Amongst the Interwebs

Trying to keep up with the ridiculous amount of information that I try to stay up-to-date on that circulates the Internet is a tall task. Admittedly, I do a lot of skimming of my Google Reader feeds and I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I click ‘Mark All as Read’ more often than I probably should. There’s something about getting that unread items number as close to 0 as possible that forces the issue. I should probably have that obsession looked at. It can’t be healthy.

I’m sure you all have seen this video:

What you may not have seen was a post on, the online portal of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times from Dr. Stephen Ponder. According to his bio, Dr. Ponder “has type 1 diabetes [and] has been an pediatric endocrinologist for 23 years.” Interestingly enough, he is also on Twitter (@dr_steve_ponder). In the article, “Be sensitive when talking with a parent of a Type 1 diabetic”, Dr. Ponder goes into some impressive detail to provide specific examples of phrases that you should NOT say to a parent of child with diabetes. Most of his points are common sense to you and me, but I still appreciate that this man, a doctor, is doing his part to spread some kind of awareness. More power to him and any of his peers doing their part.

Continuing my Internet browsing adventure for the day, I found an press release citing a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The study was an “in-depth evaluation of ten diabetes websites”, because that Social Media is all the buzz these days. It’s an interesting look at a handful of social networking sites, but it is nowhere near complete. Considering the number of people with diabetes, the number of people with Internet access, where those groups overlap and finally who, within that smaller group are likely to search online for healthcare related information, there’s plenty of research to do. (Check out these results from Pew Internet for more data along those venn diagram-y lines).  But this is a nice start. Here’s an excerpt [emphasis mine],

“Diabetes is only one illness in the rapidly growing list for which there are online social networks with thousands of users. The researchers chose to study diabetes-related networks because they were among the earliest to emerge and remain among the most active. They and colleagues in the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program are further studying how these sites are used—how people choose to interact with them and how specifically they share their medical information. Last year, [Kenneth] Mandl and [Elissa] Weitzman developed an application for the social networking website TuDiabetes that allows users to submit their A1c levels to be displayed in a worldwide map, as part of an effort to encourage diabetes management and inform public health efforts and research.

The two believe that the emergence of online health communities and their large number of participants reveal unmet needs for information and support of patients and families. “Social networking activity is clearly replacing or adding value that is missing in the standard healthcare system,” Mandl says.”

I like that last part, but there is only so much we can add to our healthcare through social networks, blogs and the like. We still need our doctors for some things, and I’m not just talking about filling out a new prescription. They are supposed to be part of a larger team that helps to manage this disease. We are all aware of the various flaws in the system, but I don’t think anyone realistically thinks that we can go to Twitter or Facebook for EVERYTHING, right?

Finally, if you are aware of the fun that is Tumblr, you should check out I Love Charts. It’s fantastic.

And super finally, I changed the wallpaper on my phone to this image. Gotta keep things fresh, ya know?

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