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Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and What to Do About It [Kindle Edition]

Dan Hurley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $12.99

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Book Description

Nearly 90 years after the discovery of insulin, with an estimated $116 billion spent annually on the medical treatment of diabetes in the United States, why is diabetes the one major cause of death that’s been relentlessly rising for a century? Diabetes Rising investigates why the nearly two dozen medications approved for type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, and all the high-tech treatments for type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes, are failing to slow this modern pandemic of Western civilization. The book also profiles promising new approaches that are making significant strides toward preventing, curing, or dramatically improving treatment of the disease. Written by Dan Hurley, a regular contributor to the science section of the New York Times (and himself a type 1 diabetic for over 30 years), Diabetes Rising breaks medical news by revealing:

The wealthiest town in Massachusetts, where an outbreak of type 1 diabetes among the children has parents up in arms, and a state investigation underway.

The county in West Virginia with the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the country (where Hurley spent an evening with a family of 10 siblings, all of whom have the disease, and the local Wal-Mart proudly announces that it sells more Little Debbie snack cakes than any other Wal-Mart in the world). 

Why the rate of type 1 diabetes has been rising just as fast and just as long as the rate of type 2, transforming a childhood disease that was once exceedingly rare into one that now affects most elementary school systems in the country. 

How the “artificial pancreas,” long considered a holy grail that would take decades to develop, has now reached the final stages of testing—the book describes Hurley’s extraordinary experience participating in one of the world’s first clinical trials of the device, and profiles the colorful mavericks pushing the technology forward. 

Why international diabetes experts believe that three simple, little-known approaches—avoiding cow’s milk in baby formulas, getting adequate amounts of vitamin D, and simply playing in the dirt—could prevent many cases of diabetes.

Innovative public-health strategies in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere that are seeking to attack diabetes today just as campaigns of a century ago defeated communicable diseases—with public-health laws regulating fast-food restaurants.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The good news about being a professional science journalist with type 1 diabetes is that you can devote 100 percent of your time to researching its history and the evolution of its diagnosis and treatment. Your credentials also give you entrée into the bosom of up-to-the-moment research in the field. The even better news about being such a journalist is that you can write a fascinating, informative book from which people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes and their loved ones (it is so widespread as to affect the lives of countless people, whether they have diabetes or know someone who does) can be informed of the latest theories about causes, treatments, and potential cures. Ideas about causes are all over the map, ranging from cow’s milk to insufficient sunshine. Treatments are vastly improved and getting better everyday; Hurley even submitted to the all-too-brief experience of being symptom-free while he was hooked up to an artificial pancreas. And cures? Well, read the book. --Donna Chavez


“An important work...Well written, weaving personal stories, interviews with lead scientific researchers, and historical reviews to create an easy-to-read, complete look at the epidemic of diabetes.” Journal of the American Medical Association

""Diabetes Rising takes on the fastest-growing disease in history with a take-no-prisoner’s attitude. You got to love the author’s pugnacity. Dan Hurley takes the same approach to diabetes that Ronald Reagan took on the Cold War. Not willing to live with the enemy, he wants to kill it in its crib."" —Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews 

""...the real zingers in Hurley’s account are the variety of new studies he reports in connection with the astonishing increase in overt or potential diabetes in nearly 25 percent of the world’s adult population."" — Kirkus Reviews

""Books offering advice on living with diabetes are legion. Hurley provides instead a compelling layperson’s overview of diabetes research enlivened by multiple interviews with scientists in the field. Diabetics and those who love them will find this a fascinating and hope-filled read."" — Library Journal, starred review 

...""fascinating, informative book…"" — Booklist 

""Few people are more qualified to write this medical mystery story. An award-winning journalist for medical publications and the New York Times, Hurley has been matching wits with the killer for thirty years inside his own body—he developed type I diabetes in 1975, and his description of his last supper as a non-diabetic on Thanksgiving is harrowing. One of the many strengths of this book, in fact, is Hurley’s ability to juxtapose masses of historical medical information with highly personal stories, his own and those of others, which give a human face to this impersonal killer. We want a cure for diabetes, not just for mankind, but for Hurley and his young daughter."" — Foreword

""Diabetes Rising is very well written and is a must-have for families living with type 1 diabetes. Highly Recommended."" — 

""This is a stunning book about diabetes. For patients, family members, physicians, and those simply interested in learning more about a disease so closely linked to the rise of modern civilization, Diabetes Rising offers not just a thorough background, but the hint of an 'out of the box' approach to how we can treat and prevent diabetes."" — from the foreword by Zachary T. Bloomgarden, M.D., Editor, Journal of Diabetes 

""With engaging style, Dan Hurley uses the tools of investigational journalism to ask the question millions affected by diabetes ask themselves every day: 'Why can’t we cure and prevent this devastating disease?' Diabetes Rising challenges conventional wisdom in search of pioneering scientific approaches to achieve a world without diabetes."" — S. Robert Levine, M.D., Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Board of Chancellors 

""Dan Hurley has created a superb framework for understanding diabetes today and the profound challenges that face anyone affected by it. In crisp, vivid prose, Hurley offers unerring insight on what we live with. Essential reading!"" — Kelly L. Close, editor in chief, diaTribe 

""We are increasingly living in a diabetic nation, and Dan Hurley provides a durable framework for understanding what that means -- the potent forces driving the epidemic, the deep impact on individual lives, and the possible solutions that can turn the tide."" — James S. Hirsch, author of Cheating Destiny: Living with Diabetes

Product Details

  • File Size: 520 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Trade; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0043VEGFC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,845 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Send it to your Senators and Representative January 18, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Medical journalist Dan Hurley has written an engaging and important book. He divides his book into a prologue, three major sections, and a conclusion. In the prologue, he introduces us to the prosperous town of Weston MA which illustrates two things about diabetes in the United States today: it is increasingly common and we are not doing enough to track it. He then broadens the perspective so that the reader can understand that we are really dealing with a global pandemic. Then, Part One of the book gives an accounting of the history of diabetes, from ancient times when it was rare, to the current day when the rates of both Types 1 and 2 have exploded. He concludes this section with a detailed discussion of the state of Type 2 today and a visit to Logan County WV, the county with the highest incidence of diabetes in the United States, where 14.8% of everyone over the age of 20 has been diagnosed with the disease. In Part Two of the book, the author outlines the five theories as to the likely causes of diabetes that he finds most compelling. In Part Three, he examines four different approaches that may ultimately lead to significantly better management, to a cure, or to significant rates of prevention. He wraps up with a brief conclusion. Please note that while you will learn things about what might be smart to do (take 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 each day, for instance), this is not a guide on how to manage diabetes on a daily basis. If you are looking for a book on how to calculate basal rates and boluses or cook low-carb dishes, this is not it.

Much of the information in this book will be at least somewhat familiar to those who follow the disease. Very few people, however, will be familiar with all of it.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with new information January 7, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a physician with a diabetic son and I ordered this to see if it would be useful for him, especially, to read. I have enjoyed it and it has many bits of new information. The first 87 pages is a pretty good history of the disease and of attempts to treat it. I have one quibble as I had always believed that Frederick Allen got the idea for the "starvation treatment" of diabetes from evidence that diabetics did better than nondiabetics with the malnutrition in cities cut off during the First World War. His treatment program began in 1919 to 1921. His method, described by Hurley, was to eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. This worked to stop acidosis and glycosuria but the children became skeletal and were obsessed with hunger. The only way they could be treated was by residential centers where they could be kept from eating sugar. The method did keep some children alive until insulin came along in 1922. One of those children was the daughter of Charles Evans Hughes whose father was the Republican presidential nominee in 1916, losing to Woodrow Wilson. She lived to the age of 88 and few in her family even knew of her diabetes.

Hurley follows the lead of Michael Bliss in denigrating Fredrick Banting who, while not the learned professor that MacLeod was, had the vision to try a new tack in the search for a cure. There are other versions of the story that give Banting far more credit. Still, the history is all good. The most intersting part for me is where he gets into the mechanism for the disease, the "accelerator hypothesis" and the "cow's milk hypothesis" and the others. They are very interesting and may hold clues to treatment and prevention. There have been other studies, one for example, with prediabetic pregnant women in which frank diabetes may have been prevented.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Recomended! March 26, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very interested in this book as my 10 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. While I haven't
done exhaustive research regarding this disease I have read and been given a lot of information lately, some of it contradictory.
This book was very informative and easy to understand and an enjoyable read! I really appreciated the history of the disease and some of it's early treatments
and an overview of the kind of research currently being done. I felt empowered at the end with a greater understanding of the disease and hopeful for my daughter's future. Valuable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, easy to understand, and hopeful July 31, 2010
My wife was diagnosed with type one diabetes shortly after we were married, when she was 30 years old. It's been five years now and I feel like I still don't have as good a grasp on the disease as I should if I'm going to be a big help to her. So after hearing an interview with the author on the radio, I decided to read this book in order to learn more about the disease and what the prospects are for real life changing treatments and cures for my wife. I also wanted to lean more about the origin of the disease and how best to prevent its manifestation in high risk individuals, seeing as how we have recently had a son who so far has not shown any signs of having it.

I thought the book was fantastic and I promptly made my wife read it (in order to give her some guidance and hope) as well as my parents and in-laws so that all involved in her support system would have a better idea of what we were up against. The book laid out in an easy to understand fashion, the biology and history of the disease, as well as the possible controversial causes, cutting edge treatments and outlook for future cures. All told, the book was very hopeful that a cure or "cure like treatment" could be possible within the next 20 years. That may be in time to save my wife's life and the lives of millions of others. The book also laid out a plan of action to avoid contracting the disease for those who may be genetically susceptible to it. That is extremely valuable to me as I try to protect my son who may be at risk due to my wife's genetics.

I highly recommend this book not only to those who already have diabetes or have a loved one who does, but to everyone else because this disease is spreading at an alarming and unprecedented pace and can strike the perfectly healthy at any time. People should be aware that it's out there and know what to do to avoid it because once you have it, your life will be changed for ever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
After more than two decades of living with Type I Diabetes, I finally got a chance to read something about it. It was hard, the book kept making me cry. Read more
Published 6 months ago by nobodyinparticular
3.0 out of 5 stars Wrong Assumptions lead to False Conclusions
Dan Hurley, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 18, makes several substantive errors in his book that lessen the credibility of his "investigative journalism," in my opinion. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rocks 4 Jocks
4.0 out of 5 stars Gives insightful info on the diabetes epidemic
Dan provides new and interesting information on the causes of diabetes rising in the country. For not being a healthcare professional he explains the topic fairly well. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Luna
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for parents of kids who may need Vitamin D.
This book provides lots of information about the rapidly rising incidence of Type 1 Diabetes, which may qualify for the label of pandemic. Read more
Published 14 months ago by GinaMia
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Everything you knew and a lot of things that you didn't that will leave you astounded. I had to read the book twice once wasn't enough.
Published on March 2, 2013 by Mr. Gregory P. Solomon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book is very informative. I gave it to my daughter and she reads it often and says it is great.
Published on December 4, 2012 by Happy Cats in Reno
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff.
Very, very informative. Almost sure to contain material you didn't know, both promising threads and dead ends, even if you are a long-time diabetic (my interest is primarily in... Read more
Published on November 9, 2012 by Bassett
5.0 out of 5 stars Diabetes Through The Roof
This is an excellent book for someone who wants to understand diabetes and to learn how to protect himself from this epidemic. Read more
Published on May 20, 2011 by Sambo Gonzales
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!
I've meant to write about this book for months and wish I had more time to explain. Trust me, as a wife (and now mother) of type 1 diabetic, this is the best book I've read in the... Read more
Published on February 13, 2011 by M. Bene
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Diabetes Rising is comprehensively informative and extremely reader friendly. Debunking dozens of myths about the disease, DR elucidates the myriad of potential causes and... Read more
Published on July 2, 2010 by Burgundy Damsel
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More About the Author

I come by my interest in psychology, learning and intelligence the honest way. Back in third grade, when I still couldn't read, my teacher told my mother, "Daniel is a slow learner." But in sixth grade, I received straight A's. In-between, my best friend had started reading Spider-Man and other Marvel comics. When I discovered them, and began writing and drawing my own, my life as a writer began.

My first job after graduating from Beloit College in Wisconsin was to help create and serve as editor of the Clayton Times, based in the suburbs just outside of St. Louis. Determined to write for national publications, I sold a few stories to the National Examiner, a supermarket tabloid, including my first cover story, "I Was Attacked by Killer Bigfoot."

In 2009, after more than 25 years as a freelance science journalist, I wrote a piece for Neurology Today, the official publication of the American Academy of Neurology, about research into drugs that could improve the cognitive abilities of people with Down syndrome. One of the doctors I interviewed, Alberto Costa, had published the first study to show that a drug could immediately improve the ability of mice with a version of Down syndrome to navigate a maze; he was now testing the drug on young adults with Down syndrome. His own daughter, the same age as mine, had been born with the disorder. I ended up writing about Dr. Costa and his search for Down syndrome in the New York Times Magazine.

Then I wondered, "Is it possible to increase the intelligence of people who don't have Down syndrome?" I learned that dozens of studies had been published showing that the intelligence of children, adults and older people, whether healthy or facing cognitive challenges, could be increased through a variety of methods: physical exercise, specially designed computer games, learning a musical instrument, mindfulness meditation, transcranial direct-current stimulation, and more. A handful of prominent skeptics continue to insist that it's all a lot of baloney, that IQ is forever. I've now described the latest research in two other feature articles in the New York Times Magazine. And for my new book, "Smarter," I personally combined all the methods shown to work, including learning to play the Renaissance lute. (That would surprise some of my old friends, who recall my college band, the Mutations, for which I sang songs like "I Hate You" and "I Want Your Body.") As a result of my training, my fluid intelligence increased by 16%.

Another part of my career as a writer is something called 60-Second Novels. Back in 1983, I decided to take my manual Remington typewriter onto Michigan Avenue in Chicago, tape a sign to it that said, "60-Second Novels, Written While You Wait," and see what the heck would happen. It was meant to be an absurd performance-art experiment in which I expected most people to squint at me and tell me to get a job. But like in "The Producers," my bizarro idea turned out to be a success: a line of people formed and started handing me five dollars a pop to talk with them and then write something inspired by our conversation. Within a year I quit my job as an editor at the American Bar Association, moved to New York, and became a full-time 60-Second Novelist, earning as much as $300 a day on the sidewalks of New York. Eventually I started writing 60-Second Novels at corporate and private events around the country. Is this a great country or what??

But after 30 fricking years of it, I'm giving up 60-Second Novels. This science writing thing just might work out.

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