2018 was a year whose realities sometimes seemed to approach the dystopias and dramas of fiction, as stories of family trauma, environmental disaster, and sexual assault played out on the world stage. The books our writers and editors were drawn to this year include many that illuminate these struggles and inequities, whether in the form of visceral sonnets, lyrical history, or dizzyingly surreal detective yarns. But they also reach past political themes to the most intimate and universal of stories: a cross-continental meditation on transitory love, a warm and funny account of aging, a timeless reinvention of an ancient myth, and an absorbing deconstruction of faith, to name a few. Our list isn’t definitive or comprehensive, but guided by individual interests and tastes. Below, you’ll find essays, poetry, three striking fiction debuts, the first graphic novel to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and more.
The NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases and Kidney Diseases says it, “currently supports studies that are working toward obtaining FDA licensure to reclassify islet allo-transplantation as therapeutic. In other countries, such as Canada and Scandinavia, islet allo-transplantation is no longer considered experimental and is an accepted therapy in certain patients.” It adds that “Some patient advocates and islet researchers feel that islet allo-transplantation is close to having a therapeutic label.”
Khodneva, Y., Shalev, A., Frank, S. J., Carson, A. P., & Safford, M. M. (2016, May). Calcium channel blocker use is associated with lower fasting serum glucose among adults with diabetes from the REGARDS study. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 115, 115-121. Retrieved from http://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(16)00070-X/abstract
For over a decade, Cummings and others have tried to reframe the very concept of bariatric surgery (they prefer “metabolic surgery”). Their work has shown these procedures just don’t change how much food the stomach can fit; they trigger a cascade of metabolic and bodily changes, many of which help people with type 2 diabetes naturally get their blood sugar under control. Some changes even start happening before a patient loses weight, such as higher levels of peptide production in the gut that seem to restore a patient’s sensitivity to insulin.
Dietary factors also influence the risk of developing type 2 DM. Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks in excess is associated with an increased risk. The type of fats in the diet is also important, with saturated fat and trans fats increasing the risk and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat decreasing the risk. Eating lots of white rice, and other starches, also may increase the risk of diabetes. A lack of physical activity is believed to cause 7% of cases.
Cinnamon contains a bioactive compound that can help to fight and prevent diabetes. Cinnamon is known to stimulate the insulin activity and thus regulate the blood sugar level. As excess of anything is bad, likewise cinnamon if taken in excess can increase the risk of liver damage due to a compound called coumarin present in it. The true cinnamon, not the one buy from shops (Cassia cinnamon) is safer to have.
The water was in boxes because Wellspring purposely forwent wasteful plastic bottles—a half measure, after inviting thousands of people to exercise in the desert. The water was alkaline because that’s a trendy new way to sell people water, and its maker was a sponsor of the festival. The class, too, was sponsored, an Adidas logo projected onto the wall. Outside was a food truck selling Bulletproof concoctions with “brain octane oil.” In a capacious central cavern was “one of the world’s largest wellness exhibitions,” where vendors pitched cosmetics and supplements and bars and tonics. On offer were complimentary CBD-oil massages (sponsored by the seller of said oils) and a balancing of people’s sacral chakras with something called a BioCharger (trademark), “a natural cellular revitalization platform that uses a full spectrum of light and harmonic frequencies to deliver restorative energy” and that promises to help with “creativity, sexuality, and acceptance of new experiences.”
Several other signs and symptoms can mark the onset of diabetes although they are not specific to the disease. In addition to the known ones above, they include blurred vision, headache, fatigue, slow healing of cuts, and itchy skin. Prolonged high blood glucose can cause glucose absorption in the lens of the eye, which leads to changes in its shape, resulting in vision changes. Long-term vision loss can also be caused by diabetic retinopathy. A number of skin rashes that can occur in diabetes are collectively known as diabetic dermadromes.
By the late 2000s the concept had become widely used in employee assistance programs in workplaces, and funding for development of such programs in small business was included in the Affordable Care Act. The use of corporate wellness programs has been criticised as being discriminatory to people with disabilities. At the same time, while there were magazines devoted to wellness, it was noted that mainstream news sources had begun to devote more page space to "health and wellness themes".
Connection itself can be monetized, of course—in ways that create factions and cliques, or in inclusive ways that bring together people of various socioeconomic strata. That actually may look something like Wanderlust. The market is flooded with things we can consume alone on our couches or at the gym with headphones in. But we are hungry for connection—to hear the same things said but to have a person speaking directly to us (and to a few hundred other people).
For 15 years, Erez Benari’s struggle with his type 2 diabetes had been a losing one. A software engineer at Microsoft in Seattle, Washington, Benari had stuck to a restrictive diet that kept him off most carbs, along with regular insulin shots. But still, his high blood sugar levels never dropped, while his health continued to decline. In 2013, the then 39-year-old Benari suffered a heart attack.
If the amount of insulin available is insufficient, or if cells respond poorly to the effects of insulin (insulin insensitivity or insulin resistance), or if the insulin itself is defective, then glucose will not be absorbed properly by the body cells that require it, and it will not be stored appropriately in the liver and muscles. The net effect is persistently high levels of blood glucose, poor protein synthesis, and other metabolic derangements, such as acidosis.
Diabetes can occur temporarily during pregnancy, and reports suggest that it occurs in 2% to 10% of all pregnancies. Significant hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to blood sugar elevation in genetically predisposed individuals. Blood sugar elevation during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually resolves once the baby is born. However, 35% to 60% of women with gestational diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes over the next 10 to 20 years, especially in those who require insulin during pregnancy and those who remain overweight after their delivery. Women with gestational diabetes are usually asked to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test about six weeks after giving birth to determine if their diabetes has persisted beyond the pregnancy, or if any evidence (such as impaired glucose tolerance) is present that may be a clue to a risk for developing diabetes.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health issued a consensus statement, cautiously recommending surgery as a treatment for people living with morbid obesity, meaning they have a body mass index, or BMI, over 40. For people who have health complications connected to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, the limit goes down to a BMI of 35. Relying on these guidelines, insurance companies and public payers like Medicaid and Medicare typically only cover surgery for people living with diabetes who fall into that category.
Complaints about preventative go back to the late 18th century. The spelling reformer James Elphinston wrote in 1787 that preventative could be heard among Londoners in unguarded speech, along with other disapproved pronunciations like umberella and mischievious that sneak in an extra syllable (a process that linguists call "epenthesis"). A 1795 review of the Earl of Lauderdale's "Letters to the Peers of Scotland" criticized the appearance of preventative in the text, declaring that it was "not English." Similarly, Francis Barnett took Andrew Reed's "No Fiction" to task in 1823 for including the word: "In the English language there is no such word as preventative, preventive there is."
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health complications. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is more likely to become obese as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life too.
A whole range of issues start to crop up when diabetes is left untreated. Excess sugar in the blood can lead to more persistent yeast infections (yeast love sugar). High blood sugar can also affect blood flow, which leads to slower healing for sores and wounds. Over time, the condition can lead to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), which causes blood vessels to narrow, lending to a condition called peripheral neuropathy that results in a person not feeling pain. And without a sense of pain after an injury or development of an ulcer, the patient may not realize the wound is progressing – amputation may even be required to save him or her from sepsis.
Poxel (PP:POXEL) is a French pharmaceutical company that recently received $30.1 million in post-IPO equity in 2016. The company has developed an orally active medication called Imeglimin, which targets all three organs and body systems that are affected by diabetes simultaneously: the pancreas, liver, and muscles. The drug is currently undergoing phase 3 clinical work in Japan, and will commence phase 3 trials in the European Union and the United States that will be completed by 2019. The company is also concurrently working on several other pharmaceutical agents in various stages of the development pipeline.
Wellness isn’t just gendered. Most of the products and services that define the industry are clearly marketed toward young, thin, toned, ambulatory women who are white. Some speakers were blunt about the fact that wellness is often synonymous with—and sometimes a proxy for—whiteness. One panel was literally called “Wellness Beyond Whiteness,” in which it was decided that wellness needed to be totally reconciled into something for everyone—not to simply be “inclusive” or “bring people to the table,” but to demolish the table and, as with any growing movement, keep building new tables.
Dr. Fung says he decided to experiment with intermittent fasting because he was frustrated seeing so many diabetic patients with kidney failure. “It occurred to me that fasting was an underutilized therapeutic option for losing weight,” he recalls. “I started doing this five years ago, and a lot of people got incredibly good results – it reversed their diabetes.”
Even as things stand now, there are a lot of people left out in the cold. A 2016 study, for instance, found that only 41,000 people with diabetes annually get bariatric surgery in the US—fewer than 5 percent of the total new cases diagnosed every year. And the longer someone has diabetes, studies have suggested, the less likely they are to go into remission if they eventually get surgery. Getting those numbers up will not only require changing the minds of insurers, but public opinion, too.
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
Low blood pressure on standing (orthostatic hypotension). Treatment starts with simple lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of water, and sitting or standing slowly. Sleeping with the head of the bed raised 6 to 10 inches helps prevent swings in blood pressure. Your doctor may also recommend compression stockings and similar compression support for your abdomen (abdominal binder). Several medications, either alone or together, may be used to treat orthostatic hypotension.
As of 2015, an estimated 415 million people had diabetes worldwide, with type 2 DM making up about 90% of the cases. This represents 8.3% of the adult population, with equal rates in both women and men. As of 2014, trends suggested the rate would continue to rise. Diabetes at least doubles a person's risk of early death. From 2012 to 2015, approximately 1.5 to 5.0 million deaths each year resulted from diabetes. The global economic cost of diabetes in 2014 was estimated to be US$612 billion. In the United States, diabetes cost $245 billion in 2012.
Currently, people with diabetes who receive a transplanted pancreas (typically not possible unless you are also having a kidney transplant) or who receive islet-cell transplants as part of a research study in the US must take these drugs so that their own body won’t attack the new cells. The drugs work, but raise risk for bacterial and viral infections as well as for mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatigue and even some cancers.
Off-label drug use means that a drug that’s been approved by the FDA for one purpose is used for a different purpose that it has not been approved for. However, a doctor can still use the drug for that purpose. The FDA regulates the testing and approval of drugs, but not how doctors use drugs to treat their patients. Therefore, your doctor can prescribe a drug however they think is best for your care.
In patients with type 2 diabetes, stress, infection, and medications (such as corticosteroids) can also lead to severely elevated blood sugar levels. Accompanied by dehydration, severe blood sugar elevation in patients with type 2 diabetes can lead to an increase in blood osmolality (hyperosmolar state). This condition can worsen and lead to coma (hyperosmolar coma). A hyperosmolar coma usually occurs in elderly patients with type 2 diabetes. Like diabetic ketoacidosis, a hyperosmolar coma is a medical emergency. Immediate treatment with intravenous fluid and insulin is important in reversing the hyperosmolar state. Unlike patients with type 1 diabetes, patients with type 2 diabetes do not generally develop ketoacidosis solely on the basis of their diabetes. Since in general, type 2 diabetes occurs in an older population, concomitant medical conditions are more likely to be present, and these patients may actually be sicker overall. The complication and death rates from hyperosmolar coma is thus higher than in diabetic ketoacidosis.
Weight loss surgery in those with obesity and type two diabetes is often an effective measure. Many are able to maintain normal blood sugar levels with little or no medications following surgery and long-term mortality is decreased. There is, however, a short-term mortality risk of less than 1% from the surgery. The body mass index cutoffs for when surgery is appropriate are not yet clear. It is recommended that this option be considered in those who are unable to get both their weight and blood sugar under control.
Treatment for gastroparesis can include dietary changes such as eating less fiber and eating smaller, more frequent meals. Medications are available as well that can spur muscle contractions in the stomach or help control nausea. Another option for some people is to have a gastric pacing device, similar to a heart pacemaker, surgically implanted to stimulate stomach movements.
Keeping your blood sugar under control to prevent nerve damage is the best way to avoid nerve pain. Follow your doctor’s advice for diet, exercise, and treatments if you already experience diabetic nerve pain. Diabetic neuropathy doesn’t have any known cures. However, many treatments can help lessen the discomfort and pain caused by diabetic nerve pain, and your doctor can assist you in selecting one that works best for you.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Because both yeast and bacteria multiply more quickly when blood sugar levels are elevated, women with diabetes are overall at a higher risk of feminine health issues, such as bacterial infections, yeast infections, and vaginal thrush, especially when blood sugar isn't well controlled. And a lack of awareness about having prediabetes or diabetes can make managing blood sugar impossible.