(I know, "infomate" isn't a real word. Um... just go with it.)
Someone I know in "real life" sent me an email this week asking me how I filter through all of the diabetes information that's out there. (His wife has type 2 diabetes, and he has been told he's pre-diabetic.) I gave him my best answer, but I also asked him if it would be okay if I shared his query with you all. (I love crowdsourcing!)
Here is what he sent me, and I'm hoping you can provide some insight in the comments section below for my friend. Thank you in advance, all!
Kim... How do you keep up? And how do you know that the information you're getting is the best available?
We kicked this around when my wife was diagnosed several years ago. Her doctor read up on all of the material in 1976 or 1978 or whenever he went through school. He's since kept up with various journals and seminars and so on, but there is a lot of room for stuff to fall through the cracks.
His assistant went to school in 1987 or 1988. When she learned it all, it all had changed. She also goes back for seminars and she reads a couple of the journals, but again, there is a lot of room for stuff to get by her.
We went to a series of classes and workshops at the local hospital, learning how to cook and eat and exercise and what to watch out for and so on. Okay, fine. But there were at least three or four times when our doctor told us one thing, his assistant told us another, and the hospital crew said something different.
Alan Rubin's "Diabetes for Dummies" is in its third edition. My wife had a copy of the 1st. I recently got the new one, and we can't talk about it because we disagree on what it says.
It's like you talk to one person, or read one book, and they say, "always eat six grapes" and then you come upon a book or see something on the Scary Health Channel that says "Never eat more than four grapes". Next week, Oprah's got a guest on saying the best treatment is a diet full of grapes.
Or eggs. Or bacon. Or orange juice. Or popcorn. Or whatever. How do you evaluate the little pieces of news that show up in your face every week?
A reporter was once surprised to find Warren Buffett didn't have a ticker-tape machine in his office. Buffett explained that he couldn't deal with that much information. If the tape said Coke just moved at $52 a share, what then? Should he buy more, or should he sell? Whoah! Now it's up to $53 per share! What does THAT mean? Should he buy more, or should he sell what he's already got? Now it's down to $50 a share. Damnit! Why didn't he sell when it was $53? Hey, maybe it'll go back to $54 or $60? Maybe he should buy more? Or maybe just hang on to what he has.... Buffett does much better reading daily and weekly newspapers, rather than trying to drink from the firehose of the internet.
So how do you decide what to believe, in diabetes news?