I hope you are inspired by the following story.
It’s about how do-it-yourselfers in the Type 1 diabetes community have
achieved advances in treatment that are entirely independent of the medical and
pharmaceutical industries, and of FDA regulation. The manner in which these advancements were
obtained mirrors how DIYs in the smoking community have promoted vaping devices
that are substantially replacing deadly cigarettes.
with Type 1 diabetes (PWDs for short) lack a functioning pancreas, making them
reliant on a continuous external source of insulin. There have been considerable advances in
managing Type 1 over the past two decades, including better forms of insulin,
small wearable pumps that provide the essential hormone 24/7, and continuous
glucose monitors (CGMs) – tiny sensors that provide blood sugar levels day and
night. Remarkable as these advances are,
PWDs must still be on guard 24/7 – even in the middle of the night – to
maintain a normal blood sugar range. With
Type 1, blood sugar levels can soar or plunge in an instant. Too much time at the high end can damage
blood vessels, kidneys and other organs, while low blood sugars can trigger
brain shutdown, coma and even death.
late, PWDs were convinced that insulin pumps and CGMs could be integrated into
an “artificial pancreas”, but device manufacturers and the FDA were not moving
fast enough. In response, DIYs went into
action (as described in a recent article in
and in 2013 the hashtag #WeAreNotWaiting became “the rally cry of folks in the
diabetes community who are taking matters into their own hands by developing
platforms, apps, and cloud-based solutions, and reverse-engineering existing
products,” with a focus on developing an artificial pancreas.
pancreas systems (insulin pump, CGM and controller) have been available for
several years. One app, called Loop, is
used by 10-15,000 people worldwide (here). In my own 18-month experience with it I have
found it truly life-changing.
DIY artificial pancreas program called Tidepool has just been submitted for FDA
review. If approved, it would be the
first DIY product to have passed FDA scrutiny.
PWDs are hopeful, but those already using artificial pancreas solutions
will never give them up.
reason this story is important for vapers is that you have been using
unapproved devices as substitutes for cigarettes in order to lead longer and
healthier lives. Like PWDs, you are not waiting
for FDA-approved options to step away from the fire.
and vapor products are scheduled for daunting reviews by the FDA, but vapers,
you have demonstrated that, in order to quit smoking and stay smoke-free, you
are not waiting. Take heart with this