Saturday, 16 June 2007

Dollars Against Diabetes volunteers hit the street corners this weekend

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When you're out driving this Father's Day weekend and stop at a busy intersection, look for the volunteers wearing the orange shirts. They are tirelessly soliciting donations from passing motorists to support Dollars Against Diabetes, an annual campaign organized by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. Dollars for Diabetes has raised a whopping $17 million since 1987.

Throw some change in the bucket, and maybe even some greenbacks. We all know it is going to a good cause.

If you miss the orange shirts in your area, union members raise additional dollars through walk-a-thons, softball/golf tournaments, raffles and other local events. Thank you Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

A very Happy Father's Day to all!

Pancreatic cancer surgery not as popular as it should be

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There are certain points on everyone's life where being tested for various cancers should be at the top of the priority list. With that in mind, it's distressing to hear that almost 40% of people with early pancreatic cancer that could have treatment to ward off the disease don't end up getting it at all.

This comes from a recent study, which concluded that the 40% of pancreatic cancer patients who don't see early surgery treatment face a grim and uncertain future.

Life extension is greatly improved by surgery following early pancreatic cancer detection, although the chances for surviving more than five years are not greatly enhanced here. Of particular note here is that the 40% with early detection are not even offered surgery, with certain groups of people being less likely to be offered surgery. I guess all people in the U.S. really aren't created equal after all.

Test your blood sugar in style

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You know diabetes is entering the mainstream when you see a tv ad hawking designer blood glucose meters. I'm not much of an impulse shopper, but these little buggers are sharp!

LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company, now offers their OneTouch(R) UltraMini(TM) blood glucose meter in four bold colors -- Silver Moon, Limelight, Pink Glow and Black. The sleek body is small enough to slip into your pocket or purse, with easy to read results in just five seconds. The meter uses OneTouch(R) Ultra(R) test strips. LifeScan's website claims the strips are covered at the lowest co-pay by more health plans than any other strip. Not bad.

Americans eat up designer gear. Diabetes is on the rise. I predict a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with a blood glucose meter seamlessly snapped in back. Patent that.

Stand up and your blood glucose goes down

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Stand up when you talk on the phone, it lowers your blood sugar. Fold the laundry standing up. If you're going fishing, leave the chair with the fancy cupholders at home. Light exercise may help cut the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Australian researchers studying 173 non-diabetic adults found the longer participants spent on low-intensity activities, the lower their blood sugars. Surprisingly, the association between light exercise and reduced blood glucose was irrespective of moderate to vigorous activity levels. But do not throw out the treadmill. Researchers stressed light exercise should not replace the recommended 30 minutes of medium to intense daily exercise.

Since I ruptured my achilles tendon last month, I've been zipping across the kitchen linoleum on an office chair. Not good. I need to stand more frequently on my one good leg with the help of those creaky crutches. Wait, does this mean I reap half the benefit?

Exercise benefits heart failure patients

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Exercise is good for the heart, even hearts that are failing. That's according to a recent review of research that studies the effects of exercise on patients suffering from heart failure. What experts found is that exercise makes hearts function better, and significantly so. Aerobic exercise, they found, is key. Strength training, whether combined with aerobic exercise or not, did not have any direct benefit on heart health.

If you're suffering from heart failure, be sure to discuss adding exercise to your routine with your doctor before you begin. Some patients may need to slowly work themselves into an workout routine, and certain exercises may need to be avoided.

Thought for The Day: Make a list, and make an appointment

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patientHow many of us see our doctors at least once a year? (If you don't, you probably already know that you should... Preventive health care begins with you). I have to see my physician annually, or he won't refill my prescription, and I need my prescription. He says it is for insurance purposes, but I think he just likes to check in with me-- and I am fine with that. We go over my blood pressure, make arrangements to check my cholesterol. I take care of breast exams and my pap with my ob-gyn.

However, one of the things I have been thinking about this summer, as time grows near for my annual appointment, is that I don't always remember to mention things to him at this appointment. It has been a long time since I have seen or talked with my doctor. I just reached out and touched wood, automatically after I typed that. Knock on wood-- that could change on a dime. How many times have you walked out of an appointment, especially your annual, and thought, "I wish I had mentioned this..." Because sometimes it is worth just having things checked out, and making sure your physical exam is truly thorough.

Think about this: If you know your annual physican is drawing near, start carrying around a little notebook and recording changes you have noticed, or something that may seem minor, but might be worth mentioning.

This year, in my little notebook, I have: fatigue-- is this normal? I take a lot of naps... I seem to be developing an allergy to milk-- but could it be something else? That isn't a food reaction? Could you look at these spots on my face-- are these acne scars, or something else? I don't remember seeing them last year...

I have had a lot of friends who have gone to the doctor for what seemed to be pretty innocent symptoms-- and they had cancer instead. I think especially with the recent news about some pretty innocuous symptoms that could be forerunners for ovarian cancer, it's not too much to pay a little extra attention to what our bodies are trying to tell us. And then to tell our doctors, on our bodies' behalves.
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Worthy Wisdom: Replenish after exercise

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It was a Canyon Ranch nutritionist, not a fitness trainer, who shared with me these words of wisdom regarding exercise. I consider this more evidence backing the fact that diet and exercise go hand in hand, that each one cannot fully and successfully operate in isolation from the other.

So here it is, this Saturday's Worthy Wisdom:

After we exercise, we should eat something within 15 minutes of completing our physical challenge. Why? Because we've taxed our bodies, depleted them, and it's important to put something back in after taking so much out. Consider a banana, a handful of nuts, something nutritious and energizing, and allow your body to recover. And don't forget about water -- drink plenty to re-hydrate yourself.

Life is all about replenishing. Take cancer. It invades our bodies, compromises it in endless ways, and leaves us weak and tired. Yet when, and if, it retreats, we get the chance to spring back to life. Through physical and emotional nourishment, we put back in what cancer took out. Exercise works the same way.

Take something out, put something back. Repeat this to yourself over and over again -- and make it a way of life.

Thanks Canyon Ranch for this Worthy Wisdom.

You Can Beat Cancer: A medical doctor's weblog

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You Can Beat Cancer! is a weblog written by a medical doctor specializing in public health and epidemiology.

The author tell us -- Cancer is certainly curable in the early stage, and in late stage, there are many available treatments to prolong their lives and also to let them have a good quality of life. Do not be despair. Ask your doctor for more information on the treatment options.

The blog is designed to teach readers the latest in cancer treatment. You can find articles about prevention, treatments, vaccines, new advances, insurance issues and much more.

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Friday, 15 June 2007

Diabetes may damage sperm cell DNA

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A recent study compared the sperm of 27 men with type 1 diabetes to the sperm of 29 men of equal age without diabetes.

The researchers found that the sperm of the men with diabetes were healthy in many respects. The shape and abundance of the sperm from type 1 diabetic males were perfectly normal and apparently they were great swimmers. However, when the DNA was examined, there was more damage to the DNA of the diabetic men. Around 52% of the DNA in their sperm cells was fragmented, compared to only 32% in the men without diabetes. There was also a higher rate of deletions in the DNA inside their mitochondria, separate DNA found within each cell. The results of this study suggest type 1 diabetes may cause diabetic men to be less fertile.

However Diabetes Health recognizes that many type 1 dads have healthy children - so the study need not be a decision maker or breaker to pursue fatherhood. Thanks to Diabetes Health for reporting the ongoing pursuit of diabetes health.

Harley Davidson raises money for diabetes research

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The B.A.D Ride was born ten years ago in Southern California. B.A.D as in Bikers Against Diabetes. Rip Rose, a biker and photojournalist for Easyriders, wanted to bring the biker nation together in the fight against diabetes. Today, that dream is a reality.

On Sunday morning, June 10th, nearly two dozen Harley-Davidson motorcycles roared to life, heading out to Oak Canyon Park in Irvine, where they were joined by hundreds of other riders from Southern California at a fair with bands, food, vendors and a ride-in bike show. Sunday's event marked the ride's 10th anniversary. Rip's B.A.D Ride partners with the American Diabetes Association, and 80% of the money raised goes to diabetes research.

This story goes out to my dad, Bizzle. He's a HOG (a member of the Harley-Davidson Owners Group). He's told me they are the nicest people you will ever meet and that is why he enjoys his open road adventures. It looks like he's right. I think he would love to join a Rip's B.A.D Ride. Those of you HOGs interested in upcoming rides for diabetes, checkout the schedule. Thanks to all those who fire up for the sake of diabetes!

Diabetes summer camps for kids

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As a parent, sending your child with diabetes to overnight camp may seem a pipedream. You endlessly are assisting, reminding and checking up on them to help keep their disease under control. How could your child ever head autonomously away to camp? One answer is the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) diabetes camps for kids.

The ADA is the largest provider of diabetes camps for kids in the world. Safety is their number one priority, as kids with diabetes are guided by well-trained staff, usually adult counselors with diabetes working within a climate that understands the daily regimens. Kids are surrounded by kids just like them, diabetes is the norm. Diabetes education within an experiential framework is an integral part of camp philosophy. Kids come back learning how to better manage their disease at a pace relevant to their ability and age.

Summer Solstice is a week away! Check out the ADA website on diabetes camp -- there's a camp locator tool and mucho information and advice.

Introducing myself...Rigel Gregg

I guess it's about time I introduced myself, since I think I'm one of the only ones left who hasn't! So lets see...I have been writing for The Cardio Blog for a little over a month now and I love it. Living healthy and doing what I can to stay healthy as I grow older is becoming more important to me every day as it becomes all too obvious that the world around us isn't a very healthy place most of the time! And considering heart disease is the #1 killer of women in this country it seems worth learning about and working to prevent, you know?

Other than that I'm not sure what else to say -- I live in the beautiful Midwest, I also write for That's Fit on health and fitness, and my absolutely favorite heart-healthy habit is walking with my dog. And my biggest non-heart-healthy sin? I love cheese. I love it.

We're all in this together!
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The more colour the better

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What does your dinner plate look like? More specifically, what do your salads look like? If you say green, you might not be getting all the health benefits you can. Colours -- deep reds, yellows, purples, oranges -- are full of important nutrients that you might not be getting from plain old lettuce. One colour is especially good for you: berry red. Full of antioxidants, vitamins and oh-so-tasty, berries can be a great addition to salads, main dishes and pretty much anything else. Thought I like them on their own.

My other favourite coloured produce includes bell peppers, eggplant, carrots, mangos and watermelon. What about you?

Heart study: an upside to obesity?

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It's called the obesity paradox, and it has given some heart experts cause. Recent studies have shown that obese men with heart disease tend to live longer than slimmer heart disease patients. Because we usually equate extra weight with higher risk, it seems counter-intuitive. Though experts have not yet pinpointed why men with obesity tend to fare better after being diagnosed with heart disease, they think it may, in fact, have little to do with the men's biology. One possible scenario is that physician's treat heart disease more rigorously in men with obesity then in men who are at a healthy weight.

Whatever the cause, no one is suggesting that anyone gain weight! Obesity puts people at a higher risk for a whole host of problems, and keeping the weight off may prevent heart disease in the first place.

Fitness and a heart condition: Can they go together?

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It may seem like once you're diagnosed with a chronic heart condition (or other illness for that matter) the idea of fitness and good health go right out the window, and that really shouldn't be the case. It may be more challenging, but it certainly is possible to exercise and get in better shape while working around a chronic illness.

Your doctor can go over with you exactly what your physical limitations are in regards to what you should and shouldn't be doing. He may also recommend physical therapy, depending on your situation, or he may just recommend specific guidelines for exercising. If you decide to go the route of hiring a personal trainer, which is a good idea for many, be sure to find one that has experience working with your particular health condition or conditions. Although their expertise can be a lifesaver, it won't help you if they aren't tailoring it to what you can realistically do.

And last but not least, set realistic expectations for yourself. Getting in shape takes a long time for even the healthiest people, so don't expect miracles to happen instantly. Instead enjoy the small successes along the way.

The racial gap associated with breast cancer is getting worse

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The racial gap is constantly narrowing in most aspects of North American society, except in one respect: Cancer. According to studies, the life spans of white women with breast cancer are continually on the rise, while the life spans of black women with cancer have pretty much remained stagnant. The average span of survival from the time of diagnosis in white women increased from 20 to 27 months, while in black women, it only increased from 16 to 17 months.

Any causal relationship at this time is only speculation, but it's thought it has to do with accessibility of healthcare between races. For white women, only 11% lack healthcare insurance, while 20% of black women do. Distrust of the healthcare system is also a speculated cause.

Thought for the day: Ditch the aspartame

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I've looked into fake sweeteners for quite some time and it confounds me why some of the beverage products are still on the market when toxic substances like aspartame are contained in them.

I've also looked at the argument that aspartame does or does not assist in the development of various cancers. A final decision has been to not eat or drink anything with aspartame just to be safe. In fact, ditching soft drinks (regular and diet) years ago was the best decision I ever made in terms of coming to a cancer-free lifestyle.

Think about this:

Do you like that Equal of NutraSweet? Have you tried all-natural sweeteners like stevia or agave nectar instead? We all need to eat something sweet, but there are much better alternatives to sweeteners than aspartame.

The problem is that the brands aspartame is sold under are so large and are found virtually anywhere -- making them much more likely to be consumed. For those concerned with cancer prevention (all of us, I think), it's not really a wise choice, ever. Feel free to disagree, as always.

TV's Mr. Wizard Don Herbert dies of bone cancer

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Don Herbert, also known as television's science teacher Mr.Wizard, died at his home Tuesday of bone cancer. He was 89.

Mr. Wizard's target audience was kids (baby boomers: you may already know this) and his lessons taught youngsters to use the thinking skills of scientists through workshop experiments using simple household items. His 1950s series Watch Mr. Wizard was so good it won a Peabody Award in 1954, and Herbert was one of David Letterman' first guests when the show Late Night With David Letterman debuted in 1982. Herbert's show made it to Nickelodeon too and ran from 1983 to 1991. Reruns were shown until 2000. Nickelodeon's Mr. Wizard episodes are available here.

A native of Waconia, Minnesota, Herbert graduated from LaCrosse State Teachers College in 1940; served as a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot during World War II; and worked as an actor, model, and radio writer before reaching fame on Mr. Wizard in Chicago -- and then New York -- on NBC.

He is survived by six children and stepchildren and by his second wife, Norma.

Survival Spotlight: David didn't ask why me, he asked -- what now?

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I found David's website while researching about Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive type of brain tumor. I found his website to be very inspiring. My uncle died of GBM twenty years ago this coming holiday season. David is an 11 year survivor this year! You can visit David's website at www.davidmbailey.com.

How did you find out you had cancer?

I started getting these really bad headaches. One morning, I fell over and felt nauseous. My wife called 911 and I remember getting in the ambulance thinking it was silly. I had a small seizure in the ambulance and when we got to the ER, I had a major grand-mal seizure. They did a quick cat-scan and saw a large mass in my head so they put me on a helicopter and flew me to a bigger hospital where they operated the next morning to remove the baseball size tumor in my brain. The pathology came back with the bad news -- grade 4 glioblasoma multiform (GBM) Prognosis, 6 months to live.

What types of cancer treatments were recommended?

I originally saw a general oncologist who had one clinical trial to offer but it was a randomized study, meaning a computer would pick if I got the treatment. I thought that was stupid. Then he gave me the best advice possible -- he told me to see a NEURO oncologist -- someone who specialized in heads.

How did you research cancer and cancer treatments?

I searched online for brain tumor clinical trials and found the best site in the world: www.virtualtrials.com

I printed out the full list and started calling hospitals all over the nation. When I called Duke university in North Carolina, I knew I'd found the right place -- Dr. Henry Friedman called me back that night and I went there the next day and was immediately put on a trial using the drug Temozolomide, (Temodar) now the standard of care for all brain tumors

How did you tell your family?

I didn't -- they told me when I woke up in the hospital. :-) My kids were age 2 and 4. As time passed, they gradually became aware of my situation, especially as I began to write and perform. We maintained a positive perspective so they would not be scared.

Are you involved with any cancer support groups, fundraisers or cancer organizations?

I participated in a few online email support groups for awhile. As I got more involved in my songwriting and performing and recording, I started doing lots of benefits for all kinds of cancer and nursing groups all over the country and still do today.

What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with cancer?

Life is short. Time is precious. Don't ask 'why me' -- ask 'what now?. Surround yourself with positive people, do what you love and love what you do. Find hope and share it with everyone you meet. Consider that every morning you wake up, you are cured for a day.

What advice would your give the family members and friends of someone diagnosed with cancer?

Just be there. Know that you do not have all the answers, but you don't need to have all the answers. love the moments together. take notes on all medical meetings -- the patient will often not register all the questions and information.

As a cancer survivor, what thoughts do you have on surviving cancer and being a cancer survivor?

I know many folks whose main goal is to resume life as they knew it before diagnosis. As a full-time profession performing songwriter, my diagnosis has become a part of who I am and what I have to share with others, so it is always current and quite public -- this July I will celebrate 11 years of survivorship. Amazing.

Name cancer related resources that you recommend:

www.davidmbailey.com

www.virtualtials.com

www.abta.org

www.tbts.org

www.nbtf.org

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Thursday, 14 June 2007

Kellogg vows to limit ads aimed at kids

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Shrek, Cocoa Krispies, Frosted Flakes. You don't have to be a health nut to find the breakfast cereal and snack treat aisles at your local supermarket a bit disturbing. Sugar, sugar and more sugar: seems that's the main ingredient in most of the cereals pitched at children. And the appalling effect of all that consumption on the nation's children is evident in record (and rising) levels of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. But it seems the food industry is beginning to respond to these concerns.

The New York Times reports that the Kellogg Company plans to quit advertising some of its least nutritious products to children younger than twelve. Those products are the ones packed with so-called "empty-energy" calories derived from sugar and fat, and also containing high levels of sodium. Kellogg also promised to end the use of licensed characters and toys to sell those products. In addition, Kellogg's President and CEO, David Mackay, is quoted as saying that the most sugar-soaked products may be reformulated to make them a tad healthier if it can be done "without negatively impacting the taste of the product."

Kellogg is doing this voluntarily, and expects to complete the changes over the course of the next year and a half. The marketing switch will affect marketing of about half of Kellogg's products. Needless to say, it is what you might call a preemptive move. By making this concession, the company will be able to counter accusations from food industry critics that its execs don't care about the health of our children. Oh, and there's the small matter of a lawsuit which, if it had proceeded, would have brought some horrible bad publicity to Kelloggs. The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, along with two Massachusetts parents, says The Times, were threatening to bring a suit against Kellogg and Nickelodeon for their tactics in pitching products to young children. These groups now say they will not pursue their case against Kellogg in light of the changes it has made.

Quality of life for diabetics in Mexico is grim

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I am often guilty of diabetes isolationism. I tend to think about diabetes within a United States vacuum. But diabetes is a worldwide disease. The World Health Organization website identified the worldwide prevalence of diabetes at 171 million in 2000, and projects this number will rise to 366 million in 2030. Unfortunately, diabetes treatment and education is severely lacking in developing countries.

Mexico is one developing country where the public health system is failing the disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of death in Mexico, with 138 deaths per 100,000 adults aged 20 to 84 in 2000. That compares to 82 deaths in 100,000 here in the United States. Mexico also has one of the world's highest prevalence rates -- 10.7 percent of adults 20 to 69 have diabetes.

Half the population in Mexico is medically uninsured. That statistic blew me away. Many Mexican families are unable to afford the most basic tools to manage the disease such as blood glucose meters, lancets, blood test strips, syringes and cotton swabs. Chronic hyperglycemia results in extensive complications such as nerve damage or vision loss. Families become more impoverished as their loved one with diabetes cannot work.

There are heroes fighting the disease. Dr. Marco Reynosa, an internist with the government-run Dario Fernandez Fierro General Hospital, has been counseling working-class diabetics for 23 years. He runs educational courses and fairs for diabetics at the hospital, receiving no resources or extra pay. He convinces Mexicans with diabetes to invest in blood sugar meters and keep daily blood sugar charts to keep the disease in check. But heroes will not solve the crisis in Mexico, the government has to step forward.

Alberto Barcelo, with the Pan-American Health Organization, stated Mexico is making efforts to improve diabetes care and education. Yet a director with the Mexican Diabetes Federation stated fewer than 10 percent of Mexican diabetics receive self-management education, partly due to lack of awareness of resources and plain indifference.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Mediterranean diets thought to prevent colon cancer

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It's been known that olive oil is a good colon cancer preventer, but what about whole diets based on Mediterranean principles? Although a study is now beginning at the University of Michigan on how a Mediterrean diet can help prevent colon cancer, the consumption of olive oil and nuts should already be in a healthy person's diet, right?

Olive oil is great for cooking just about everything (and it's good for making low-calorie salad dressings as well), but eating as those in the Mediterrean area eat is a great recipe for health. And -- surprise -- prevention of certain types of cancer (in this instance, colon cancer).

This current research which just started does make the point that eating patterns are more important to cancer prevention than the intake of isolated and independent nutrients. this is true -- whole diets are quite the important facet of healthy living (and cancer prevention) -- not specific nutrients that may not be as effective as they could be.

Talking to kids about cancer

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Gilda's Club Delaware Valley and the YSC Community Volunteer Group (CVG) of Greater Philadelphia proudly present a lecture: "Talking to Kids About Cancer."

When: Tuesday, June 26th from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Gilda's Club Delaware Valley, 200 Kirk Road, Warminster, PA 18974

Children may be quiet, children may be outspoken, but all children have questions. We want to give them the best answers we can. Learn how to talk to kids about cancer, how to address the easy questions and the tough ones. Light refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP to Cathy at 215-441-3290 ext. 115. For more information and driving directions, visit the Gilda's Club Delaware Valley website.

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Insulin Pumps: 101

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Insulin pumps are especially helpful to match your insulin to your lifestyle, instead of the other way around. The pump delivers insulin in varying, small amounts throughout the day, more closely resembling a healthy pancreas. Type 1 diabetics of all ages are using the insulin pump, and even some type 2 diabetics have chosen to try the pump.

Insulin pumps boast better blood glucose control, even a potentially lower A1C. The American Diabetes Association lists some pros/cons of the insulin pump. The pump eliminates the need for multiple injections, significantly reduces large swings in blood glucose, makes diabetes management easier, and can improve the quality of life. Pumps have a convenient disconnect port so you can shower, swim or bathe in an instant. On the negative side, the pump can also cause weight gain or ketoacidosis if the catheter falls out, can be expensive, requires initial training and can be troublesome to cart around. However, the pump is relatively small and can be worn fairly inconspicously in a waistband, pocket or even a sports bra.

For 24 hours a day, insulin pumps deliver short-acting insulin through a catheter placed under the skin. After an initial training period, you program the pump to deliver various doses of basal insulin throughout the day to keep blood glucose steady between meals and during the night. Then you press a few buttons to deliver bolus insulin to cover carbohydrates in meals/snacks. Conveniently, a bolus dose can also be administered to cover your inability to refuse grandma's cherry pie or act as a corrective dose to treat an unexpected high blood glucose level. No more needles, but the port site does need to be changed every few days.

Head to The Diabetes Mall to see the more popular pumps on the market, along with books and resources to aid your research.

Attaboy -- Politician's son takes diabetes fundraising to Washington

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As my parents explained it to me, when your child is diagnosed with diabetes you are slapped in the face with a shocking revelation: we can't fix this! However a blessing in disguise was bestowed upon Dylan Fossella, an 11- year-old boy who also happens to be the son of Vito Fossella, a Congressman from Staten Island.

Dylan Fossella, was just five years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He will be one of 150 other children and teenagers living with type 1 diabetes from across the country heading to D.C. on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They will speak to lawmakers to encourage funding toward a cure. To earn the trip to Washington, he had to write a letter to his local Congressman, who happens to be his dad. The message Dylan most wants his dad and other politicians to hear is the same message I promoted when I visited Washing D.C in the 1990s with the American Diabetes Association: find a cure in my lifetime, please.

Over the years, many people have regarded diabetes as a disease that's manageable. True -- but that's easier said than done. For kids like Dylan that means checking your sugar about four times a day (or more) and upwards of six insulin shots a day. As a personal reflection -- I consider myself lucky to be one of the 13,000 children chosen in 1985 for juvenile diabetes. Here I am 22 years later, blogging on behalf of Dylan. It is my hope that he and his family can make a difference for all of us wishing for that cure. Have a great time in D.C, Dylan. It'll be the memory of a lifetime!

Glaxo sued by investors over Avandia

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Go Speed Racer, Go -- pole position has been taken in the litigation race against GlaxoSmithKline for their alleged Avandia misdealings. Winner of the pole is none other than a Glaxo shareholder.

The law firm Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern State of New York on behalf of shareholder Leon D. Borchoff. Mr. Borochoff purchased an undisclosed stake in Glaxo stock on May 16, 2007 at $56.92 per share. The firm is seeking damages for all investors purchasing shares between October 27 and May 21.

The firm accuses Glaxo of failure to disclose to investors their own meta-analysis which revealed Avandia increased the risk of heart attacks. Glaxo did reveal results to the Food and Drug Administration back in September 2005, but a public disclosure in late May only occured after Dr. Nissen published his own damaging meta-analysis showing an increased heart attack risk of 43 percent.

Prescriptions have how fallen 15 to 20 percent since Dr. Nissen's study was released on May 21 in the New England Journal of Medicine. With $3.2 billion in Avandia sales last year, Glaxo's future profits are taking a huge hit. A Deutsche Bank analyst has estimated Avandia litigation could cost Glaxo up to $5 billion.

The lawsuit alleges Glaxo devised a plan to deceive the market that artificially inflated the stock price, resulting in economic loss for the plaintiff and members of the class. A pharmaceuticals analyst from Bridgewell Group in London doubts the checkered flag will ever wave at an Avandia litigation race as Dr. Nissen's analysis was flawed and no solid evidence exists to suggest Avandia was more dangerous than similar type 2 diabetes drugs.

Start your engines, the green flag is about to drop. Read the full story in TimesOnline.

Januvia, Actos set to benefit from Avandia's plight

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Avandia, a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes, has been in the news of late following the release of controversial study results which concluded the drug leaves patients at an increased risk for heart trouble. My fellow blogger Bev has touched on the conundrum now facing diabetics on Avandia regimens. You can quit taking Avandia, but then what? Thousands of Americans are now facing this predicament and many have opted to switch their prescriptions to something else. The Philadelphia Inquirer is running a feature about this and talks to some diabetics who have opted for the "try something else" route.

The Inquirer profiles, among others, pharmacist Ben Briggs, 59, who switched to Merck's Januvia in the wake of the Avandia scandal, but was sorely disappointed in the results. Instead of seeing an improvement in his blood sugar levels, his health actually declined rather rapidly: he gained eight pounds and said he was "feeling awful." He promptly ditched that drug too and is now on yet another medication. According to diabetes experts interviewed by The Inquirer, patients should "tread carefully" and avoid rushing to switch to drugs such as Januvia, which do not have the proven track records of the old standbys insulin and metformin.

Bottom line: this whole dust-up over Avandia is a nightmare for its producer, GlaxoSmithKline. However, its competitors Merck and Takeda Pharmaceutical could stand to make a bundle as diabetics switch in droves from Avandia to Januvia or Takeda's Actos. According to Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan, sales of Januvia alone could be up as much as $300 million annually as a result of Avandia's troubles, while Actos profits could rise even higher than that. You have to imagine Merck and Takeda must be nervously making hay while the sun shines, hoping they don't end up testifying to Congress some day in the future.

Can hypnosis help people with diabetes?

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Sleep disorders have been linked to exacerbating or even precipitating diabetes as well as depression. Poor sleep robs people of their health in general. But, for diabetics it can cause a worsening of their condition. A hypnotist can assist a person with diabetes by helping them to positively alter their behavior.

A study explained how people who do not get enough sleep on a regular basis tend to become less sensitive to insulin over time. The study found that healthy adults who averaged 5.2 hours of sleep a night secreted 50% more insulin than their more rested counterparts, who averaged 8 hours of sleep a night. As a result, "short sleepers" were 40% less sensitive to insulin.

Devin Hastings is a certified hypnotist who has been helping people change their lives for over 24 years. Devin has created a series of informative articles that will help diabetics transform their debilitating habits into healthier habits. See Devin's site for more details.

A natural sugar that is Whey Low on blood sugar

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Whey Low is made of natural sugars like sucrose, fructose and lactose - not artificial ingredients. So it's unlikely your grandmother or your little brother will taste the difference. Even better is the fact that it should have substantially less impact on your blood sugar, for it barely reaches 25 on the glycemic index, whereas table sugar is a whopping 100.

This unique blend of all natural sugars is the ideal sugar replacement to control after-meal blood sugars, a definite concern for type 1, as well as type 2 diabetics. Use of Whey Low reduces insulin requirement, which eases stress on the beta cells (in type 2) and exogenous insulin requirements (in type 1). Whey Low also helps strengthen the immune system. The unabsorbed sugars of Whey Low, combined with starch, stimulate growth of healthful gut bacteria known as the prebiotic effect. This healthful gut bacteria has been shown in recent literature to stimulate the immune system.

Whey Low was developed by Lee R. Zehner. When his wife was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999 he wanted to come up with something that would allow her to continue her love for baking, without sacrificing control of her blood sugars. Whether you're whipping up frosting, baking cookies or searching for a new diabetes friendly coffee sweetener - Whey Low gives you an opportunity to indulge in your delights with significantly less impact on your sugars. Thanks to That's Fit for leading me on to this remarkable culinary crutch!

Form and Function: Cell nucleus

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I am a Licensed Practical Nurse with five years' experience in this profession. I believe it is essential to go back to the basics in all things in order to really understand them. I am fascinated by how our bodies work and I hope I can get my readers to share my fascination. I hope we all learn new things and marvel again at the things we already know. This feature -- which includes a closing section on how disease affects the topic in question -- will run on The Cancer Blog on Wednesdays, and The Cardio Blog and The Diabetes Blog on Thursdays. [The contents in this post are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or substitute for professional medical care.]

We start with the cell, because so much of what happens to us when we get sick, and how we get healthy again, can be explained by what happens on a cellular level. The cell is extremely complex and I will only touch on the basics in these posts, but at least we can have a rudimentary understanding.

We have discussed cell membranes (May 24), as well as cell organelles (May 31). On , June 7,we discussed the cellular transport mechanisms. Today we will look briefly at the cell nucleus. As with the other parts of the cell, this can be a short discussion or a series of articles in and of themselves. I have decided to stay very basic and not discuss each component separately.

With the exception of mature red blood cells, human cells have a nucleus and some, like skeletal muscle cells, have more than one. The nucleus is composed of three main parts, the nuclear envelope, the nucleolus and the chromatin.

The nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane (nuclear envelope) that have lipid bilayers like the plasma membrane. The outer membrane of the nuclear envelope is continuous with the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER). It controls the movement of substances between the nucleus and the cytoplasm through nuclear pores -- channels that perforate the nuclear envelope. Small molecules can diffuse through the nuclear pores, but larger molecules, like ribonucleic acid (RNA), need to use active transport facilitated by carrier proteins. The other structural element of the nucleus is the cellular lamina, a mesh-work that adds support, much like the cytoskeleton supports the cell as a whole.

Within the nucleus is a dense body called the nucleolus that is not surrounded by a membrane. It contains ribosomes, RNA, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and proteins. One of its main roles is to form a type of RNA called ribosomal RNA. This is used to construct the subunits of organelles called ribosomes, which play a key role in protein synthesis.

The chromatin contains DNA and proteins formed into packets of code called chromosomes. Each human cell has 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from each parent. Functional units of the chromosomes are referred to as genes. DNA is the genetic code for the characteristics and activities of the cell. Only a small number of genes are actually active in a particular cell. These active genes are the codes for the proteins necessary for the specific cell type.

How does this affect you?
New research points to the possibility of receptors in the nucleus reacting to an ingredient of plastic and provoking insulin resistance. I will write about this interesting discovery in an upcoming blog.

Numbers game: predicting risk for Type 2 diabetes

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Do medical and science-type stats make your head spin? Do you pretend to be interested, but secretly believe that number crunching is really, really boring? Well, think again and check out this awesome front page photo for the Emory University School of Medicine's homepage. Havin' a good tiiiime down at the lab! Yeah!

Could these perky young leaders of tomorrow be celebrating the achievements of their professor, Peter W. F. Wilson, and his colleagues? Wilson is lead author of a study just out in the latest Archives of Internal Medicine. The experts say it's entirely possible to figure estimates of who is most likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and at what point in their lives this is most likely to happen. However, according to Dr. Wilson and Co., the stumbling block to date has been settling upon a consensus approach to the data. They have attempted, through their study, to resolve this problem.

So, let the number crunching begin. This study took a 3,140-strong sample of middle-age persons, identifying them as having an average age of fifty-four, the majority overweight and over twelve percent exhibiting pre-diabetic blood sugar irregularities. Critical personal data for each patient (height, weight etc.) was recorded, then clinical models were developed through the addition of metabolic syndrome traits - that is, conditions increasing the risk for cardio trouble etc. All of this data was combined with results of the patients' responses to tests (such as the fasting insulin test). From this mass of data, these incredible people were able to pull the following fact: simple tests are all that are needed to predict Type 2 diabetes risk in middle-age. That is, basic personal variables such as whether or not you are obese or whether or not your parents had diabetes can effectively predict risk for T2. Significance in a nutshell: doctors don't need to rely on any kind of real complex number crunching for this sort of thing - all they need is a few facts on your personal history at a regular office visit.

Insulin pump survey: To pump or not to pump

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Out of the nearly three million people in the United States with type 1 diabetes, less than 300,000 are utilizing an insulin pump. That's roughly 10%.

Diabetes Health wants to know why more type 1 diabetics are not on the insulin pump. They are currently collecting data via an on-line survey. Please give them your feedback. Diabetes Health promises a forthcoming article summarizing attitudes and general feedback garnered on the subject.

My older brother was one of those 300,000 insulin pumpers. But he has returned to needles. Watch for future post where he will explain how the pump gave him the best blood sugar control of his life, but a frightening side effect prompted him to set aside the pump forever.

Tips from the AHA on how to avoid congenital heart defects

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Getting pregnant and having a baby is a wonderful and magical experience, but it can also be a little stressful as expecting parents worry about living healthy lifestyles and making sure the growing baby is going to be born healthy. But the American Heart Association has made things a little simpler by releasing these 4 tips to help avoid congenital heart defects:
  • Talk with your doctor preconception. Prospective mothers can be checked for any number of health conditions, like diabetes and influenza, and helped to get it under control before getting pregnant.
  • Women should take a daily multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, as this is important for the normal growth of the fetus and has been shown to help prevent heart defects.
  • Review the proper use of both prescription and over-the-counter medications with your doctor.
  • Avoid people with the flu or any illness with a fever. Women with a fever-associated illness during the first trimester have twice the risk of giving birth to a baby with heart problems.
By taking steps before you conceive and early in the pregnancy, you can greatly increase your chances of avoiding congenital heart defects and giving birth to a beautiful, happy, healthy baby!

Over-weight yet under-nourished: is that even possible?

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Can you be overweight and still be under-nourished? According to this, the answer is yes. People who are an unhealthy weight are consuming enough calories to keep them overweight, yet they might be severely malnourished, because they're not getting enough important nutrients that come from fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein sources.

When I think of 'malnourished', I think of the sad faces from the 'Sponsor a Child' infomercials. You know, the ones who get one small meal a day of grains, the ones who walk miles for a drink of dirty water that we wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole, the ones who are starving. That people can be obese and still malnourished in a first-world country, where we are literally overflowing with food and clean water and opportunity, makes me a bit mad. There's no excuse for not eating our veggies. We are lucky to be able to pick and choose our food, and we're making the wrong choices.

What do you think?

Form and Function: Cell nucleus

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I am a Licensed Practical Nurse with five years' experience in this profession. I believe it is essential to go back to the basics in all things in order to really understand them. I am fascinated by how our bodies work and I hope I can get my readers to share my fascination. I hope we all learn new things and marvel again at the things we already know. This feature -- which includes a closing section on how disease affects the topic in question -- will run on The Cancer Blog on Wednesdays, and The Cardio Blog and The Diabetes Blog on Thursdays. [The contents in this post are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or substitute for professional medical care.]

We start with the cell, because so much of what happens to us when we get sick, and how we get healthy again, can be explained by what happens on a cellular level. The cell is extremely complex and I will only touch on the basics in these posts, but at least we can have a rudimentary understanding.

We have discussed cell membranes (May 24), as well as cell organelles (May 31). On June 7, we discussed the cellular transport mechanisms. Today we will look briefly at the cell nucleus. As with the other parts of the cell, this can be a short discussion or a series of articles in and of themselves. I have decided to stay very basic and not discuss each component separately.

With the exception of mature red blood cells, human cells have a nucleus and some, like skeletal muscle cells, have more than one. The nucleus is composed of three main parts, the nuclear envelope, the nucleolus and the chromatin.

The nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane (nuclear envelope) that have lipid bilayers like the plasma membrane. The outer membrane of the nuclear envelope is continuous with the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER). It controls the movement of substances between the nucleus and the cytoplasm through nuclear pores -- channels that perforate the nuclear envelope. Small molecules can diffuse through the nuclear pores, but larger molecules, like ribonucleic acid (RNA), need to use active transport facilitated by carrier proteins. The other structural element of the nucleus is the cellular lamina, a mesh-work that adds support, much like the cytoskeleton supports the cell as a whole.

Within the nucleus is a dense body called the nucleolus that is not surrounded by a membrane. It contains ribosomes, RNA, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and proteins. One of its main roles is to form a type of RNA called ribosomal RNA. This is used to construct the subunits of organelles called ribosomes, which play a key role in protein synthesis.

The chromatin contains DNA and proteins formed into packets of code called chromosomes. Each human cell has 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from each parent. Functional units of the chromosomes are referred to as genes. DNA is the genetic code for the characteristics and activities of the cell. Only a small number of genes are actually active in a particular cell. These active genes are the codes for the proteins necessary for the specific cell type.

How does this affect you?

Research done at Oregon Health and Science University is looking at cell signaling by using colored dyes in the cell nucleus. This study is hoping to provide clues into how heart disease develops.

Form and Function: Cell nucleus

Filed under: ,

I am a Licensed Practical Nurse with five years' experience in this profession. I believe it is essential to go back to the basics in all things in order to really understand them. I am fascinated by how our bodies work and I hope I can get my readers to share my fascination. I hope we all learn new things and marvel again at the things we already know. This feature -- which includes a closing section on how disease affects the topic in question -- will run on The Cancer Blog on Wednesdays, and The Cardio Blog and The Diabetes Blog on Thursdays. [The contents in this post are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or substitute for professional medical care.]

We start with the cell, because so much of what happens to us when we get sick, and how we get healthy again, can be explained by what happens on a cellular level. The cell is extremely complex and I will only touch on the basics in these posts, but at least we can have a rudimentary understanding.

We have discussed cell membranes (May 23), as well as cell organelles (May 30). On June 6, we discussed the cellular transport mechanisms. Today we will look briefly at the cell nucleus. As with the other parts of the cell, this can be a short discussion or a series of articles in and of themselves. I have decided to stay very basic and not discuss each component separately.

With the exception of mature red blood cells, human cells have a nucleus and some, like skeletal muscle cells, have more than one. The nucleus is composed of three main parts, the nuclear envelope, the nucleolus and the chromatin.

The nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane (nuclear envelope) that have lipid bilayers like the plasma membrane. The outer membrane of the nuclear envelope is continuous with the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER). It controls the movement of substances between the nucleus and the cytoplasm through nuclear pores -- channels that perforate the nuclear envelope. Small molecules can diffuse through the nuclear pores, but larger molecules, like ribonucleic acid (RNA), need to use active transport facilitated by carrier proteins. The other structural element of the nucleus is the cellular lamina, a mesh-work that adds support, much like the cytoskeleton supports the cell as a whole.


Within the nucleus is a dense body called the nucleolus that is not surrounded by a membrane. It contains ribosomes, RNA, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and proteins. One of its main roles is to form a type of RNA called ribosomal RNA. This is used to construct the subunits of organelles called ribosomes, which play a key role in protein synthesis.

The chromatin contains DNA and proteins formed into packets of code called chromosomes. Each human cell has 46 chromosomes, 23 inherited from each parent. Functional units of the chromosomes are referred to as genes. DNA is the genetic code for the characteristics and activities of the cell. Only a small number of genes are actually active in a particular cell. These active genes are the codes for the proteins necessary for the specific cell type.

How does this affect you?

Researchers are isolating proteins within a cell's nucleus to tell them whether proliferation of the cell is malignant or not. This type of research can then point the way for more effective treatments. Read more about this research on the Purdue University site.

Thought for the Day: Working after cancer

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Life doesn't always end when you have cancer, but it definietly changes. Many people are successfully treated but how do you live normally again after such a life-altering experience?

That's what Ohio State University Medical Centre wants to know, particularly in regards to work. Statistically, employment rates are lower in cancer patients than in non-cancer patients. So, are most cancer patients able to return to their old jobs? How are they treated by the former (or new) employers? Are they given time off to adequately recuperate? If they're in a physically demanding job, can they switch to something less damanding on their body? The jury's still out on the matter but I'm interested in seeing the results once the study is done.

We live in such a work-oriented society today, where long hours are synonymous with success and taking a day off is a rarity. Nonetheless, I think hope that employers out there will be willing to be patient and supportive while allowing employees to get back on their feet.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences with this issue.

Cancer survivors: Share your story in a new book

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Attention cancer survivors: Do you want to inspire others with your story? Reader Anna Rubin (thanks for the tip, Anna!) e-mailed us with the following information. The American Cancer Society is putting together a new book called What Helped Get Me Through, which, in their words, "is a collection of first person accounts in which cancer survivors talk candidly about what helped them through the ordeal of diagnosis, treatment and recovery, offering practical advice and wisdom, from people who have walked down the long road of cancer and back to health."

If this appeals to you, please visit this link and fill out their questionnaire.

The book is set to be released in 2008, and I know I'll be picking one up. What about you?

Meg Ryan movie brings breast cancer to big screen

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Apparently the movie In the Land of Women is playing somewhere in the United States -- it was released on April 20 -- but I can't seem to find it in my area. I want to find it, though, because it stars actress Meg Ryan as Sarah Hardwicke, a woman rediscovering herself as she recovers from breast cancer.

Breast cancer is not the main theme in this movie. It's mostly about a successful writer, played by The O.C.'s Adam Brody, who loses a girl, moves to a new town to care for his grandmother, and finds a new girl. Her mom is Sarah Hardwicke.

I learned about this movie just today while reading an interview with Meg Ryan in the May 2007 issue of Redbook.

"I like that Sarah comes out of a difficult situation a much bigger person," says Ryan of the character she plays. "I think that most adults, if they're honest with themselves, have these turning points -- a sort of rebirth, and they come back out either better or they don't come back out."

I agree. And that's why I want to see the movie.

To see a trailer of In the Land of Women, click here.

Little cancer survivors peddle lemonade for a cure

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The two little girls who recently fashioned their own cardboard lemonade stand and sold their homemade refreshments for 50 cents a cup are not your typical lemonade entrepreneurs. What makes them stand out from the usual crowd of lemonade peddlers? These girls -- Emily is four and Lily is six -- are both cancer patients, undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and raising money for cancer research.

The two met last year at the Omaha Children's Hospital cancer clinic. Their mothers became fast friends, worked together on a neighborhood garage sale, and invited the little girls to set up a lemonade stand. The idea came from the story of another little girl, diagnosed with cancer just before her first birthday, who at age four opened her own stand with the goal of raising $1 million for her hospital. Only days before she died did she realize she would reach her goal.

How did Emily and Lily do? The totals are not yet in -- but they did raise $70 right away on the first day of the sale. And they reportedly had a grand time running their business.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells that prevents white blood cells from fighting off infection. The disease is fairly treatable, however, and the moms say both girls' prognoses are good.