deprive yourself of all carbs (which is just about everything, short of leafy vegetables), your not only run the risk of making your body grow hungry; your depriving the body of its prime source of energy, depriving it of being able to defend itself against outside forces, such as bacteria, germs, infection, the ability to regenerate cells, to heal itself, as well as possible organ damage (long-term), these are just a few… The key thing to remember as a diabetic, your sugar cannot be consistently high OR consistently low, for a prolonged period of time. It is the consistency that causes the diabetic complications. This is when your blood glucose meter comes in, so you can monitor your blood and know where your heading, allows you to know how particular foods effect your blood glucose, and the opportunity to change your A1C to healthier numbers.

Carbohydrates are good for us in moderation. There are 2 main things to consider, in terms of carbohydrates (aka sugar) that is, natural sugars and processed sugars. Natural sugars are fruits, honey, etc., (some fruits have more sugars than others), and the process sugars are cakes, chocolates, taffys, pies, breads, etc,. You would want to go after the natural sugars, not just because of more vitamins and minerals, but because your body can break them down much better. You may be treating your tongue to a great tasting ‘devil’s chocolate cake”, but you are definitely not doing good by the rest of your body, when it is consumed in excess. On the other hand, it’s about better food choices, not starving your body either. Do not allow your tongue’s taste buds, override your need for nutrition.

copyright © 2009 USA/International