This past weekend I had the great opportunity to attend the JDRF Type 1 Research Summit in Maryland hosted by the JDRF Capitol chapter. I have attended diabetes events before but never one that was focused on research for advancements in management and a cure for type 1 diabetes. I’m really glad I went.
Joe and I made a weekend trip out of it and did a little sight-seeing in DC. That was nice.
Of course the first thing I spotted when getting out of the metro station was Crumbs bakery! We didn’t indulge but just seeing the sign put a smile of my face :)
We also got a glimpse of the Occupy DC movement that still resides near the capitol.
The summit itself was a day full of education to say the least. We heard from presenters like Dr. Juan Dominguez-Bendala from the Diabetes Research Institute, Adam Brown from Close Concerns and diaTribe, Dr. Mark Atkinson and Dr. Desmond Schatz from the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the University of Florida, Dr. Stuart Weinzimer from Yale School of Medicine Pediatric Endocrinology, Cynthia Rice from JDRF Government Relations, Marie Schiller from Health Advances and T1D First and Gary Scheiner from Integrated Diabetes Services. The moderator was Riva Greenberg, columnist at the Huffington Post. I thought each and every one of the presentations were very informative and well demonstrated.
A lot of the guests spoke about the current and future research that is being done for type 1 diabetes. Some in terms of the steps to get to the artificial pancreas and some in terms of getting to a cure. I won’t pretend that I understood all the scientific or medical terminology but it did reiterate how extremely difficult it is to find a cure that will work. I’ve been living with diabetes for 30 years already and for so many of those first years, my family and I heard that there would be a cure in the next 10 years or so. For this reason and not being a pessimist, I don’t think I will see a cure in my lifetime. However, hearing all that is being done in terms of research, even to improve the quality of diabetes management, does give me a little more hope to hang on to. Especially after hearing Gary’s presentation about how much things have changed in the last 25 years. Who remembers the autolet lancing device (shown below)?? That thing was horrible!
One highlight of attending the summit was not only did I get to spend time with some of my D friends, I got to meet some more in person! I got to meet Tony, Colleen, Bennet and Kim and that was a huge plus to the weekend.
Another highlight was getting to see the t-slim insulin pump by Tandem in person at the exhibit hall. I got to hold it and test it out (without being hooked up of course). My initial opinion is that it is very sleek and slim – hence the name! It holds 300 units of insulin which is a plus to a lot of people. The touch screen makes moving around the menu and entering functions very simple and easy. Tandem says the pump is waterproof for up to 3 feet for 30 minutes. To me that’s not really water”proof” but better than nothing if getting caught in a downpour or accidentally coming in contact with a lot of water. The only thing that makes me hesitant about the device is that it has to be charged like other electronic devices. Charging something that is attached to you poses some doubts for me personally.
Overall it was a great experience and I applaud the JDRF Capital chapter for organizing a great event at no charge to the attendees. I would highly recommend going to any future conference to anyone that has a loved one with type 1 diabetes in their life.