Letters to the Editor

January 2006

Jan 1, 2006

Heads-Up on Research Project

As someone who appeared in a recent Diabetes Health article about people who had lived with diabetes for at least 50 years (“The Gifts of Experience,” August 2005) and who is very interested in finding a cure for the disease, I would like to alert your readers to an important research project and ask for their assistance.

This research project is focused on determining why a significant number of the Joslin Diabetes Center 50-Year Medalists remain free of the various complications (retinopathy, nephropathy, vascular problems) that have affected so many people with the disease. The study has been undertaken by the Joslin Diabetes Center and is partially funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Preliminary findings indicate that 48 percent of the more than 400 Medalists in the study have not had any complications from diabetes—a remarkable fact, suggesting that genetic or environmental factors may moderate or positively affect potential negative results.

We are grateful for the initial support of the JDRF, but the study was only partially funded. A number of the 50-Year Medalists and other individuals have made financial contributions for the study, but we still require another $1 million to achieve truly meaningful results. Without the additional funding, we are unable to include control groups in the study, to obtain the glycemic-control history of the Medalists or to look at residual insulin production in a small group of 50-Year people (a remarkable area of potential).

I have had diabetes for 60 years and I care deeply about finding a cure for the disease. I am writing to seek contributions to help complete what I believe is a very important study. The results can benefit all of us.

Donations can be sent to the Joslin Diabetes Center, Development Office, 50-Year Medalist Study, One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215.

I would be happy to answer any questions about the study.

Thank you for starting this excellent magazine.

Chester Lynn Wickwire
Concord, Massachusetts

No Discrimination Here

After reading Nicole Johnson Baker’s article “Diabetes and Discrimination: Why Does It Still Exist?” (September 2005), I was surprised at the extent to which she says people with diabetes are discriminated against.

I am 16 years old and I have had type 1 diabetes for 12 years; I have never felt especially discriminated against. My friends, teachers and bosses have all been willing to learn and cooperate with my needs. I wear an insulin pump, and occasionally I have been instructed to “turn off my pager” at school, but once I explain that it is a medical device, the mistaken person is always apologetic. In my experience, people are simply inquisitive about diabetes and want to make sure that I am safe.

Kelsey Farabee
Walnut Creek, California

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Jan 1, 2006

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