Friday, November 6, 2009

Diabetic Neuropathies - What Are They?


Diabetic neuropathies are nerve disorders caused by diabetes. People with diabetes can develop nerve damage throughout their body. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms. Others may have symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness (loss of feeling) in the hands, arms, feet and legs.

Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart and sex organs.

The latest research indicates that about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. People with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, but risk rises with age and longer duration of diabetes.

The highest rate of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathies appear more common in people who have problems controlling their blood glucose, also called blood sugar, as well as those with high levels of blood fat, blood pressure and those who are overweight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Statistics - When is Diabetic News Believable?

Calling all folks who like to play bingo. Calling all folks who like to gamble now and then. Calling all people who believe everything they read in the news sources about new diabetes research as the gospel truth. If you do, you have just been scammed!

Jim, get serious. These folks want to believe. They have diabetes, don't like it and hang on every bit of positive news they can find. Okay, lets look at "odds" that play into research and believable results.

Take a quarter and flip it five times in a row. Its either going to be heads or tails each time. Everybody has done this at least once in their lives. You know, tonight you do the dishes. Heads I do them, tails you do them!

But, suppose you were going to Las Vegas for the weekend to enjoy a little "R&R." If you flipped that quarter five times and came up with five heads in a row, and you didn't know better, in Las Vegas you bet "heads" every-time in a would lose your shirt. The "Odds" in coin flipping is 50/50. The secret in odds, that you know, is the more trials(times you flipped the coin)the closer the results would be to 50/50.

In research, if you read an article where the experiment consisted of ten trials, the result has no validity. Its like getting five heads in coin flipping. Whatever that researcher says is nothing but an "opinion" and statistically has no validity.

In statistics, the number of trials is very important to support the results an investigator publishes. In order to state a 90% certainty for an experiment a very large number of trials must be run. Rarely does an investigator, seeking approval from the reading public, run a significant number of trials to validate what he is saying.

News leaked to the Press or TV, to gain exposure for a scientist, is not believable news unless backed up by statistics that are credible. Later, if other investigators back up the results of the research, you now have believable news.

Major publications, like The New England Journal of Medicine, have strict parameters before an article is accepted for publication. The source of the news is important too.

When is news believable news? Now you have a simplistic rule of thumb what research to put into a "circular file" and what research to become excited about.