My Heart and San Francisco
It's not often that I think about my pancreatic beta cells. I mean, sure, they are the crux of the matter in diabetes—they're what make the insulin and then stop making the insulin—but they are hardly utmost in my mind on a daily basis.
Still, it was tough not to think of beta cells in June, when I (and dozens of my colleagues) went out to San Francisco for the American Diabetes Association's 68th Scientific Sessions. This is the annual conference where all the big brains in diabetes research get together, and some of us littler brains tag along for the ride. Part of the thrill is just being in the midst of thousands of researchers, doctors, nurses, educators, and others, all trying to help people with diabetes. From morning to evening each day, the Forecast team and I attended as many sessions as we could, hearing the latest thinking on such subjects as managing diabetes in pregnancy, islet cell transplantation, the rising rate of diabetes in Asia, and, indeed, preserving beta cell function in people with type 2.
This year, there was considerable excitement about major new findings on glucose control and heart health, as you'll read in the roundup in the Resource Shorts section. Since most diabetes fatalities are the result of cardiovascular disease, it's an important subject for researchers, and their efforts to combat it are impressive.
Impressive, but also sobering. After the intellectual punch of hearing about new research comes the personal one-two: This is you and me they're talking about, and it's our hearts that are in peril of giving out long before their time. Which makes me glad, yet again, that there are so many experts who think about things like beta cells every day—so that maybe, one day, I won't have to think about them at all.
At this year's Scientific Sessions, David G. Marrero, PhD, an associate editor of Diabetes Forecast, was honored with the ADA's prestigious Outstanding Educator in Diabetes award. We salute him, and thank him for all he does for people with diabetes.