January 22, 2008

Dr Freud - Endocrinologist and Teen Motivator

Getting type 1 teens to take care of their diabetes is a challenge. That teens see themselves as immortal isn't much of a new flash. They rebel against their parents. That they rebel against their diabetes care can be a side effect of that natural process of separation.

My friend Barry over at the Children With Diabetes forums wrote humorously about a technique he used. He brilliantly create something useful from all the "little blue pill" commercials on TV. There are long term consequences of diabetes that strike immediate fear into the hearts of even the immortal teen gods of Olympus, like needing ED pills. So Barry brought that up. Everyone has seen the commercials, teens included. He theroy was teen may not be afraid of death but needing ED pills! That is a consequence to avoid.

This is the kind of conversation about diabetes that makes forums like Children With Diabetes' so valuable and at the same time entertaining. Why not surf over and join in?

Jim Vail of the pump maker Animas Corporation gave a talk with a similarly inspiration to the teen boys at the Children With Diabetes - Friends For Live convention last July. It took a day or two to get out of my son why he had a sudden appreciation of blood swings as being as important as A1C.

It was Jim's genius and it was hysterical.

Even kids who are proud of good averages (a1c) often miss the point that wide variations in blood sugar, even with a good A1C, can have negative long term effects. Hell just saying something as dull as "negative long term effect" is enough to make their eyes glaze over. So Jim doesn't say that. He asks what is an average human being? Well since half of the human race is male and half female Jim suggests "that average is an even mix 50/50 mix of gender specific parts, one of these, one of those.... say one breast one testicle."

Simply "average" suddenly seemed significantly less important to my teen who now was preaching the idea that minimizing variance was key. Jim got through where we had failed.
Jim and his compatriots from Animas are a big part of why this convention is so successful. I recommend the convention to all T1 parents.

So here's to Barry and Jim - guys who can still think like teens, brilliantly harnessing the the raging hormones in the quest form better blood sugar control.


  1. Please tell me that this same kind of talk will occur at FFL this July too. My teen needs it :)

  2. LOL Rose.

    I cant say what is or is not on the agenda at FFL. I do know the same brilliant team is there and they are very adept at learning the needs of their audience and adapting the content they deliver to serve those needs.