The 2015 Type 1 Naughty and Nice List

Stuffing the stockings for 10 positive and negative diabetes events that happened in the past year.

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Santa Claus and the NSA aren’t the only ones making lists and checking them twice. Here at Insulin Nation, we’ve compiled a list of who has made a positive impact for the diabetes community and who deserves a lump of coal.

See if you agree:

Naughty
CrossFit CEO Glenn Glassman – Mr. Glassman decided to equate diabetes with death in a tweet connecting Coca-Cola to diabetes. On June 29, he (or someone connected to him) tweeted a picture of a fake Coke ad saying “Open Diabetes” and a cheerful message to make sure you “pour some out for your dead homies.” Aside from the many disrespectful and hurtful thoughts he packed into one tweet, we can’t overlook his use of the word “homies”. 1993 is calling, Glenn, and they want their word back.

Nice
Sean Parker – The founder of Napster and former president of Facebook chipped in a cool $10 million to the University of California at San Francisco to seek a cure for Type 1 diabetes in the next five years. A nice gesture, even if we won’t hold our breath. Now, if others connected with Facebook take the hint….I mean, surely Mark Zuckerberg has $10 million between the couch cushions, right?

Naughty
The Script-Writers of The Walking Dead – They waited until Season 6 to introduce a character with apparent Type 1 diabetes….long after the insulin would lose its chill. Better late than never, right? Oops….never use the word “late” on that set….the poor hapless girl with Type 1 lasted just about ¾ of an episode as a plot device before being eaten by zombies encased in melted greenhouse glass. Because that’s what happens.

Nice
The We Aren’t Waiting Community – They’re like Anonymous, except they aren’t really anonymous and never hack into anything bad. Instead, these home programmers are trying to create artificial pancreases (pancreai?) through crowdsourced code. This year, one from their ranks has helped create a legit insulin pump business, Bigfoot Biomedical. We hope more entrepreneurs come out of this underground pipeline.

Naughty
Trolls Among the Type 1 Community – While not naming names, we know of several online Type 1 support groups which have been decimated by infighting and gossip. Please re-read the “support” part of “Type 1 support groups”, and remember that everyone is in the same boat on an unsteady sea of insulin.

Nice
Locemia Solutions – Businesses are created to make money, but it’s important to note that they can create life-changing improvements to health care, as well. Locemia invested a lot of time and money into creating a nasal glucagon formula that has done really well in human trials. It was enough for Eli Lilly and Co., the leader in injectable glucagon, to come in and buy them up. Dear Lilly, please don’t pull a “Who Killed the Electric Car” fast one with this easy-to-use glucagon, or you will end up on the naughty side of the ledger in 2016.

Naughty
Insulet – The makers of the OmniPod wearable pump had a tough year in quality control. They got warned by the FDA for pump manufacturing practices not meeting regulatory standards in periods of 2013 and 2014, and had two voluntary recalls of its products. This is not how one keeps up with Medtronic.

Nice
Dr. Douglas Melton – The Harvard researcher announced this year that his team has developed a way to grow functional beta cells from stem cells in just 40 days. This could really advance beta cell replacement therapy. Mind you, it took more than a decade to develop, so good job on keeping up with the long slog, Dr. Melton.

Naughty
Celebrities Who Are Connected to Questionable Diabetes Supplements – Sadly, this list is way too crowded. Elite quarterback Tom Brady has aligned himself with a trainer who once was a big player in a company whose salesforce pushed a cure-all supplement that was anything but. Meanwhile two politicians – former Governor Mike Huckabee and Dr. Ben Carson – have had their judgement questioned for lending their voices and names to some shady supplements that have been marketed to combat or cure diabetes. Might not win many Type 1 votes that way, guys.

Nice
Diabetes Parent AdvocatesDee Oxendine and Dan Houdeshell both channeled their grief at the loss of their children with diabetes to successfully advocate for legislation that has passed in their states. Debbie Haley and others helped lead the charge for a resolution calling for better Type 1 screening in Pennsylvania. And let us not forget every single parent who fought to get their child with Type 1 the care needed at school. If there was a designation beyond Nice on this list, you’ve earned it!

Do you have ideas of who should be added to this list, either naughty or nice? Send me an email at cidlebrook@epscomm.com.

Happy holidays!

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Craig Idlebrook is managing editor for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. He's written about health policy, environmental health, community health, and maternal health for over 25 publications. You can reach him at cidlebrook@epscomm.com.