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From Minnesota, USA:

I found your website while doing some research for a project for school. My wife is a Type 1 diabetic, age 28, diagnosed 6 1/2 years ago. My particular area of interest is The Cure (we're kinda tired of diabetes). I have some questions which I hope someone there can answer for me:

  • In stumbling around the internet, I have encountered some folks who feel that the search for The Cure has been slowed because there are some who don't want diabetes to be cured, it being so profitable and all. The DCCT study is cited as being a misappropriation of considerable resources, for example. This whole notion had not occurred to me before. Is it true? To what kind of extent? What evidence is there to support this belief.

  • I seem to recall that my wife said something a couple years ago about too much protein being harmful for diabetics. I can't for the life of me remember why, and she can't either. Is protein something that needs to be avoided? If so, why?

  • I have seen in a couple of places that there are an estimated 8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the US, and another 8 million undiagnosed. This seems like an awful lot of undiagnosed people. Where did this figure come from? How can so many folks not know that they have diabetes?

Concerned Reader (


To take your questions in reverse order:

  • I'm not surprised at the quote of "8 million" undiagnosed people with diabetes. It's clearly an extrapolation and a guesstimate of the number of people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Surely, there are some undiagnosed Type 1 individuals, also, but, by and large, I expect that most people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed within a short time after their symptoms begin.

  • Protein is essential for providing the "building blocks" called amino acids, and for many other vital functions, but there's a limit to how well the kidneys can cope with the breakdown products of excessive protein intake. Overall, it seems best that an adult with diabetes would do better to avoid excess protein intake, and if they have kidney disease, they'll be advised to restrict their protein intake even further. However, growing kids need lots of protein for growth and development, and protein surely needs to be a part (even if a small part) of everyone's diet.

  • I personally abhor governmental waste. But I feel the DCCT study was a major accomplishment of government-funded research, that proved once and for all (to general practitioners and internal medicine docs who take care of many many people with diabetes) that "tight control" of blood sugar does make a difference, and a big difference in outcomes for people with diabetes. There will someday be prevention of Type 1 diabetes, due in part to government-funded studies, and the goal of "The Cure" is never going to be reached, unless we make advances in understanding the disorder through well-thought-out research studies.


Original posting 13 Nov 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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