Getting Rid of More Needlesticks


The number of students who report having smoked a cigarette in the last month has remained stable over the last five years, a trend that the CDC thinks is dangerous.

If you’ve been following the news this week, you’ve probably noted the WHO report that indicates the US leads the world in terms of experimenting with marijuana and cocaine despite its rather hard-line illegal drug policies. It reminds me of that scene in Star Wars when Princess Leia tells the Governor Tarken, “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” Sure the analogy is a little over the top, but I’m just saying… Not surprisingly, there was an inverse relationship between drug use and age.

Furthermore, we are evidently not doing such a great job of convincing youngsters not to smoke. The number of students who report having smoked a cigarette in the last month has remained stable over the last five years, a trend that the CDC thinks is dangerous.

On a positive note, a couple of new combination vaccines are available, GlaxoSmithKline’s KINRIX and Sanofi Pasteur’s Pentacel. I guess a few less needlesticks might not make you look like a hero to kids, but it may help ease the minds of parents that sit on the fence with regard to the vaccine controversy. Which, as Martha Stewart is famous for saying, is a good thing.

Another cool bit of news with respect to reducing needlesticks for kids is in ocular glucose monitoring. A company called Freedom Meditech has announced its intention to conduct human clinical trials for technology that scans the front part of the eye for glucose in the aqueous humor. Kids may be friendly to the device, as it looks kind of like a kaleidoscope or pirate’s telescope, and according to the article, the scan takes less than a second. While the device is obviously some years from the market yet, the technology is definitely interesting.

Speaking of diabetes, if you have to have any difficult discussions with kids regarding a new diagnosis or compliance in July, you might want to stock up on Diabetes Forecast. The cover story is about the youngest Jonas brother, Nick, and his type I diabetes. If you’ve never heard of the Jonas Brothers, they are a Disney pop music phenomenon and — trust me on this – the story will get the attention of pretty much any kid with a TV set. My daughter doesn’t have diabetes, and she still read it and asked questions about the disease.

On the flip side, if you need to impress upon parents the importance of avoiding diabetes or managing the disease in their kids, point them to yesterday’s New York Times article. It was a real eye-opener for me — I had no idea how many people didn’t take diabetes seriously. What’s been your experience with parents when you consult with them on the topic? Have you ever heard someone tell you that because medication is available, people with diabetes do “just fine”? With all of the information that’s out there today, I can’t conceive of that attitude.

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