Joslin Tips for a Safe and Healthy Ramadan

For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, increased devotion and worship. This year, it begins on June 28, 2014. Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. During this month, observant Muslims are expected to fast between sunrise and sunset. That means no food and water can be taken during that time.

In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and sinful speech and behavior. The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, cleansing the soul by freeing it from harmful impurities.

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Building the College Diabetes Network One Chapter at a Time

Christina Roth founded the College Diabetes Network when she realized the value of a diabetes community when in college herself

Making the transition from high school to college is not an easy process, but if you have diabetes, this transition includes a whole other set of challenges.

“College is the perfect storm of everything [happening all at once],” said Christina Roth, CEO and founder of the College Diabetes Network. “For most people, it’s the first time they are managing their diabetes on their own. There is very little control, whether its control over their personal routine day-to-day or just their life in general.”

Some of the everyday challenges of managing diabetes in college include: an unpredictable class schedule, navigating dining hall food options and financial concerns.  While it can be difficult to manage all of these changes, it can be even harder if you have to do it alone.

These aforementioned challenges as well as the lack of resources and a support community on college campuses inspired Christina Roth to found the College Diabetes Network (CDN), a national non-profit organization that works with young adults on college campuses across the country to create peer networks and provide support and access to resources.

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Looking for the Link Between Diabetes and Cancer

From left to right: Xuanchun Wang, M.D. Ph.D., Postdoc; Christian Rask-Madsen; Nishant Dwivedi, B.S., Summer intern; Ditte Sørensen, M.S. Graduate Student

By some estimates, people with type 2 diabetes can have up to a 30 percent increased risk for colorectal cancer. Christian Rask-Madsen, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Investigator in the Section on Vascular Cell Biology, and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, is investigating why in a series of experiments recently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

One prevailing theory as to why this happens has to do with insulin resistance. Insulin, aside from serving as the gatekeeper for getting glucose into cells, also acts as a growth hormone. In people with insulin resistance, the body floods itself with insulin in attempts to get the glucose into cells, a situation known as hyperinsulinemia. According to this theory, the excess insulin promotes the growth of cancer cells. This idea is well supported by research, but experiments from Dr. Rask-Madsen’s lab seem to suggest there’s more at play, and the culprit is likely to turn out to be inflammation.

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A Brief History of the “Diabetes Diet”

Dr. Osama Hamdy is the author of The Diabetes Breakthrough and the Director of the Why WAIT program at Joslin.

This post is written by Osama Hamdy, M.D., Medical Director, Obesity Clinical Program, Director of Inpatient Diabetes Management at Joslin Diabetes Center, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hamdy is also the Director of the Why WAIT program where he works with people to improve their diabetes management through weight loss.

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) means using nutrition as a potent diabetes management tool.  MNT not only plays a major role in preventing and treating diabetes but also helps in preventing many diabetes complications.

The diet composition from carbohydrates, fat and protein has been debated for a long time. Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, modified dietary composition was the only available tool to treat diabetes.  At the turn of the 19th century, Fredrick Allen used a starvation technique to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in his Physiatric Institute in Morris town, NJ. He was able to keep patients with type 1 diabetes alive for several years without insulin.

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Driving to Stop Diabetes with Ryan Reed


Ryan Reed is a NASCAR driver with type 1 diabetes

Ryan Reed is not your average 20-year old – in addition to being a NASCAR driver, Ryan is one of two national racecar drivers with type 1 diabetes. While some people may doubt the feasibility of managing type 1 diabetes while racing, Ryan’s success may just prove these skeptics wrong.

“I think in a lot of ways diabetes has made me a better athlete and a better racecar driver,” explained Ryan. “[My diagnosis] certainly humbled me quite a bit, and there may be some challenges that I’ve had to work through, but each challenge has made me come out a little better each time.”

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Portion Vs. Serving: Should You Eat What’s On the Label?

While many may opt for the bowl on the right, the bowl on the left is closer to the serving size for cereal.

Quick—without looking at the nutrition label, how many servings are in a small bag of potato chips? The answer, on average, is 2.5!  You’d be forgiven for assuming that one small bag equals one serving because it’s packaged as a single unit. However, understanding the difference between serving sizes as listed on packaging and portion sizes appropriate for your body and dietary needs can be a major step towards better health.

“People look at the serving size and their initial interpretation is that is the appropriate portion,” said Gillian Arathuzik, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E., nutrition diabetes educator at the Joslin Clinic. Gillian also works with people to improve their diets in the Why WAIT program, and was a co-author of the Diabetes Breakthrough. “That’s the biggest misconception,” she continued. “If they picked up a box of cereal and it says ‘One cup,’ they automatically assume that they should have one cup of cereal, whether that’s right, wrong or otherwise.”

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Ask Joslin: Ketones

What are ketones?

Ketones or ketone bodies are produced from fatty acids by the liver as an energy source for the brain when glucose is not readily available. Examples of this would be during periods of fasting or prolonged exercise. Other organs in the body can burn fatty acids for fuel if glucose levels are depressed, but the brain is an exception to this rule. There are three types of ketones: acetoacetate, 3-betahydroxybutyrate and acetone.

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Should You Take B12 Supplements if You Take Metformin?

Metformin is the most widely prescribed medication to treat diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes) in the world. Its effectiveness equals or exceeds many of the other oral medications available and has an excellent safety profile for most individuals. However, for the last ten to fifteen years there has been a question as to whether metformin causes B12 deficiency in those who take the drug for long periods of time.

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Jeweler Honors Her Father and Joslin with Father’s Day Sale

Holly and her father, David Daniels.

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate dads and to thank them for all they do for us. For Holly Daniels Christensen, the day is a way to honor her father who passed away from complications of type 1 diabetes at the young age of 36.

David Daniels had diabetes for the entirety of Holly’s life. Before she was even born, he lost his eye sight as a result of his disease. Despite this obstacle, David never let it stop him from his work as a carpenter, small engine repairman and most importantly, a father. When Holly was a toddler, her mother would tie bells to her feet when she ran out to do errands so that her dad could keep track of her. “My Dad was pure talent with a touch of magic!” said Holly. “He had a clothesline that was attached to the back door of our house and he would follow it out into the back yard every day for months where he built my Mother a barn for our horse, chickens and goats.”

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Does a nutrient found in beets reduce diabetes risk?

Description: In this clinical research study we are evaluating whether supplementation of a naturally occurring component found in beets and other vegetables and grains reduces diabetes risk. The product we are studying is a modified amino acid that is important in several metabolic pathways and lower in patients with diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors.

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