Medical Minute: Prolong the Diabetes Honeymoon

Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the cells that produce insulin. Without these cells, diabetics have to take shots to control their blood sugar. Technology is changing that

Dawn Porter vividly remembers the day Caitlin was diagnosed with diabetes.

“All you could think about is this precious child of yours and how you have to help them," she says.

Desperate, she scoured the Internet for information.

"Anything and everything that I thought might be an avenue to help her."

She found Dr. Staley Brod and a study to see if alpha interferon can keep diabetes in its honeymoon phase.

"At the end of that honeymoon, the individual with the disease has lost the ability to make insulin and therefore needs to inject total replacement of insulin," says Dr. Brod.

Prolonging the honeymoon has numerous benefits.

"Some residual beta cell function is critical in avoiding a lot of the long- term complications of diabetes.”

For Caitlin, diabetes management has meant not only blood sugar checks but a daily drink, too, and while she doesn't know if it's the drug or a placebo, something seems to be working.

"I talked to friends, and they're using 40 to 60 units a day as their average amount of insulin, and I'm only using maybe 20, 19 or 20 units," says Caitlin.

And as for the honeymoon phase that usually lasts around four months? Caitlin is going on three years.

For more information, contact:

University of Texas Health Center at Houston
Neurology Department
(713) 500-7135
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