Diabetes: Coursework for Innovative Solutions for Aging Populations

I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School on the topic of Innovating Solutions for Aging Populations.

The free course is offered through Coursera; it started June 6th and runs until July 17th. You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/health-care-innovation

Week 1 included short introduction videos covering the growth in life expectancy, reductions in childhood mortality rates, and the shift from healthcare focusing on infectious diseases to focusing on chronic and noncommunicable diseases.

Week 2:  Diabetes

In this module you will be presented with the physiology, complications, prevention and treatment of diabetes. Also, you will be introduced to self-management tools designed to help people with diabetes choose healthy meal plans.

Lecture 1:  Diabetes/metabolism

This week’s video lectures focused on a brief introduction to diabetes (what it is, how many people have it, what can cause it, and tools to manage and treat diabetes), and a strong focus on using diet as a self-management tool. They report that a healthy lifestyle (including exercise and healthy eating with at least 30% of meals consisting of vegetables) has a higher success rate than using medications alone. They also reported that cancer medications and diabetes medications are the two most sold drugs worldwide (big pharma makes BIG money!!)

highest selling drugs worldwide


Q1. Which physiological mechanism is impaired when insulin sensitivity is reduced in type 2 diabetes? 

A1. The insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, primarily by muscle cells

Q2. Based on the lecture, which of these persons have the highest risk of developing insulin resistance?

A2. Both John’s parents have type 2 diabetes, John is obese and doesn’t exercise much

Q3. How should type 2 diabetes be prevented?

A3. By early identification and by changing lifestyle


Lecture 2:  Diet self-management

The lectures also talked about tools (two apps for smart phones) called My Plate and My Day. These seem to still be under development, but focus on helping people to track their daily habits, especially around eating and nutrition and living an active lifestyle.


Q1. What is hard for Eva in relation to her treatment?

A1. Accepting her diabetes

Q2. What does self-management mean in relation to diabetes?

A2. Taking responsibility for managing the treatment

Q3. What is the purpose of the “plate models”?

A3. The T-shaped plate model to loose weight. The Y-shaped plate to maintain weight

Q4. Which macronutrients provide humans with energy?

A4. Carbohydrates, fat, protein and alcohol

Q5. What affect does fat have on blood glucose levels?

A5. High fat foods can delay a rise in blood glucose level

Q6. What macronutrient have highest impact on blood glucose?

A6. Carbohydrate

Mobile Health: Apps for Every Age and Ouch

The apps, sensors and seemingly unlimited data at our fingertips put people — not providers — in charge of their own health. Medical procedures that once cost thousands of dollars can be reduced to pennies in the form of an app.

This cool, interactive infographic gives examples and real-life experiences of people using mHealth apps for better health and well-being. Click on the link below to read more!

Explore how the recent explosion in mobile health and medical apps can impact every stage of a person’s life. And potentially, our health care costs.

Mobile Health: Apps for Every Age and Ouch

Low prevalence of Alzheimer’s among Indians

This post comes to us curtsy of Stanford University’s Geriatrics department. It is about how the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is low in India and some reasons why this may be. One of the possible reasons discussed is relating to diet, and particularly to their use of Curcumin – one of the main ingredients in the spice Turmeric, which is used in many curry dishes (a spice known for anti-inflammatory effects). If you want to read more on this, check out my post on Curry helping the brain repair itself (også på dansk her).


According to recent studies conducted in Indians, the prevalence of dementia is lower compared to that of developed nations. These studies show that prevalence of dementia varies in different region of the country:

in urban regions it varied from 18 per 1000(1.8%) (Vas et al, 2001) to 33.6 per 1000 (3.36%) (Shaji, 2005)

in rural areas it was found to be 1.36% to 3.5%. The predominant type of dementia prevalent is dementia of Alzheimer’s type, and the next being vascular dementia.

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is very low in India, but the predilection to diabetes and coronary artery disease increases the risk of multi-infarct dementia.

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Participate in a study on early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

I came across this call for participants through the Stanford University Center on Longevity, and thought I would spread the word. They are currently recruiting participants, looking for healthy adults aged 65-83 with no history of cognitive impairment or mental illness. The goal is to investigate the genetic risk of developing dementia (through blood tests) and to investigate the safety and effectiveness of a medication (currently used to control diabetes) in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Alzheimer’s disease death rate by state

A look at the most common causes of death by state

Article By 

Two months ago, I wrote about the fun and the pitfalls of viral maps, a feature that included 88 simple maps of my own creation. Since then I’ve written up a bunch of short items on some of those maps, walking through how they can both illustrate great information and hide important details. At one point, I said I was done with these. Well, I wasn’t. Here’s another, on death. Enjoy!

The data used to create the table below are from a 2008 CDC report that’s based on numbers from 2005. Ideally, we’d have more up-to-date information, but their page on mortality tables indicates that there’s nothing more recent on state-by-state causes of death.


Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.