10 July 2013

Finding Diabetes Info on the Internet – Part 2

Part 2 of 2 parts

How do you determine if an internet site has the right information and is not promoting a product or service? Often you will need to read into the site and do some exploring. Some sites that are selling a service may be just what you are looking for if they provide good information about what they are selling. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.  Too often there is nothing but hype and this should drive you away from the site.

Here I will use a site to demonstrate what to be careful about. This site, as a whole, is a very informative site, but unless you have MODY diabetes or suspect that your child has MODY, you will need to be cautious. This site has good information about MODY and this link is very informative. However, I do not recommend considering the services offered by this site unless you cannot find a diabetes clinic that will consider a comparison diagnosis for your child less than six months of age or will not send a sample into a lab specializing in MODY testing.

First, your insurance may not cover the appointment and the costs can be very substantial compared to a diabetes clinic run by endocrinologists. Many will use this lab or other labs that are proficient in doing the MODY test analysis. Costs will be lower and you will normally receive faster results, if done by a diabetes clinic. Yes, there can be diabetes clinics that are not reliable, but the majority are and should be sought out first. Most primary care physicians do not know about MODY and you will receive a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for a child less than six months of age. This may be a correct diagnosis, but generally not for this age range. Babies in this age range should always be MODY tested.

The last part of Edward Leigh's blog has many points that need to be considered and how you interpret them will depend on your knowledge of diabetes and how into research you may be or not be.

I will summarize a few of them in my words, but I encourage you to read them on your own. In general, when you visit a website, think about the following: (For #1 and #2 below, realize that many studies are behind what it termed a pay wall, and not available to the general public.)

#1. If you are reading a research article or study, is the researcher identified and if so, is he/she a professional or accredited authority on the subject? Unless the person is a member of an educational institution, a government affiliated agency, or a known research firm, then read with caution. Does the lead author identify him-/herself and make statements supported by the research or just their perspective? Is a correspondence author with an email address listed for the study?

#2. If an organization or institution is responsible for the information, is it reputable and recognized as an authority on the subject? Sometimes they do not provide evidence of the author's expertise, but you should be able tell by the organization or institution that they were properly vetted or supervised. Poor information can still be released because oversight committees fail to do their job.

#3. I am leaving the items in his blog to give a warning about much of the research and studies in the field of diabetes. The bulk of the research is discriminatory and excludes people over the age of 64 and under the age of 19. Yet it is the people over 64 and under 19 that consume most of the medications as over 50 percent alone are over the age of 64. Read my blog here and follow the links for confirmation of the percentages.

#4. There is much controversy about oral medications and the testing methods used because of this discrimination. Also, most of the rodent studies were done with young, healthy rodents and not older rodents. This is hiding some of the potential deadly side effects experienced by the elderly population when the drug is FDA approved. In addition, officers of the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists are promoting oral medications and criticizing anyone finding fault with them. And we as patients only need to look at the lists of corporate sponsors of the two associations to see the conflicts of interest.

#5. Always be alert to see if the name, address, and phone numbers are listed. Occasionally an email address may be listed. Without these, the site may not be reliable.

There are other concerns and I will list a few – is the information slanted and saying it is the only reliable source – this is because a legitimate company or organization will never say this. Depending on the type of site, is the information reviewed and/or updated regularly? WebMD.com is an example, as is About.com.

Most reliable websites do offer a statement saying to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if something may apply and the site is not for health advice. Others say that this is based on personal experience and you should discuss similar situations with you doctor. I use the following - "Please discuss medical problems with your doctor."

There are other items listed in the blog by Edward Leigh, MA and I urge you to read his blog. It is good information for reading and knowing what websites may have reliable disease information.

This is not a definitive guide, but I hope these two blogs help in some way, especially for those new to finding diabetes information on the internet.  I will end with this quote, “The USDA food pyramid isn’t about health. It’s about selling agricultural products.” ~ Mary Dan Eades, M.D., co-author “Protein Power” books.

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