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Certain devices can mitigate the risks of Type 1 diabetes — but only for those who can afford them




Last month, as part of its “Implant Files” package, CBC News documented reports of injury and death due to insulin pumps. Millions of people with Type 1 diabetes around the world use the pumps to help manage their blood sugar levels as an alternative to multiple daily injections.

The investigation concluded that “for some people with diabetes, depending on their level of training and knowledge, the popular device might not be the safest way to manage their blood glucose levels.”

Readers with little background knowledge about Type 1 diabetes or insulin pumps might have walked away from the investigation with the impression that the pump is an inherently dangerous device: one that could cause insulin overdose or even death. But here is the far more important fact: Type 1 diabetes is dangerous. Insulin is dangerous. We need to focus on — and ideally, petition for coverage for — the mechanisms that mitigate that risk.  

A life-changing diagnosis

At age 11, my daughter started to exhibit symptoms of Type 1 diabetes: she developed an unquenchable thirst, lost weight at an alarming rate, was tired often and her vision started to blur. Immediately, we were forced into a scary new world. The idea of having to inject your child with insulin multiple times every day is unnerving, but that’s what our daughter needed to survive. Insulin is a hormone that no one can live without. Thank your functioning pancreas if you don’t have to get yours at the pharmacy.

We were shocked and terrified to learn that Type 1 diabetes is the only chronic, life threatening disease where the dosing decisions of a potentially lethal hormone are left in the hands of the patient alone. Without the training and education we received and continue to receive from the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Whitby, Ont., we would not have made it through that first year. They helped us determine insulin to carb ratios and basal rates that our daughter’s body needed. 

Our daughter did insulin injections for 10 months before she decided she wanted to try the pump. We went through the training and never looked back. Pumping worked for us because we’re diligent with testing, closely monitor blood sugars and count carbs. We routinely check the pump to make sure it’s functioning properly. After all, it is a machine. Machines can malfunction.  

The pump works for our daughter because of the convenience factor. She doesn’t want to pull out syringes, prime them and do a complicated math equation before injecting herself with what she hopes will be the right amount of insulin for the carbs she is consuming. In a crowded high school cafeteria full of distractions, that could easily lead to a dosing error.

Since a CGM sensor is always on the body, it can continuously track levels and alert patients as their levels are fluctuating. (Jackie McKay/CBC )

But pumping also works for us because we rely on another device: a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM. Being a Type 1 diabetic has traditionally meant constantly pricking your finger to test your blood sugar levels. Four months into diagnosis, I thought there must be some sort of technology that would mean a better way. So I started Googling and stumbled upon the CGM: a device that would allow us to sleep at night without fear of missing an episode of hypoglycemia — severe low blood sugar — that could prevent our daughter from waking up the next day. 

The device provides blood glucose readings every five minutes by reading interstitial fluid through a sensor and transmitter on the body. It sends readings via Bluetooth to phones or receivers. Since a CGM sensor is always on the body, it can continuously track levels and alert patients as their levels are fluctuating, instead of testing after the fact.  

Out-of-pocket costs

Thankfully, if our daughter were to dose herself incorrectly, she would recognize it on her CGM and intervene before it got too serious. She is one of the lucky ones. This device is so important to us that we pay the $3,000 per year cost out of pocket, and we would sacrifice just about anything to keep it. Some families can’t afford to do that, so they fundraise.

The cost of an insulin pump is covered by Ontario’s provincial government, but supplies for it often exceed the $2,400 per year the government provides. There is no coverage, on the other hand, for CGMs. Other provinces — such as Quebec and the Yukon —  have started exploring coverage options. But most Type 1 patients and their families in Canada are left to cover the costs themselves.

Health Quality Ontario interviewed us and other families affected by Type 1 diabetes back in 2017, and it recommended that CGMs be funded for certain people, including those who don’t feel the symptoms of, or can’t communicate about, episodes of low blood sugar. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much of a response from the province.

CGMs provide incredible insight into what direction your blood sugar is heading and how quickly. This information is crucial in the management of Type 1 diabetes. Whether you miscalculated your insulin dose, or it’s just one of those crazy roller coaster days that all Type 1s have, the CGM warns you and gives you the chance to respond quickly to a plummeting or skyrocketing blood sugar.

Type 1 diabetes is a dangerous disease, and there is no cure or way to prevent it. Self-administering a potentially lethal hormone is always going to be dangerous, whether it’s through daily injections — which can mean human error — or through insulin pumps — which can mean technological malfunction. The focus should be on ways we can lessen the risk that comes with self-administering insulin. And the tools should be available to everyone, regardless of financial constraints.

This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.


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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high




(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine




(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states




In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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