News

Medtronic Founder Earl Bakken Turned a Tiny Repair Shop Into a Giant of Medical Technology from WSJ

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I just learned about what a fascinating and inspiring man Earl Bakken was. He co-founded Medtronic in 1949 with the unassuming goal of repairing medical equipment. But in the mid-50s, a heart surgeon in Minneapolis asked Bakken to create a pacemaker that didn’t need to be plugged in, and a few weeks later, he had invented a wearable pacemaker powered by a battery. Mr. Bakken was an inventor from an early age, and his worked sustained him late into his life. Bakken died on October 21 at the age of 94, and back in 2010 he was using his second pacemaker and third or fourth insulin pump!

Please take a moment to read the lovely Wall Street Journal article that commemorates Bakken’s life. I found this part especially interesting:

He worried that children no longer take gadgets apart. Even engineers “never get the sense of the actual object they’re designing on a screen,” he wrote. “They make faulty assumptions because they have never taken the real thing apart and put it back together again. They’ve never jiggled it in their hand, never gotten a feel for its density and heft, never lifted it to their nose and smelled it. What a pity for them—and maybe for the rest of us as well.”

We are thankful today to Medtronic Diabetes for providing insulin pump and CGM technology to many of our patients. Just like their founder, they are in the business of changing lives.

Let's Celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month!

Diabetes Awareness Month 2018 starts today, and World Diabetes Day is celebrated globally on November 14 to raise awareness about both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes! Here are some ideas about how to get involved from some of our favorite advocacy organizations!

Together, let’s celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month and the many strong individuals and families who live resiliently with diabetes every day!

In the Halloween Spirit: Family Pumpkin Sale Raises Funds for Michigan Boy to Obtain Diabetes Service Dog

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Happy Halloween! We love this story… A pumpkin sale recently helped Ian, a six-year-old who lives with Type 1 diabetes, and his family raise money for a service dog to help him manage his disease. In Sand Lake, Michigan, the Christensen family used their annual pumpkin sale as a fundraiser this year – and as a result, Ian will have a service dog trained specially to help him in less than a year. Ian’s diabetes service dog will be trained to detect the subtle smells in his breath and alert Ian before dangerous blood sugar lows kick in. We are so happy for Ian and his family!

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” ― M.K. Clinton

Dexcom G6 CGM Receives CMS Approval & Will Be Available to Medicare Beneficiaries in Early 2019

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More great news has been announced about CGM! The Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) will be covered for Medicare beneficiaries, starting in early 2019. CGMs are DME items that provide critical information on blood glucose levels to help patients with diabetes better manage their disease. Coverage for therapeutic CGM includes certain beneficiaries who have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and intensively manage their insulin.

The Dexcom G6 CGM shines because of the following advantages:

  1. Zero fingersticks

  2. Acetaminophen blocking to maintain accuracy while taking Tylenol

  3. Smartphone app that allows data to be shared with family members, providers, and other members of a patient's care team

  4. Super easy application device

  5. Very small and discreet sensor

  6. Integration with the tSlim:X2 insulin pump from Tandem Diabetes, which is also covered by Medicare

Healthy Living will be able to provide the G6 to Medicare members – stay tuned for updates on this exciting news! Read the press release directly from Dexcom.

New Research Broadens the View for Predicting Obesity-Related Disease Risk

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Researchers have developed a more precise and nuanced method for predicting risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease than traditional body mass index (BMI) measurements. Scientists at Scripps Research have found a way to use molecular “signatures” from people with obesity to predict these risks. The authors of the study wrote, “While BMI correlates well and to a large extent with individual health outcomes, it does not have the sensitivity to identify outliers, some of which carry unique health consequences.”

The research is led by Amalio Telenti, MD, PhD, and shows that predictors of future diabetes and cardiovascular complications for an individual can be found among the body’s metabolites. Metabolites are molecules that all of us produce as we live, breathe, and eat. Scientists study the “metabolome,” which is a person’s collection of hundreds of metabolites. The metabolome creates specific signatures or combinations of variants that can indicate risk. "By looking at metabolome changes, we could identify individuals with a several-fold increase in their risk of developing of diabetes and cardiovascular disease over the ensuing years," says Telenti. Metabolome changes were not always associated with obesity – some people studied were lean but still at risk of disease.

This research looks like it will become a powerful tool for predicting and preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the future. The study suggests that new technologies can broaden the way that scientists think about disease. You can learn a lot more about research related to molecular signatures by reading these two articles:

Research Underway to Create a Cannula with Lower Risk of Infection & Inflammation

A professor at the University of Central Florida, Elizabeth Brisbois, is working to develop a cannula that can be left in place for as long as 30 days while effectively delivering insulin into the body. Cannulas are small tubes that are inserted beneath the skin to deliver insulin into the body as part of an insulin pump system. The cannula can either be part of the infusion set or attached to the actual insulin pump. Normally, over time, the body’s immune system attacks the cannula, with cells creating a film around the cannula that begins to inhibit proper insulin delivery. That is why infusion sets normally need to be changed every two to three days to reduce the risk of infection. 

Brisbois’ goal is to create cannulas that have a lower risk of infection and inflammation, with reduced pain and inconvenience for patients. She and her team are developing cannulas that release nitric oxide, a molecule that can kill bacteria. Nitric oxide is also produced in the body to fight off germs and has an important role in wound healing.

This advance could significantly increase quality of life for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Brisbois and her team are funded by a recent grant from the JDRF and are collaborating with researchers at the University of Georgia. Learn more about the cannula research here.

Medicare Now Covers CGM: Available through Healthy Living

 Medicare now offers reimbursement for the  Dexcom G5 Mobile System  for members who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and intensively manage their blood sugar levels with insulin.

Medicare now offers reimbursement for the Dexcom G5 Mobile System for members who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and intensively manage their blood sugar levels with insulin.

Medicare members now have access to a life-changing therapy for managing diabetes -- CGM. At Healthy Living, we are so excited that we can now offer Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to people living with diabetes on Medicare. CGM provides many benefits to users, including fewer daily fingerpricks and better insights into blood sugar trends. Dexcom CGM systems also work in tandem with insulin pumps and are an excellent addition to any diabetes treatment plan for closer monitoring, improved metrics, and more precise dosing.

Healthy Living can provide CGM systems, associated diabetes supplies, insulin pumps, and pump supplies to Medicare members. It is worthwhile to find out more about these advanced technologies. By calling us and talking with our Insulin Pump & CGM Therapy Team, you can learn more about how CGM and insulin pumps work and how they can benefit your diabetes management. We will also run a no-cost insurance verification check for you to learn more about your coverage.

Find out more about continuous glucose monitoring systems here. Get started by connecting with Healthy Living via phone at 866.779.8512 (Option 2) or text at 248.577.9903. Also chat with us on our website, myhlms.com.

In the News: Apple Patent Hints at Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring Tech for Apple Watch

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News has been circulating that Apple has been developing a non-invasive sensor to continuously measure blood glucose levels since last year. In fact, this tracker has been said to become the “holy grail” in diabetes.

In August, a patent was published that potentially offers clues into Apple’s rumored non-invasive monitoring solution. Apple submitted a patent application in 2015 for “Reference switch architectures for noncontact sensing of substances,” a method by which an electronic device can be calibrated to measure the concentration of a particular substance in a given sample. This is an optical system that enables determination of the concentration of a target substance by applying light with known properties to a sample. Although the patent documentation does not specifically explain what substances this proposed system might be used for, it resonates with rumors that Apple is working on a non-invasive glucose monitoring solution for use in their Apple Watch. Learn more about the science behind Apple’s patent application at appleinsider.

Healthy Living provides leading continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems that monitor blood glucose levels in real time for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Alliance Plan of Michigan (HAP), Priority Health and Priority Health Advantage, and Medicare members. CGM helps people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes make more informed treatment decisions that lead to better glycemic control. To learn more, call 866.779.8512 (option 2) to speak with a member of our Insulin Pump & CGM Therapy Team!

Michigan Medicaid & CGM Coverage -- Let Your Voice Be Heard

  Comment on the new Michigan Medicaid proposal via email, phone, fax, or letter.

Comment on the new Michigan Medicaid proposal via email, phone, fax, or letter.

Share your experience and thoughts, and let your voice be heard! Michigan Medicaid has proposed a new policy that will allow coverage of continuous glucose monitors (CGM) for eligible members. Now is the time to review the proposed changes in Medicaid policies and procedures. Your comments are due soon — September 26, 2018.

How to Submit Your Comments

Email Address: trumbelll@michigan.gov 

Mailing Address:

Lisa Trumbell, DMEPOS Policy Specialist 

Bureau of Medicaid Policy and Health System Innovation 

Medical Services Administration 

P.O. Box 30479 

Lansing, Michigan 48909-7979 

Telephone Number: 517-284-1226

Fax Number: 517-241-8969 

The proposed effective date is December 1, 2018. Our Healthy Living team has already submitted a letter to Michigan Medicaid to express our support of continuous glucose monitoring therapy as a highly effective way to help people with diabetes manage their disease.

In the News: Saliva Test Could Improve Diabetes Control & Treatment

Recent studies have shown that proteins in saliva can reflect high blood sugar and associated disease processes in children and adolescents with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. This means that a simple saliva sample could replace blood tests to assess and monitor diabetes and can provide this information long before the appearance of clinical symptoms. Read the article for in-depth information on the research.

Co-author of the study, Professor Heleni Vastardis of NKU Athens School of Dentistry, explains, “The signs of diabetic pathology are already in place way before manifestation of clinical complications." This testing mechanism could lead to better prediction and prevention of long-term complications of diabetes.  

 

Koala with Diabetes Benefits from the New Dexcom G6 CGM System

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I absolutely love this news that we found about Quincy. He is a male koala living at the San Diego Zoo, who has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Thanks to CGM technology, his life has dramatically changed for the better.

This article explains that, “Diabetes has rarely been documented in koalas, and animal care experts do not know what may have triggered this condition in Quincy.” As part of his treatment plan, the vets at the San Diego Zoo have teamed up with Dexcom to better manage Quincy’s blood sugar levels through the application of a continuous glucose monitoring system. Quincy is using the new Dexcom G6 CGM system.

Koalas normally sleep during the day and are mainly solitary animals. This system markedly increases Quincy’s quality of life because he can avoid pricks to his ears to check his blood sugar and can be disturbed less often overall. Instead, the sensor and transmitter placed on Quincy send his blood glucose levels in real time to a smart device monitored by his caretakers. Check out a video of Quincy and his vets in action

We hope that Quincy's story helps promote a greater awareness of CGM therapy! If you are living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and have commercial or Medicare insurance, you may qualify to begin CGM therapy. Reach out to our team at 866.779.8512 to learn more and start the enrollment process now.

Now Shipping: Medtronic Guardian Connect CGM System

 Medtronic's Guardian Connect is composed of three key components: the sensor, a bluetooth transmitter that lasts a year, and a mobile app

Medtronic's Guardian Connect is composed of three key components: the sensor, a bluetooth transmitter that lasts a year, and a mobile app

We're excited to share that Healthy Living Medical Supply is now shipping the Medtronic Guardian Connect CGM system! This is a great technology option for any patient who is taking insulin via injections and who isn't quite ready for an insulin pump. Read more about the Guardian Connect CGM system at the Medtronic website

What is CGM? CGM stands for Continuous Glucose Monitoring and is a small, half dollar sized device that goes on your body and measures blood sugar levels every five minutes or roughly 288 times per day. 

What are the benefits of CGM? We've written about this here on our blog before, but in short CGM reduces the number of daily finger sticks while giving patients much greater insight into what is happening with their body's sugar levels. Medtronic Guardian Connect's stand alone CGM system takes readings every five minutes or 288 times throughout the day and night - this is significantly more information than is yielded through finger sticks alone.

What are the top benefits of Medtronic's Guardian Connect CGM System?

1. The data is automatically uploaded directly to the physician's office via Medtronic's CareLink platform. 

2. Predictive alerts for highs and lows are sent out 60 minutes in advance. Predictive alerts are sent out 40 minutes faster than the competition.

3. IBM Watson integration creates actionable trends from user CGM data.

4. Last but not least, Medtronic's Guardian Connect CGM system is significantly less expensive for the patient and health plan in comparison to the competition. Why? Because the transmitter lasts for one year, no receiver is needed, and a month's supply comes with five sensors for a total of 35 days of wear time. This means lower copays for patients, longer sensor wear time and a lower spend for the health plan. 

Most major commercial insurances, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Health Alliance Plan of Michigan (HAP), will pay for CGM. Contact Healthy Living Medical Supply today at 866-779-8512 to learn more and to begin the easy enrollment process.

Michigan Residents: Keep your business local! Healthy Living Medical Supply is the only locally owned and operated diabetes speciality provider in the state of Michigan...and we provide world class customer service!

Swing to Cure Diabetes Celebrates 10 Years

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Recently, the Swing to Cure Diabetes golf outing celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Michigan Golf Course. As we have for several years, Healthy Living participated in this awesome event that benefits the JDRF and the Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center. Swing to Cure Diabetes was created by Rich and Chris Hewlett to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. They started the event after their son, Jeff, was diagnosed. These were Jeff’s thoughts on the event:

“I’m sure my parents started this event thinking, ‘Oh, this will help our son,’” said Jeff Hewlett, who was diagnosed when he was four. “For that I’m certainly grateful, but there are many people who are just like me and many other diabetics who are also grateful. It’s really impacting a lot of people, and you can see it in the research and the advances that have been made for Type 1 diabetes. Hopefully over the years as this thing keeps growing and as we continue with it, it will be something that can hopefully lead to a cure. That’s ultimately what we’re looking for.”

To find out more about upcoming JDRF events in our area, visit the JDRF Metro Detroit/South East Michigan webpage.

New in Diabetes Technology: The OmniPod Dash

 Insulet's Omnipod Dash Tubeless Insulin Management System Receceives FDA Clearance

Insulet's Omnipod Dash Tubeless Insulin Management System Receceives FDA Clearance

It seems like nearly every day there is more great news in terms of the development of new technologies to empower people living with diabetes...the latest is from Insulet and their Omnipod Dash system, which recently received approval from the FDA.

To learn more about Omnipod Dash, visit the product FAQ page over at Insulet's website. A few key highlights that we're excited about include:

1. The same great features Omnipod users have been used to...the new Dash system is tubeless, discreet and waterproof which makes it great for pediatric patients and anyone with an active lifestyle

2. Bluetooth capabilities for sharing data to an iOS device and up to 12 people on their care team

3. Compatibility with one of the leading test strip brands on the market, Contour Next. 

The system will be slowly released to patients in 2018 prior to the widespread launch in 2019. Most major commercial insurances, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, pay for Omnipod as a durable medical equipment benefit (DME).

Healthy Living Medical Supply is a leading DME specializing in diabetes services and technologies and will be ready to provide this technology to patients when it becomes available soon!

Healthy Living Now Provides CGM to Medicare Patients

Healthy Living has long provided insulin pumps and insulin pump supplies to Medicare members as a durable medical equipment (DME) benefit, and today we're pleased to announce that we're  accepting referrals for Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) therapy for Medicare members as well! Currently, the Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitoring system has been approved for Medicare members.

A continuous glucose monitor is a small, wearable device system that tracks your glucose throughout the day and night, notifying you of highs and lows so you can take action when needed. The Dexcom G5 CGM system is made up of three key components: a sensor that measures your glucose levels, a transmitter to wirelessly send your glucose data to your smart device or receiver, and a display device where you can see when your glucose is trending high, low, or just right. The display device can be either a compatible smart device with the Dexcom G5 Mobile app or the Dexcom G5 Mobile Receiver.

What are the benefits of CGM?

  • With CGM, you’ll reduce your daily fingersticks dramatically, continuing them only for calibration of the CGM.
  • The CGM system monitors blood glucose levels in the interstitial tissue every five minutes, offering much more information than four to eight finger sticks per day.
  • CGM is very useful when you are struggling with nighttime lows, providing alarms and alerts.
  • Dexcom sensors and transmitters are water-resistant. They are relatively small and discreet to wear.
  • With Dexcom G5 Mobile, dynamic glucose data can be accessed and shared safely and conveniently to your smart phone device.

Call us today at 866.779.8512 (Option 2) or fill out our expedited enrollment form online to learn more about your Medicare insurance coverage, and start the process for receiving CGM supplies from Healthy Living. We’re here to help! 

Yale Researchers Work Toward New Treatment for Type 2

  Topological map of a toxic pore formed by hundreds of copies of the hormone IAPP.

Topological map of a toxic pore formed by hundreds of copies of the hormone IAPP.

Andrew Miranker and his team have focused their recent studies on a simple hormone in all of us – islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP). Certain forms of this hormone actually poke toxic holes in cells, and this Yale team is leveraging this information to create new therapies to treat type 2 diabetes.

The progression of type 2 diabetes is tied to the health of insulin-producing cells in the islets, which are groups of cells in the pancreas. These cells are responsible for coordinating the release of insulin in response to changes in blood glucose. The failure of the islets over time plays an important role in the cause of type 2 diabetes as the body loses the ability to regulate blood glucose. Currently, there are no approved drugs available to treat the actual causes of type 2 diabetes.

Miranker’s lab is working with islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP), a protein partner to insulin. This hormone is made by the same cells as insulin. When IAPP takes on the wrong shape, it pokes holes in the membranes of islets…holes that are large enough to kill these insulin-secreting cells. The Yale team is working hard to design a compound to target the particular, destructive IAPP structure in order to prevent toxicity.

IAPP works alone in its healthy state, but the toxic version is made up of tens to hundreds of copies of the protein.  This creates a widely sprawling structure, and controlling it requires a different approach from those of traditional drugs. A great visual, Miranker’s team is designing a drug that acts like a fork for the spaghetti-like structure of IAPP to wrap around. The Miranker lab has developed a drug lead, ADM-116, that binds to IAPP by crossing the outer cell membrane, finding IAPP, and winding it up. By doing this, ADM-116 prevents IAPP from punching a hole in a sensitive internal cell membrane. This process essentially rescues cells that make insulin.

Using these discoveries, Miranker and his team, and the new Connecticut-based biotechnology company, ADM Therapeutics, will translate these discoveries into drugs that improve the long-term health of these cells. Although this research is currently focused on type 2 diabetes, these approaches will also apply to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Learn more from the YaleNews article, “Taming an unruly target in diabetes.” 

Medtronic’s Guardian Connect CGM Receives FDA Approval

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We have big news to share from Medtronic – their long-awaited standalone CGM has received FDA approval. Medtronic’s Guardian Connect is comprised of three parts: a thin sensor, a small plastic transmitter attached to the sensor, and the Guardian Connect app on a compatible iOS device. It transmits directly to the iPhone without using another receiver.

The Guardian Connect system is designed to help people, ages 14 to 75, who are using multiple daily injections (MDIs). Although it does not work directly with insulin pumps, Medtronic’s standalone CGM will be the only one on the market to give alerts for potential high or low glucose events up to 60 minutes in advance. The Guardian Connect system is expected to become available by July 2018, and as early as May 2018.

Benefits of the Guardian Connect system include:

  • Customized 1 hour predictive alerts – from 10 minutes up to 1 hour ahead gives you time to respond
  • Free 24-hour SMS alerts (and for up to 5 care people)
  • Easy-to-share blood glucose readings 
  • Reduced risks of hypoglycemia and more time “in-range”
  • Sleek design – marketed for an active lifestyle, half the weight of other real-time CGM systems on the market
  • Waterproof – can be submerged for up to 2.4 meters (7.5 feet) for 10-minute periods
  • Access to the Sugar.IQ system – smart diabetes assistant that looks at what affects BGLs
  • Rechargeable, re-useable, long-life technology

This news is exciting, because it means expanded options for people with diabetes when it comes to CGM.

We're here to help!

2018 ADA Standards of Care Bring New Recommendations for Cardiovascular Disease & Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association has released new 2018 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. These comprehensive recommendations include the latest advances in evidence-based care, with a new focus on advanced management for people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The Standards of Care outline the ADA’s latest recommendations “for the diagnosis and treatment of children and adults with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, strategies to improve the prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes, and therapeutic approaches that reduce complications and positively affect health outcomes.”

Important changes and updates in the 2018 edition include these topics and more:

  • Cardiovascular disease and diabetes
  • Screening youth for type 2 diabetes
  • Health technology and diabetes management
  • A1C test considerations
  • Diabetes management in specific groups

Read the ADA’s press release for more details!

We love to help!

What We're Reading: Fitbit Going All In on Diabetes, Roping in Insurers

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Have you checked out Diabetes Mine? This blog helps me keep current on happenings in the diabetes world, especially around new technology for people living with diabetes. This particular article is worth checking out: Fitbit Going All In on Diabetes, Roping in Insurers. It walks us through the many investments that Fitbit is making, as well as the partnerships the company is forming, to build a stronger foundation of support for the diabetes community.

According to the Diabetes Mine blog, Fitbit has been:

The article includes more details on each of these bullets, explaining that another interesting step that Fitbit has taken is their investment in Sano Intelligence, a company that is developing "minimally invasive" CGM technology. All of this is great news for people with diabetes, and those who support and serve them. We are excited to see how all of this will unfold!

We love to help!