Report from Tucson 2003

Children with Diabetes: Focus on Technology

Report from Tucson 2003

The second regional Children with Diabetes Focus on Technology conference was held January 3-5 at the El Conquistador resort in Tucson, Arizona. About 250 people participated in the conference, which included two days of sessions for adults, teens, and school-age children. Sessions covered data management systems, blood glucose monitoring systems, new insulin delivery systems, new types of insulin, and new pump technology. There were additional general sessions and discussions addressing how people look at the new technology.

Jeff Hitchcock, the founder of Children with Diabetes, opened the conference with a session about diabetes on the Internet, including web sites, newsgroups, and e-mail. He talked about ways to preserve privacy while online. His presentation can be found online at Diabetes on the Internet.

Dr. Juan Dominguez-Bendala from the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami, Florida, gave the keynote address, entitled Islet Cell Transplantation - Looking to the Future. Dr. Dominguez-Bendala shared the cutting edge research underway at the DRI, which has led to successful islet cell transplants and the curing of type 1 diabetes. Parents said that it was incredible talking to one of the researchers who is working on the technology that will one day cure our children.

Representatives of pump and meter companies gave presentations about their newest technology. Eric Mastelaar from Animas Corporation spoke about the new Animas IR pump and the EZ Manager data management system. Craig Crease from Deltec presented the new Cozmo pump. Laura Nolan spoke about the Medtronic MiniMed Paradigm pump and the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. Judy Kohn of TheraSense spoke about the Tracker, the PDA-based meter, CoPilot, the online diabetes management system, and alternate site testing. Ben Feldman, Ph.D., from TheraSense spoke about his company's innovative continuous glucose monitor that is currently under development. Kelley Lipman from Metrika discussed the process of A1c testing and talked about Metrika's A1c Now home testing product, which is now available without a prescription. And Beth Sawyer from Sankyo Pharma presented information about the GlucoWatch2.

Dr. William Quick, Medical Director of Children with Diabetes discussed new insulin delivery systems and new types of insulin, both on the market and in development. Dr. Quick presented information on such methods as the implantable insulin pump and inhaled insulin. Although a variety of alternative insulin delivery systems are in clinical trials, Dr. Quick asked the poignant question: Why would people with type 1 diabetes be searching for a new insulin delivery system when multiple injections and pumping are two systems that work very well for most people? Certainly the "discomfort factor" - especially for young children - is something to consider. However, Dr. Quick pointed out that the efficiency of injected (or pumped) insulin is excellent and does control diabetes very well.

Betty Brackenridge, MS, RD, CDE, led a session about making sense of the new technology. Betty encouraged participants to share their expectations related to diabetes technology, and their goals for using new technology. She stressed that, regardless of what people use to manage their diabetes, they need to focus on what their real goals are -- such as maintaining good control and a normal lifestyle, and that the wonderful new technology is a tool to achieve those goals.

In the exhibit hall, pump company representatives had samples of infusion sets to compare and pumps to play with for parents and kids to get a hands-on sense of what an insulin pump actually feels like and how it functions. LifeScan showed their new Ultra Smart meter, which should be available soon in the United States.

The younger kids learned about diabetes while playing and working on crafts. Teens shared experiences and gripes about living with diabetes and spent a lot of time outside playing football and enjoying the wonderful southern Arizona weather.

Dinner Saturday evening was held at the Last Territory Steakhouse. Barbequed chicken, ribs, hotdogs, and hamburgers -- as well as fruit and veggies -- offered something for everyone. Most familes chatted inside, but some ventured outside into the slightly chilly Arizona night. Kids had lots of space to run around and burn off some of their dessert.

On Saturday, the Children with Diabetes Quilt for Life was displayed. This quilt, which currently numbers 294 squares, depicts the lives of children (and adults) from all over the world who have type 1 diabetes. Each child (or relative) has crafted a 3-foot square decorated with photos of the children, their likes and dislikes, dates of diagnosis, hand and footprints, and anything else the child cares to add to the square. What comes through loud and clear is that this is a quilt about healthy children, living with type 1 diabetes, and doing all those things that children all over the world do--playing soccer, playing hockey, riding bicycles and horses, having many, many friends, and lots of people who love them. It also comes through loud and clear that insulin is not a cure and that these children and families desperately want a cure now.

CWD would like to thank the conference sponsors, LifeScan, Animas, Deltec, Medtronic MiniMed, and TheraSense, for their wonderful generosity in supporting the conference and CWD families.

After registering, many families headed out to the pool.
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Families learn about islet cell transplants from Dr. Juan Dominguez-Bendala
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Natalie Bellini worked with the teens all weekend
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Betty Brackenridge helped kids talk about what it means to them to have diabetes
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Snack breaks afforded attendees time to talk with the exhibitors
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People viewing the Quilt for Life identified with the messages.
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Tucson 2003: Focus on Technology
Conference - Registration - Program - Faculty - Report

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