Report from Colorado 2005

Gorgeous mountain scenery, infamous Colorado spring weather (thunderstorms, frost, hot sunshine), and a fabulous mix of 'old and new' CWD families provided the backdrop for the 6th regional Children with Diabetes conference. Focus on the Future was held May 13-15, 2005 at the Sheraton Colorado Springs. About two hundred people, including kids and parents from a dozen states, gathered together to learn the latest information about current diabetes management, as well as what is coming down the road with regards to treatment and research. The group was a mix of newly-diagnosed families and those who have had type 1 diabetes for many years. This encouraged both lively discussion and emotional story-sharing.

The conference unofficially began Friday afternoon with the CWD teens 1) locating Target (a must for every conference - the Teens favorite spot for buying snacks and beverages!) and 2) scouting out the doable hikes in the area. Of course, the teens also had to try out the local bowling alley and the basketball and tennis courts! They were tuckered out before the conference even began!

Friday evening, conference participants attended an opening reception sponsored by LifeScan. The exhibits were open, most people had arrived in town, and everyone was anxious to see all the new items the exhibiting companies brought to share. As with other CWD conferences, participants were offered the opportunity to wear insulin pumps with saline to experience the feel of the various pumps. For those who were brand new to pumping - or who perhaps wanted to try a different type of pump - this was a great experience! Animas, Smiths Medical MD, Inc., and Medtronic MiniMed all had 'trial pumps' out and about during the weekend. It was fun watching the kids and parents wear the pumps through the various activities (swimming, hiking, running through the hotel on a scavenger hunt, dancing, doing tai-bo)!

On Saturday morning, Dr. Bruce Buckingham opened the conference with a session about Continuous Glucose Monitoring. In his very relaxed and understandable style, Dr. Buckingham presented the historical path of what has led to today's continuous monitoring devices. He then presented information about new CGM devices which are either in front of the FDA or still in the conceptual stage. The important bottom line from this session was that continuous data will most certainly be a critical tool in managing type 1 diabetes, from catching highs/lows before they happen, to limiting the wide excursions in blood glucose throughout the night and day.

Pediatric endocrinologist Peter Chase then spoke about the different types of insulins and insulin delivery systems on the market today. The choices available to families in 2005 are much greater than even 10 years ago. This offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of lifestyle. Dr. Chase also stressed that the current insulins and delivery systems are constantly being improved, so five years from now our children will have even greater flexibility to match the type of insulin and how it is taken (injection, pump, inhaled) with their individual preferences and lifestyle.

After lunch, psychologist Richard Rubin discussed the daily (and long term) emotional challenges of managing diabetes. With the ever-changing technology, families are faced with decisions that they may or may not feel prepared to make. Diabetes is a life-threatening disease and every change in technology can be a step outside a child and family's comfort zone. As a CWD dad himself, Dr. Rubin discussed some very personal challenges. Quite a few parents left with tears in their eyes, and new-found optimism about making choices for their kids.

The afternoon closed with two breakout sessions. Representatives from Animas, Medtronic MiniMed, Nipro Diabetes Systems, and Smiths-Medical presented information about their current pumps and future directions for pump development. Most were involved to some degree in working on a closed loop system. Implantable pumps as well as tiny micro-pumps were also discussed. In the second breakout session, Dr. Kim Kelly talked with parents about behavior. This involved a very basic discussion about What Is Behavior? and progressed into interaction about How Do We Change Behavior and Why Is It So Hard To Do? Dr. Kelly, as always, was both pointed and entertaining in helping parents understand why it is so difficult to change diabetes behaviors in our kids, ourselves, and our families.

While the parents were hard at work, the kids and teens were having a glorious time just being kids. CWD teen leaders Natalie Bellini, Jim Vail, and Chris Tull took the kids - where else? - mountain and rock-climbing! While participating in these activities, the teens learned some valuable management lessons (i.e., test before climbing the big rock, treat your low before starting up the trail, if you feel symptomatic, don't ignore it because you don't feel like testing now in front of your friends… and on and on). The staff had a number of learning objectives embedded into the sports activities, and these were discussed throughout the course of the three days.

The Tweeners (ages 10-12) were led by Melissa Ringley and Kim Kelly. As judged by the happy (loud!) noises coming from the Tweener room, the activities were a huge success. They included a tai-bo session, dancing, games (Taboo with a diabetes focus was a big hit!), outdoor active time, and some sit-down serious discussion. It was very helpful to have a day of getting-to-know-you and making friends before getting to the serious topics. The discussion was poignant and the kids were very open and honest with each other and with their group leaders.

Led by CWD staff Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, and Mike Schurig, the elementary age kids had an absolute blast this weekend (as you can tell by the happy faces on the page of kids' photos)! Activities included a lot of outdoor time, several arts-n-crafts choices, two separate swimming sessions (oops - ran out of towels!), lots of learning about how to test and treat those lows that happen with so much activity ... and lots and lots of just plain fun with good friends.

Sunday morning, bright and early, everyone gathered for breakfast. "Where is the Sugar Free Syrup" was the question of the morning (it did ultimately appear - sort of). The French toast was a big hit, even with the syrup challenge ... and the eggs, bacon, and sausage were yummy. It was also nice actually being served steaming hot coffee! The Sheraton staff were exceptional, and they just loved our kids. CWD received many very positive comments from them both during and after the conference.

Sunday morning's sessions opened with Dr. Bruce Buckingham discussing Best Practices. The concept of best practices refers to given what we know about diabetes management right now (based on research), what are the best ways to manage our child's diabetes. Dr. Buckingham discussed the importance of frequent testing (and the upcoming role that continuous glucose monitoring will have), the need for healthy diet and exercise, and intensive management using MDI and pumps. He also discussed how some of the current hard-to-get cutting edge technology will ultimately become best practice technology available to everyone.

Taking a slightly different focus on diabetes, Dr. Kim Kelly followed with a presentation about Drugs and Diabetes - It's Not Just Insulin Anymore. He discussed kids and teens who have a mix of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, necessitating taking both insulin and oral drugs to address the insulin resistance. This is not a tiny sub-group; in fact, it is growing alarmingly in scope. Dr. Kelly stressed the importance of proper treatment to stop the spiral of insulin, weight gain, carb-craving, more insulin, more weight gain, more carb-craving. Many families do feed into this very unhealthy spiral by having sedentary lifestyles, poor food choices in the house, and lack of information about how oral medications can assist in breaking the cycle.

After lunch on Sunday, Dr. Peter Chase spoke about ketones, the importance of ketone testing, and specifically about the benefits of blood ketone testing. Ketone testing is often overlooked, yet it's critical to help reduce the risk of developing DKA. Dr. Chase shared a couple of specific examples to help everyone understand the need for and benefit of checking for ketones at the right times.

Dr. David Harlan from the Autoimmunity Branch of the NIDDK was the final speaker. Dr. Harlan presented data that stressed the importance of tight control immediately, as demonstrated by continuing lower rates of complications from groups in the DCCT. He shared his experience performing islet transplants, and his disappointment when transplant recipients were shown to have a greater risk for kidney complications due immunosuppression. Dr. Harlan then presented several alternative strategies for curing type 1 diabetes, including immunomodulation to permit regrowth of a person's own islets.

As always, CWD could not hold these conferences without the incredible generosity of our sponsors: Abbott Diabetes Care, Animas Corporation, LifeScan, Medtronic MiniMed, Novo Nordisk, and Smiths Medical MD, Inc.. As well, many thanks are extended to CWD parents Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, Jill Nystul, Bernadette and Chris Tull, and Julia Mattingly for sharing their expertise and time with us for the benefit of all of our children. And last but not least, kudos to CWD Dietitian Mike Schurig for a job well done on the little green cards with the carb counts!


Dr. Bruce Buckingham spoke about continuous glucose sensors
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Families chatted with Dr. Peter Chase during the snack breaks
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Kids tried out insulin pumps using saline
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CWD Teens pose before heading out for a rock climbing adventure
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Families donated blood for TrialNet studies
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Sunday morning coffee ... one pot each
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As in all CWD conference, kids make fast friends
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Kids learned a lot about pump therapy, including sets in the arm
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Colorado 2005: Focus on the Future
Conference - Registration - Program - Faculty
Sponsors - Exhibitor Information
Report from the Conference

Report | Photo Pages: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Grade School Kids

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Last Updated: Sat May 21 06:58:52 2005
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