HEALTH

Discovery Health channel to present diabetes documentary

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Discovery Health, with support from an unrestricted educational grant from Novo Nordisk, will present the documentary “Diabetes: A Global Epidemic”—the definitive look at how diabetes affects the global community commercial-free on Nov. 18 at 9 a.m., Discovery announced Monday.

“This groundbreaking documentary shows diabetes for what it is: the silent epidemic of the 21st century, which doesn’t discriminate between culture, continent or civilization,” stated Lise Kingo, executive vice president at Novo Nordisk. “The film also captures the care, professionalism and determination of all those who live with, treat and seek new treatments for diabetes around the world and who are working toward consigning diabetes to medical history.”

Medical professionals are eligible to receive CME credits for viewing “Diabetes: A Global Epidemic.” More information is available at DiscoveryHealthCME.com.

The documentary follows Francine Kaufman, former American Diabetes Association president and head of the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in a tour across the world. Over a six-month period, Kaufman journeys from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa; Chennai, India; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melbourne and Perth, Australia; and Helsinki, Finland.

In her travels, Kaufman meets with physicians and diabetes thought leaders to discuss the challenges of combating the disease, as well as their success stories of treatment and prevention. In addition, she spends time with diabetes patients of all ages who share their personal stories and offer a unique insight into the realities of living with the disease.

Currently, more than 246 million people worldwide are living with the disease, a number that is expected to explode to 380 million within 20 years.

The documentary will be narrated by five-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close and documents diabetes’ escalating human and economic toll across differing cultures and health care systems.

The documentary’s premiere comes on the heels of a historic milestone—the first United Nations World Diabetes Day, which will be observed on Nov. 14.

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Makers of insulin pumps, glucose monitors modernize design

BY Drew Buono

MINNEAPOLIS New gadgets are hitting or about to hit the market that will take glucose monitoring into this century, according to businessweek.com.

One of these items is a, Paradigm Real-Time System, a glucose monitor made by Medtronic. The device attaches to a patients’ belt, which is connected to a needle that is lodged in the skin of the abdomen. The monitor measures the levels up to 288 times per day.

Another diabetes testing unit is called the GlucoPhone; the Food and Drug Administration recently approved it. The glucose meter attaches to some LG electronics and Motorola phones. The phone displays the results after the patient inserts a strip into it.

The move for these new innovative products came as a way to satisfy customers and increase proper diabetic testing. A recent study by Italian researchers showed that patients using the PRT System experienced 70 percent less therapy-related dissatisfaction than those who repeatedly inject themselves.

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Court rules that Washington state pharmacists may deny Plan B

BY Michael Johnsen

TACOMA, Wash. A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled in favor of a pharmacist’s right to “refuse and refer” the dispensing of any prescription for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, effectively overruling a state mandate that pharmacists in the state of Washington not decline to dispense a prescription drug based on moral beliefs unless there was a pharmacist coworker present who would adjudicate the prescription.

“The defendants [the state of Washington] are enjoined from enforcing [the anti-discrimination provisions of the new ruling enacted July 26] against any pharmacy which, or pharmacist who, refuses to dispense Plan B but instead immediately refers the patient either to the nearest source of Plan B or to a nearby source for Plan B,” concluded Judge Ronald Leighton of the U.S. District Court in his decision.

“Whether or not Plan B … terminates a pregnancy, to those who believe that life begins at conception, the drug is designed to terminate a life,” the judge wrote. “[The regulations] appear designed to impose a Hobson’s choice for the majority of pharmacists who object to Plan B: dispense a drug that ends a life as defined by their religious teachings, or leave their present positions in the state of Washington.”

The suit was filed by two individual pharmacists and the grocer Ralph’s Thriftway, which operates two supermarkets, one day before the state enacted its regulation this summer. Prior to the adoption of the regulations, Ralph’s Thriftway had been the object of a boycott organized by persons protesting the grocer’s refusal to stock Plan B. Both the store and the pharmacy manager were subsequently investigated by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy for allegedly failing to maintain an adequate stock of medicines. The Board later initiated an additional investigation in response to allegations that Ralph’s Thriftway violated pharmacy regulations by not stocking Plan B.

The American Pharmacists Association supports a pharmacist’s right to refuse and refer, but recognizing the central role of many pharmacists to the local health care system, the association emphasizes that those patients refused a prescription ought to be directed to a pharmacy or pharmacist that will fill that prescription in a timely manner.

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