A normal life  pg. 2

Davis is trying to figure out why the body doesn’t compensate for insulin-induced drops in blood glucose, for example, by boosting secretion of glucagon, another pancreatic hormone that can stimulate glucose release by the liver.

A clue is cortisol, a stress hormone that appears to blunt the body’s ability to compensate for low blood glucose. Drugs that may block this cortisol effect are now being tested in humans. “The initial studies are really exciting,” Davis says.

In the meantime, new forms of insulin are being tested, including a form that could be inhaled, and efforts are underway to develop an insulin “pill.” Also in the pipeline: devices that can “read” blood glucose levels by shining infrared light on the skin.

The “holy grail,” of course, is the restoration of normal beta cell function. Whether or not that day ever comes, “we have spent the last eight years really encouraging her to know she can live a normal life,” Meg Rush says of Katie.

“This does make her different, but it doesn’t have to change her dreams.”

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