Friday, March 8, 2013

The Joslin Medalist Study

There is a study of long term type 1 diabetics taking place at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. It is called the Joslin Medalist Study. The purpose of the study is to determine why so many long term type 1 diabetics have been able to avoid diabetes related complications. Every participant has received the Joslin 50 year medal. At the present time there have been more than 800 participants, and the study is ongoing.

When I participated in 2009, I was told that some of the participants had not been taking good care of themselves, but there were no serious diabetes related complications. Others had worked very hard to have good control, but did have some complications. The majority of the medalists, like me, have worked for good control, and have good diabetes health.

A few years ago it was found that some of the diabetics involved still produce some of their own insulin! The members of the study team were very surprised at this discovery. That could help explain their longevity and good diabetes health. Some of us do not produce any insulin, and we have good diabetes health. I made a point of that when I was allowed to speak to the audience in June, 2011. There has to be another explanation for the good long term health for those of us not producing insulin.

Dr. King made a startling announcement at the 2011 meeting. He said that there are an estimated 2000 type 1 diabetics in the US who have a special internal protection against complications involving eyes, kidneys, and serious nerve damage. He added that the protection does not help our hearts. Several participants have had heart attacks, bypass surgeries, and other heart problems. My heart is very strong at this time, with no problems.

I have given only a partial report here. The links below will enable you to explore further. The Joslin medalists meet in Boston every two years. This year we will meet on May 10 and 11. I have some Facebook friends in the Boston area, and a few of them will meet with us in the evening on May 11. If anyone who reads this blog is interested, be sure to contact me.


  1. I was present when one of the doctors at Joslin presented her research about the possible reasons some people do well and the answers were not clear. The presence of C peptides explained some but not all of the successes. One type of Diabetes seemed to be free of microvascular disease which is that affecting small blood vessels affecting eyes, kidney and nerves but still allowing macrovascular complications which is coronary artery disease and strokes. there is so much to learn and understand and they are still working at it. Many thanks and congratulations to the people all over the country who come to Joslin to participate in this research.

  2. Thank you, Richard. Interesting stuff. There's so much more to the whole complication thing than we know, it seems.