Blood sugar and mood

“ScienceDaily (2012-01-10) — Patients simultaneously treated for both Type 2 diabetes and depression improve medication compliance and significantly improve blood sugar and depression levels compared to patients receiving usual care, according to a new study.”

In plain English, this means that people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes need to be treated both for diabetes and depression; when that happens, twice as many get stable.

This falls under the Department of the Blitheringly Obvious, because — as anyone who has hypoglycemia, or has dealt with diabetics knows — depression is the first sign of low blood sugar; low or unstable blood sugar leads to poor decision-making, notably poor food choices; poor food choices lead to unstable blood sugar, and round and round we go.

To break the cycle, both must be addressed. Otherwise, the cycle continues feeding on itself… er, unfeeding on itself. Or something.

As anyone with common sense who has dealt with the mentally ill knows, the first intervention is a proper meal. It’s simply amazing how things improve with a little real food inside.

Unstable blood sugar worsens pain, impairs memory, and limits cognitive function. Low blood sugar specifically creates an unhappy state.

A hungry brain is not a happy brain!

Treating type II diabetes without treating depression, or treating depression without treating underlying type II diabetes, is not a recipe for success. The fact that as many as one third of these diabetic patients even get better, is pretty remarkable. Treat both, and over 60% of these people go back to cheerful, stable, productive lives — not needing sickleave, additional benefits, or other direct and indirect expenses.

Sounds like a good cost/benefit profile to me!


Valuable gadgetry means good data

OK, this stuff is cool enough to make me want to keep my iPhone:

iPhone glucometer:

iPhone blood pressure monitors & trackers:

I’d like to design a mobile app for tracking and managing pain. Flareups and neurotoxic food sensitivities wouldn’t stand a chance. Touchscreens rock for radio buttons and simple data entry; just have to make it easy to pick what you need and dump it into a dashboard with different ways of viewing the data — historically, by symptom, by factor; graph, chart, etc.

Collecting and tracking your own data is key to surviving and thriving with a long-term condition. ┬áIt is possible to make good use of gadgetry, though it’s not something I usually focus on.

Any of you developers want to write the backend?


Gender & personality — the US isn’t everybody!

This ScienceDaily article reports on a study which states that the personality differences between men and women are simply enormous and have been substantially underreported for years:

However, if you read the actual methodology used in the study, you’ll see that the entire population studied was from only one country, the US:

“Personality measures were obtained from a large US sample (N = 10,261)”

This is culturally arrogant at best, but it’s now intellectually indefensible. It has recently been demonstrated that one of the most profound gender differences in the brain (math ability) is purely a cultural artifact, when you look at international populations:

Therefore, what the original study says — that there are enormous personality differences between the genders — is deceptive. All it means is that, in the U.S., huge gender-based personality differences are tolerated, or even encouraged and trained.

As an international traveler all my life, I could have told you that for free!

In the math study, one researcher said, “People have looked at international data sets for many years. What has changed is that many more non-Western countries are now participating in these studies, enabling much better cross-cultural analysis.”

In short, there is no excuse for such sloppy social science as the “gender-based personality differences” researchers have perpetrated.

Believe it or not, the U.S. is not a good template for studying the entire human population. It’s only a good template for studying the U.S.

Since these scientists are working from Italy and Britain — both countries with famously self-satisfied national identities — you’d think that would be more apparent to them.

It’s disturbing to see such cultural subjugation in science. One expects a degree of cultural infatuation in other realms (like cinema and music, which depend on cultural blending for their development), but not in science. Science requires a bit more intellectual integrity, if not clearer thinking.