Fantasy Diabetes Device — From Educator Nora Saul

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Thursday’s Post: Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary.  Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be?  Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc etc etc.  The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

This editorial is by Nora Saul, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., Manager of Nutritional Services at Joslin

When I started ruminating upon today’s topic of a fantasy diabetes device- – I, being a dietitian– focused on the world of food.

I thought about all the trouble my patients have carb counting when they dine out or are faced with unfamiliar foods. Although many fast food and casual dining establishments post their nutrition information, most formal sit down restaurants don’t. And the separate arrangement of meat, starch and vegetable of American style meals is not generally replicated in ethnic restaurants where these components, as well as sugary/fatty sauces, are served in often delicious but sometimes unidentifiable combinations.

So my fantasy diabetes device would be a mini computer with camera – one that was small enough to keep in a coat pocket. The camera would allow the user to discretely take pictures of any meal in front of them. Attached to the camera would be a super-fast computer. The computer would match the pictures taken of the meal to pictures of food stored in its memory banks. And it would have massive memory. It would then measure the dimensions of the particular foods from the photos and again compare them against the dimensions of the stored foods.

Once this was accomplished the computer would search its databanks for the nutrition information about this food and then apply the quantified specifications –and voila -instant and accurate carb, fat and calorie information. In less than a minute those on oral agents would have all the information they need to plan their meal.

But that’s not all. For all those folks using insulin at meals, the mini computer would of course be programmed with the individuals insulin to carb ratios so doing math before meals, a sin if ever there was one, would forever be banished from the world.

And it goes without saying that this device, like the Staten Island Ferry (another’s great insight) would be free and extremely easy to navigate.

If this is too mundane—after all, the components to put this type of gizmo together are already in existence—I want a crystal ball. A real one, which actually has the power to both see into the hearts, minds and bodies of my patients today and to tell the future.

And although I know that crystal balls work only in stories that begin once upon a time, the dream of always knowing which therapeutic treatments and educational strategies will work with which patients is a fantasy worth dreaming about.

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