How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and What to Do About It
By Dan Hurley
Kaplan Publishing, Hardcover, 9781607144588, 336pp.
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Nearly 90 years after the discovery of insulin, with an estimated $116 billion spent annually on the medical treatment of diabetes in the United States, why is diabetes the one major cause of death that’s been relentlessly rising for a century? Diabetes Rising investigates why the nearly two dozen medications approved for type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, and all the high-tech treatments for type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes, are failing to slow this modern pandemic of Western civilization. The book also profiles promising new approaches that are making significant strides toward preventing, curing, or dramatically improving treatment of the disease. Written by Dan Hurley, a regular contributor to the science section of the New York Times (and himself a type 1 diabetic for over 30 years), Diabetes Rising breaks medical news by revealing:
- The wealthiest town in Massachusetts, where an outbreak of type 1 diabetes among the children has parents up in arms, and a state investigation underway.
- The county in West Virginia with the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the country (where Hurley spent an evening with a family of 10 siblings, all of whom have the disease, and the local Wal-Mart proudly announces that it sells more Little Debbie snack cakes than any other Wal-Mart in the world).
- Why the rate of type 1 diabetes has been rising just as fast and just as long as the rate of type 2, transforming a childhood disease that was once exceedingly rare into one that now affects most elementary school systems in the country.
- How the “artificial pancreas,” long considered a holy grail that would take decades to develop, has now reached the final stages of testing—the book describes Hurley’s extraordinary experience participating in one of the world’s first clinical trials of the device, and profiles the colorful mavericks pushing the technology forward.
- Why international diabetes experts believe that three simple, little-known approaches—avoiding cow’s milk in baby formulas, getting adequate amounts of vitamin D, and simply playing in the dirt—could prevent many cases of diabetes.
- Innovative public-health strategies in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere that are seeking to attack diabetes today just as campaigns of a century ago defeated communicable diseases—with public-health laws regulating fast-food restaurants.
The devastating disease affects 23 million people in the U.S., and it continues to take lives. In his book, Diabetes Rising, reporter Dan Hurley chronicles his nationwide quest to explain how diabetes became a pandemic. More at NPR.org
NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.