Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hypoglycemia unawareness study

I just got back from U. of Minnesota where I was able to participate in a hypoglycemia unawareness study.  The study uses subjects who are participating in an islet cell  transplant study as their subjects.  It is designed to see where the glucose is concentrated in the brain during hyperglycemia.  The test is run both pre- and post-transplant.  I did the pre test last winter and just finished the post-transplant portion this week.  The procedure is as follows:

I was given an infusion of glucose to raise my glucose to about 200 and then placed into an MRI chamber where the glucose could be measured inside my brain.  I had an IV in a foot vein so that my blood could be drawn every 5 minutes to verify the glucose level.  I also had another IV to infuse insulin if it my glucose level became too high.  I was in the MRI chamber for about an hour.

Afterwards, as a second part of the study, I was given enough insulin to get my glucose level down to about 50 to see how my body reacted to this.  Again, my blood was drawn every 5 minutes and it was recorded how much insulin and glucose I was given to maintain this glucose level.

The results will be compared together (Pre and Post-transplant) and with nondiabetic patients.  The idea is to see if a higher concentration of glucose in certain areas of the brain are related to having hypoglycemia unawareness and if so, how could this be treated.  Hypoglycemia unawareness is so potentially dangerous.  It is an important problem to be addressed.  

It was an interesting and rewarding visit.  I also got to meet another potential transplant patient who is just as excited about the whole islet cell experience as I am.  We had a lot in common.

I am including an image of my brain from the pre-transplant visit.  The MRI expert was nice enough to e-mail it  to me.  It doesn't mean a lot to me scientifically, but does prove of its existence to many who would have their doubts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 200

Things are continuing to go well.  I have been getting quite a few questions lately from people who find their way here.  It is encouraging me to keep current with my blog.  It seems to be getting so long that I have been cutting back on my number of posts, just so that it doesn't seem so overwhelming.

The questions are  about 90% asking about the immunosuppressants. That was always my biggest concern too.  It doesn't make sense to trade one problem for  another.  So far, I  have had no serious problems with any of the drugs.  I may just be lucky or I may have landed in a protocol with more mild drugs.

One interesting observation that I have made lately is that I do still get some mild low blood sugars.  I just had one of 59 yesterday.  I would not have guessed that this  would happen.  I wouldn't think that the beta cells would over react like that.  Since it is only mildly uncomfortable and not at all dangerous, it doesn't really bother me.  It almost feels like "money in the bank" meaning that  I know that the cells are continuing to work well.  I still get some blood sugars that are higher than I would like (150-180), and it serves to remind me that I am not all the way normal.  I watch my number of carbs and continue to exercise to keep this from happening too often.