Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Several months ago I received an email from Michelle Alswager, director of the Madison, Wisconsin, JDRF branch, asking me if I would be interested in joining a group of 10 type 1 diabetics to train and race in the 2008 Ironman Wisconsin. Having just barely signed up for Ironman CDA again for 2008, and still in recovery from IMCDA 2007, I wasn't sure if I would be up for it, but knew I wanted to participate. What a lifetime opportunity, to be be able to train with 9 other type 1's! Most of what I have learned about managing diabetes during triathlon has been through shared experiences with other diabetics and through my own trial-and-error. Michelle's plan was to create a documentary out of the project to use for education and motivation.

The project has grown to include more athletes and also a research aspect to study exercise physiology and nutrition related to type 1 diabetes. There are some good resources out there, especially from Sheri Colberg, but there are still so many unanswered questions on how to maximize one's athletic potential through diabetes management practices. I look forward to building team camaraderie with the other athletes as we work towards this common goal. I'll be sure to post here as much as possible. The website for the project is sure to check it out!

The other team members behind this project include Peter Nerothin and Nate Heintzman from insulindependence, Dr. Matt Corcoran from Diabetes Training Camp, and Bill Carlson, MPT, who is also the first type 1 athlete to complete an ironman race. The documentary company is Andiamo Production, an Emmy-award winning group in Madison, Wisconsin. You can read more about all of these people at the Triabetes website.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Path of the Cosco Busan

If you would like to see the path of the Cosco Busan as it "touched" the Delta Tower of the Bay Bridge, check out this movie from Boating SF. It can take a minute to load. This website also shows a live update of current traffic in the SF Bay.

There have been some hearings on what happened and the final story is still being determined (written?). In the meantime, here's a press release from the Coast Guard.

Press Release

Date: Nov. 15, 2007

Contact: Unified Command
Joint Information Center
(415) 398-9218
(415) 398-9621


Cosco Busan Oil Spill Update (Nov. 15, 2007)

SAN FRANCISCO- The Cosco Busan Incident Unified Command announced today that oil spill clean-up efforts have transitioned from on the water recovery to beach clean-up, pressure washing of seawalls and shore structures, and decontamination of some vessels and equipment used in the response.

Removal of visible oil has been completed for the following areas: Stinson Beach, RCA Beach, Agate, Kirby Cove, Fort Funston, Baker Beach, China Beach, Pier 1-39, Crissy Field, and Pacifica Pier.

Re-oiling is possible as wind and wave action can transport oil from impacted beaches to beaches that have already been cleaned. The unified command is monitoring beaches and is prepared to respond immediately if re-oiling occurs.

Removal of oil from the shorelines at beaches by trained volunteers and professional responders in San Francisco, Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda and San Mateo counties will continue in these areas: Angel Island, Ocean Beach, Brooks Island, Albany Beach, Berkley Marina, Radio Tower, Rodeo Beach, and Muir Beach.

A list of beaches where the public can assist in cleanup efforts without hazardous material training can also be found at

A coordinator will be on-site to provide direction to the volunteers. Any volunteer who finds oiled material must report it to the coordinator on site.

The public is still urged to avoid areas and wildlife that are affected. Untrained volunteers can cause further damage to the environment and stress on the wildlife.

Concerned citizens should call (415) 701-2311 to report any sightings of oiled wildlife.

Members of the community without proper training should not attempt to collect the oil, since it needs to be disposed of properly to prevent broader contamination and re-introduction to the environment. In addition, exposure to the oil can be hazardous for your health.

The most recent information about the clean up is as follows:
Total personnel employed: 1399
Total gallons discharged: approx. 58,000
Total gallons oil recovered to date: approx. 16,974
Total gallons evaporated: approx. 4,060
Total birds captured: 888
Total dead birds: 830
Number beaches closed: 27
Number active skimmers: 1
Number of support vessels: 25
Number of volunteer fishing vessels (sheen cleanup): 20
Number shoreline cleanup teams: 16
Number of wildlife personnel: 169 (including 142 volunteers)
Feet of boom laid out: 27,500
Number of contracted aircraft: 2

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update from Senator Migden

Somehow I made the email list of Senator Migden, my state senator! Here's an alert she sent out today:


Dear Friend:

In an effort to keep you current on clean-up activities related to last Wednesday's devastating 58,000 gallon bunker fuel spill into the San Francisco Bay, here is the second in a series of informational e-alerts:

Today, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order that bans both commercial and sport fishing in the San Francisco Bay from November 15th through December 1st or until it is determined by public health and wildlife officials that the Bay is ecologically safe to resume fishing.

Clean up actions continue to remove fuel from the San Francisco Bay. The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead agency for monitoring and cleaning up the spill. A Unified Command has been set up with the US Coast Guard, California Fish and Game’s Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response, and the O’Brien’s Group (contracted by the responsible party).

Here is the latest update on what is being done to clean-up the spill and to protect people, wildlife and the environment:

-7 miles of containment boom has been deployed to confine/collect oil in the water
-6 vessels are skimming/collecting oil on the water
-More than1,500 people are participating in spill response
-12,745 gallons of oil have been collected.
-580 gallons have dispersed naturally
-4,060 gallons of oil have evaporated (estimated)
-53 vessels are working to remediate the spill
-3 helicopters are surveying the area
-Oiled wildlife count - LIVE BIRDS – 715 (of those, 183 are washed, and 66 have died or been euthanized) -DECEASED BIRDS - 511

The latest overflight shows very little recoverable oil offshore and inshore. Cleanup efforts are transitioning from water recovery to shoreline environmentally sensitive areas.

Oil in Trash

Do not place oil from the Cosco Busan oil spill in trash receptacles. Well-intentioned members of the public have been cleaning up oiled beaches and placing the oil and oily rags and adding them into trash. Do not attempt to collect the oil, since it needs to be disposed of properly to prevent broader contamination and re-introduction to the environment. If you have collected oil, it should NOT be added to regular trash, as this may negatively impact the environment. Oil and trash containing oil (such as rags or paper towels) should be double bagged and labeled as oily waste. PLEASE CALL YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT'S HAZARDOUS WASTE DEPARTMENT TO HAVE IT PICKED UP.

Beach Cleanup Status (from OES as of November 13, 2007)

(These percentages are of the gross amount of product recovered. Once this number reaches 100 percent, it does not guarantee the beach will open. The cleanup of the beaches needs to be certified by local, state, and federal authorities. Clean up of beaches is progressing with the following completion estimates.)

Marin County
Rodeo Beach – 60 percent
Muir Beach – 60 percent
Stinson Beach – 80 percent
Angel Island – 25 percent
RCA Beach – 25 percent
Agate – 25 percent

San Francisco
Fort Funston – 20 percent
Baker Beach – 85 percent
China Beach – 85 percent
Pier 1-39 – 100 percent

Closed Beaches

The Department of Public Health has determined that it is unsafe to swim in some locations and therefore has closed the following beaches:
Bay Area Beach Closures Nov. 13, 2007

  • Clipper Cove Beach, T.I.
  • Aquatic Park (Booms in place)
  • SF Municipal Pier
  • Ft. Point
  • Baker Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • China Beach (Light Oil)
  • Ft. Baker
  • Mile Rock Beach
  • Kirby Cove (Heavy Oil)
  • Rodeo Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Tennessee Valley
  • Muir Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Angel Island (Heavy Oil)
  • Keller Beach
  • Ferry Point
  • Point Isabel
  • Baxter Creek to Lucretia Edwards Park
  • Coastal Access point to Cliffside; Pt. Richmond
  • Middle Harbor Regional Park
  • Steep Ravine Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Red Rock Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Crissy Field Beach (booms in place)
  • Stinson Beach
  • Linda Mar Beach
  • Rockaway Beach
  • Sharp Park Beach
  • Ocean Beach has an advisory posted
  • San Francisco Piers 1-39 Booms in place

Air Quality

The Bay Area Air Quality Management Board is actively participating in safety monitoring and performing air sampling along port property.

Ferry Schedules

Ferry schedules have not been disrupted.

Reporting, Helping Oiled Animals

The public is asked to report any injured and/or oiled wildlife to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 877-823-6926. The network recommends that people DO NOT pick up or approach oiled animals.

To Volunteer: As of this morning, the OWCN has received over 1500 offers to help volunteer from the generous public. They are not currently taking more registrations. Please check this site regularly for status changes. People interested in volunteering should check the network website at for updates on volunteer efforts. The site is updated constantly.

You can also call the Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary. Here's a note from the Audubon Director:
"We will love to have your help in a variety of ways in the coming days and
weeks. This will be a long process--don' t feel bad if you can't help
tomorrow--let us know when you can. We will need help documenting oiled
birds around the bay, talking with folks on beaches and bikepaths about how
to help, removing tar (after training!) from beaches, removing regular trash
from beaches before it can get contaminated.

I am working with our partners to create a training for the community for
oil clean up--we understand and share your frustration with not being able
to do more. We would like to train more of you to help. Check our website
in the coming days for news on this training. We hope to hold in within 10
days, at the Audubon Center.

Please encourage everyone to keep children and dogs off beaches--if we step
in the oil, we spread the contamination around.

Thanks for caring for this amazing ecosystem and all its inhabitants, so
central to our community."

Brooke Langston
Center Director
Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary
415 388 2524 ext 109

Volunteer Opportunities
Here are additional organizations seeking volunteers:
Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary:
Important Contact Numbers

Oil sightings & claims number: 985-781-0804
Public Information Hotline & Media Inquires: 415-399-7305
If I can be of further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to call my district office in San Francisco at 415-557-1300 or San Rafael at 415-479-6612.


State Senator Carole Migden

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sorry Gav, and Little Black Blobs

This morning I attended the mini haz-com training session for volunteers wishing to help clean up the oil spill mess. A representative from the Department of Fish & Game gave the sped-up lecture which still included slides on ticks and rattlesnakes. To be fair, though, this guy had just come up this morning from Monterey to give the lecture, and hadn't had a lot of time to prune the slides. Anyway, it was mostly obvious stuff but because IFO-380 (intermedial fuel oil) is rated at 2 (out of 4) as a health hazard, by law they couldn't send people out there without the training. Rep's from the EPA and SF Public Utilities Commission were there, and about 25-30 SF PUC employees, some called up very early this morning, showed up to head teams of volunteers.

Midway through the 4-hour lecture, who should appear but our own illustrious mayor, Gavin Newsom. It was a good gesture on his part to show up, and he acknowledged the slowness of a response on the clean-up. I'm still not sure why Bevan Dufty was temporarily running the show, but it looks like the mayor is back in town at any rate. I felt a little bad for my criticism and the phrase, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" flitted through my head.

We grouped up and headed out to Ocean Beach for a couple hours of cleaning. We wore white, oversized protective suits, booties, and were taped at the cuffs with duct tape. This was the first day and things were a tad unorganized but I'm sure it will improve over time. The guys leading our group were, I believe, firefighters, and were friendly. They said the full haz-com course can cost $10,000 and last a week. They plan to train more volunteers and have clean-ups every day as long as necessary.

Down on the beach, it seemed like most of the oil had been collected already by the Surfriders, who have been cleaning up all weekend; although, I still found plenty of small pieces. It was hard to distinguish the oil from small black rocks, so the beach may be down a few of those. To make things more lively, I chose to clean up next to the breaking waves.

By the end, I wasn't sure whether they organized this to appease people who wanted to help, or because they actually needed volunteers. I don't think the oil is that dangerous in the quantities we were handling, but it is very sticky and, in the end, I appreciated having the protective gear just to avoid getting messy. I kept thinking, though, that we could have just shown up on the beach at 8, been told how to put the suits on and to not eat the stuff or stick it in our eyes, and set free.

The "responsible party" who is in this case, the owner of the Cosco Busan, has the responsibility of cleaning up the whole mess. In theory, this means they should be hiring contractors to clean up all of the water and beaches and should pay for all of that. I asked one of the SF PUC guys after whether they were organizing this volunteer thing because people were clamoring to help, or whether they actually needed the help. He said emphatically that they did need the help, because picking up the oil of the beach, piece by piece, is so laborious. Also, he said that more affected areas weren't cleared until the end of today for clean-up by volunteers, since there is and endangered bird species living there.

I still think the main problem associated with this event was a lack of leadership and communication leading to a break-down in confidence by citizens that the event would be handled in a competent manner. Considering the recent disaster in the Black Sea, however, where more than 10 times as much fuel was spilled and already 30,0000 birds have died, the Cosco Busan oil spill in the Bay is looking more manageable. I wish we would be kinder to our planet.

Mayor Missing But Volunteers Finally Getting Organized

Where is our newly re-elected mayor, Gavin Newsom? At the volunteer meeting on Saturday, someone made a reference to Bevan Dufty as acting mayor while Newsom was unavailable. Huh? I wasn't sure if I heard correctly but it has been confirmed by other news source. Yet, nobody is actually reporting on where he is. Do they have some sort of arrangement? It's weird. And the lack of leadership around here definitely contributed to the abysmal organization (or lack thereof) of volunteers immediately after the spill. While citizens were watching their beaches fill up with oil tar-balls, the official word was to stay away from the beaches and some people cleaning up the mess were actually arrested.

Now at last the Dept of Fish & Game and the EPA are offering some training Monday morning for volunteers who wish to help in the clean-up (but only for a total of about 250 people). My suggestion is that they put this info online, and just have a quick in-person discussion or test to make sure people understand the procedures. Baykeeper, whose mission is to "protect and enhance the water quality of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and its tributaries for the benefit of its ecosystems and human communities," is sending out a newsletter with updates on organized volunteer activities. Also, the city of San Francisco has set up a page on its 311 site to give instructions on volunteer activities.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Many Birds Are Okay (So Far)

This morning, I went on a ride through Sausalito and Tiburon, in part to inspect the damage from the oil spill. Although tragedy to marine life and the coastal ecosystem is being reported throughout the Bay and along the Pacific Coast (especially to the north of San Francisco) I was relieved to see that at least the tidal marshes in Sausalito do not seem to be greatly (or obviously) affected. I worry that the clean-up is not happening quickly enough, though, and that the strong currents that change with the tides, could bring some of the oil to this area.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge before dawn, I could smell fumes and see a sheen on the Bay from the oil. It was too dark to see anything in the water in Sausalito, but I didn't smell fumes as I was riding through town. I looked at the rocks along the water on Bridgeway--if there were oil globs stuck on them, it wasn't obvious to me as I rode by. I had been most concerned about the tidal marsh north of Sausalito. The bike path runs through this area, and whenever I ride by, I see many species of birds feeding here; I'd noted the recent arrival of Canada geese. I looked at some of the pools of water and couldn't tell if there was oil in them, but they seemed okay. Riding around the backside of Tiburon, I could smell strong fumes again from the oil. I didn't have a good view of the water there, but the I wondered if residents there had been warned about air quality.

I stopped for a few minutes near the ferry stop in Tiburon and looked out over the water. I couldn't see globs washing ashore but I wasn't too close. I was bothered, though, by what seemed to be an absence of any effort to protect the area. I didn't see any of those yellow booms to collect oil, and the oil skimming ships were far off. The day before, it was reported that there was an oil slick at Angel Island, which is not too far away from Tiburon. Just tonight, it was reported that there is still a large oil slick between Tiburon and Angel Island. I hope the people in charge of this operation are competent.

I stopped to take a few photos before and as I was crossing back over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco. With the bright sun, it was a little hard to see, but I could see some oil swirling around a building past Fort Baker and a trail of black goo leading east from the bridge. I saw a bird down below and it seemed to be struggling. It was hard to see from so far up, though.

Oil skimmers
Fort Baker north of San Francisco. I think those might be oil skimmer ships out there, or possibly Coast Guard.

Looking south
From the viewing area north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Oil near Fort Baker
From the Bridge, I could see oil swirling around this outcrop.

Globs of oil have been found all over the place. I could see a trail of oil leading east from the Bridge.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Breaks My Heart

(Picture from

Yesterday morning, an enormous container ship heading for South Korea, began leaking what is estimated now to be 58,000 of bunker fuel when it rammed its side into one of the Bay Bridge towers. The Bay Bridge appears to be fine, but the oil from the leaking ship has now been found up and down the coast, as well as in many beaches and other coastal areas in the San Francisco Bay. Many sea birds have been found oiled or already dead; according to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, the oil reduces the ability of the birds to stay warm in the cold water and they soon become hypothermic and hungry. The OWCN also states in their press release today, that for every bird that washes ashore, "an estimated 10 to 100 birds died at sea." I haven't seen any reports on marine mammals being affected, but then again the initial report relayed by the Coast Guard from the ship's operator was that the spill was about 140 gallons instead of 58,000. Ships coming in and out of the Bay hire pilots who are familiar with the area to guide ships in and out. The Coast Guard hasn't released the full story yet. I think the full environmental impact of this is yet to be determined.

Another part of this story is that a major series of triathlons was scheduled for this weekend on Treasure Island, an island in the Bay. So far, they are still planning on doing it; although if I were competing, I wouldn't want to do the swim.

Update: Google map shows the location of some of the pictures.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Low-Key Hill Climb: Mad Cow

After warming up for 4 to 5 miles on flat to mildly rolling hills, this is what greeted 67 riders as we began the 3.9-mile, 1923-foot vertical climb up Welch Creek Road last Saturday. "Well, here we go," I thought as I laughed a little at this first hill. I had been warned it would be steep. Fortunately, though, the road had been recently paved and we had sunny skies and warm weather.

I had tested my BG's right before the race began and measured in the low 70's. Hmm, not good. I ate a chocolate GU (so yummy!) and turned down my pump for 30 minutes and hoped that would cover it. Usually my blood sugar rises during intense rides like this, although I couldn't remember starting a ride with a blood sugar that low.

I was impressed to see a tandem bike there, and lots of other very fit-looking cyclists. I knew I would be secretly or openly mocked for my aerobars on such a climb, but with all the other stuff I have to lug around, what's another pound or so? It would make me stronger! Plus I just finally got them readjusted after my bike was disassembled for the JDRF ride. Anyway, at least I wasn't wearing an aero helmet or anything. Ha ha.

As you can see from the grade profile map (courtesy of Steve Rosen), the ride started out steep and just got steeper. Those little dips below 0% (all three of them) were oh-so-brief, but much-appreciated downhill sections. Somewhere around the 2nd mile (about 3.2 km on the plot above), I saw my new friend Murali K. stopped in the road. Looking around, I soon discovered why. To our right was a large brown and white cow, munching on some grass. No problem. But on the left side of the road were two calves, who seemed to belong to that cow. (Or at least one of them did.) I decided to try and pass, but as I approached, the cow gave me a nasty stare and started charging my way. I easily got some speed going back down the hill and she backed off, and went back to her task of eating. The two calves seemed unfazed and continued to munch on sticks and what-not. I tried a few more times with the same results. I asked Murali if the cow was heading towards the calves or us and he said she was heading right towards me! Well, we didn't know what we would do until we saw Sara G. come motoring by after fixing her flat. She didn't seem bothered and cruised right along, to our amazement. The cow gave a loud, very annoyed "Moo" as she went by, and Sara responded, "yeah yeah" and made her way. But the cow didn't even move from her spot. Huh! Well, we decided to get some speed and cruise by quickly and hope she would treat us so kindly. We went down a bit and started heading up, as quickly as possible. It seemed to be working... But after we had made some progress, I looked to my right and saw the cow running alongside and above us, approaching quickly. Would I be able to ride fast enough uphill? We finally got ahead of the calves and kept pedaling like mad and the cow backed off. (I guess she was more of the short sprinter type.) But my nicely calmed heart rate was back to its former, racing high state.

I had looked at my watch when we first stopped, and then when we had passed the cows, and we had lost 12 minutes there. I was quick to admit to Murali that I didn't mind being forced to take a break (and I was glad to give my blood sugar some more time to come up), but I was glad we were able to get by and finish the ride. After the first couple miles of this climb, I knew I would be happy to just finish. My finishing time was just barely under an hour at 59 minutes, which would be 47 minutes if I hadn't taken that long break. I had stopped a few other times, briefly, to check my blood sugar or let my heart come down from it's maxed-out rate of 193 beats per minute.

After the descent down, which was tough in its own way, Murali joined me for awhile on the Calaveras Road, and then I ventured up Felter Road, down Sierra, and through Milpitas and then on Tasman back to Sunnyvale. (Thanks for the tips, LKHC-ers!) I was careful to note how much braking was required on Sierra, since it is the site of an upcoming ride. And I also noted that I saw very little evidence of last week's earthquake, which was located just a short distance off of Felter. I saw a small landslide onto the road, but with the soft ground around here in many places, those are not uncommon sights. (The green below on the Google map shows the site of the earthquake, just off Felter, which is viewable if you zoom in. The red is the start of Welch Creek Road.)

View Larger Map

I was most happy to note that my arms, rather than my legs, were the most sore the next day. Um, maybe that means I should have ridden a bit faster?

(Picture taken by Genti Cuni, courtesy of Adam Tow, this week's coordinator. More can be seen on Adam's website and photo gallery.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Blue Lightning (Green Ray?)

I was sitting on the couch tonight, chatting with my parents about earthquakes and strange behaviors of cows (more on that later) when I was startled by a small and then larger, bright flash of blue-green light coming from west of the Golden Gate Bridge. My first impression was that it was lightning, except there was no thunder, the color was wrong, and it was too low in the sky and without the usual bolt of light seen with lightning. Hmm, well perhaps it was an explosion? But I heard no explosion, and haven't heard about any explosions on the news here. Okay, maybe fireworks? But what is the occasion? And it was 2 quick, isolated flashes, not resembling the normal appearance of fireworks. I posted a listing on the local news section of craigslist asking if anyone else saw it, and have had 2 responses so far. One guy suggested that it could be a green flash, which is a meteorological phenomenon typically occurring right after sunset. It seemed like a possibility because of the foggy, cloudy conditions tonight, but it was 2 hours after sunset, and green flashes typically occur right as the sun sets, or soon after.

I emailed an astronomy professor in London who wrote an article on green flashes. I hope he might have some insight. Perhaps it was a green ray?

Here's the basic info.
I saw it around 7:10 PM on November 5, 2007.
It appeared near or to the west of the Golden Gate Bridge, north and slightly west of where I viewed it in the approximate center of San Francisco. I would estimate the distance at about 5 miles.
It appeared to come from the same elevation as the Golden Gate Bridge, or a little lower. It appeared to originate from below and flash up, brightening the sky. I believe there was a smaller flash before the larger, brighter flash. The bigger flash was only a few seconds long at most.

I suspect some transformer could have exploded, or perhaps it originated from a ship on the Bay. But I really don't know. I find Roswell and the X-Files amusing but don't really buy into that stuff, so I'm looking for a more plausible explanation.

Did you see it?

So thanks to my friend Sarang, the mystery has been solved. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a plastic balloon flew into some power lines on 2nd and Clement, causing them to spark and resulting in a power outage. Who knew a balloon could cause something like that? Here's a great youtube video of a branch falling on some power lines. These guys were lucky:

Thanks also to the two astronomy professors who humored my requests and wrote me back explaining that it could not be a green flash so long after sunset. Dr. Andy Young from SDSU was closest to solving the puzzle. He said,

"It certainly sounds to me like electrical sparks between copper conductors. Are there any trolley lines in that direction?. . . Arcs between copper wires can also be caused by falling tree limbs, large birds, etc. -- though of course wires rubbing against something they normally wouldn't can also happen in high-wind conditions."

And I particularly enjoyed the email from Dr. Mike Dworetsky, Director of the London Observatory in London, UK, who enlightened me on green flashes, cloud-to-cloud lightning, and sprites. In the end he offered my favorite explanation:

"Hmmm. Nov 5th: It's Guy Fawkes night in England, traditionally celebrated with fireworks, so maybe a long-shot guess is that a British ship was letting off fireworks at sea...or maybe a British family on the Marin peninsula or at Drake's Bay?"

I'd like to see if there was a Union Jack on that balloon!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

World Diabetes Day

The United Nations adopted a resolution in December 2006 to designate November 14 as an annual day to recognize diabetes worldwide. The International Diabetes Federation has been recognizing 11/14--the birthday of Frederick Banting, who, with Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1921--as World Diabetes Day since 1991 to recognize the growing epidemic of this disease.

The motivation behind the resolution is to bring attention to the disease and encourage the creation of public and private health organizations to address prevention, care, and a cure. Especially in developing countries, which account for 80% of all cases of diabetes, the high financial and societal costs of diabetes care are increasing. Type 1 diabetes prevalence is increasing at a rate of 3% annually, and type 2 has now overtaken type 1 in children in Japan. For 2007 and 2008, the unite for diabetes campaign will focus on diabetes in children.

Action to help young people with diabetes is urgently needed. In poor and low-income countries, many people receive inadequate care or no care at all; the life expectancy for some diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is less than 2 years, when we see people in the U.S. living >75 years with the disease.

Please become familiar with the symptoms of both types of diabetes and do all you can to prevent type 2 diabetes. Realize that type 2 symptoms may be mild or completely unnoticeable, so it is best to get checked if you are at risk. In college, I worked for a year at the Joslin Diabetes Center. Although I had no complications at the time, and still have none after 19 years of diabetes, newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes were being treated there for severe retinopathy that could have been avoided with earlier detection.

Take care, World.