Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and What to Do About It

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Now in paperback—the controversial expose of the causes and treatments of diabetes, revised and updated.


Diabetes Rising takes on the fastest-growing disease in history with a take-no-prisoner’s attitude. Not willing to live with the enemy, Dan Hurley wants to kill it in its crib.”

—Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews


In Diabetes Rising, investigative journalist Dan Hurley chronicles the modern diabetes epidemic: how the disease has grown so dramatically, why the American Diabetes Association focuses its attention on just a small handful of available treatments, and why the research being done today does not look beyond accepted types of treatments.


With ground-breaking research and compelling stories told through an investigative, historical, and narrative lens, Diabetes Rising offers riveting insight into the struggle between a persistent malady and the medical community’s ongoing search for answers. Just as Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation uncovered the sordid details leading to an epidemic of obesity, Dan Hurley uncovers the hidden truths about diabetes, including what is being researched and what is not.


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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Updates on the growing prevalence of diabetes, putative contributing factors, current treatments and ways of prevention. Science writer Hurley has type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune form of the disease formerly called "juvenile" diabetes. Type 1 patients survive by continually monitoring their blood glucose levels and injecting insulin to meet the body's demands. To combat type 2 diabetes, the adult form, there are oral drugs available in addition to insulin injections. Hurley adeptly covers the history of the disease-beginning with the earliest observations that the urine of symptomatic patients smelled, or tasted, sweet-and provides an illuminating aside on the Nobel Prize-winning Canadian doctors Charles Best and Frederick Grant Banting, who discovered insulin in the early 1920s. The story gets complicated with the discovery of insulin resistance in some patients (requiring higher dosages), the risks associated with drug treatments and the downside of "tight control" (dangerously low blood glucose levels) and the many other complications that can stem from diabetes-heart and kidney disease, blindness, painful neuropathies, amputation and more. Here some explanation of how and why these complications occur would have helped. But the real zingers in Hurley's account are the variety of new studies he reports in connection with the astonishing increase in overt or potential diabetes in nearly 25 percent of the world's adult population. Of course obesity and lack of exercise loom large as risk factors for type 2, but Hurley notes dramatic increases in type 1 as well. Diabetes has also been linked to persistent organic pollutants, cow's-milk allergies and lack of vitamin D. With no cure insight, the author argues for prevention, a road he sees paved by such public-health measures as mandatory calorie counts on menus and physical exercise in schools. He also has high hopes for an artificial pancreas, a computer-controlled device combining continuous glucose monitoring with an insulin pump. A fine primer for patients, but also instructive for anyone interested in the social/environmental determinants of disease.
From the Publisher
“An important work...Well written, weaving personal stories, interviews with lead scientific researchers, and historical reviews to create an easy-to-read, complete look at the epidemic of diabetes.” Journal of the American Medical Association

""Diabetes Rising takes on the fastest-growing disease in history with a take-no-prisoner’s attitude. You got to love the author’s pugnacity. Dan Hurley takes the same approach to diabetes that Ronald Reagan took on the Cold War. Not willing to live with the enemy, he wants to kill it in its crib."" —Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews 

""...the real zingers in Hurley’s account are the variety of new studies he reports in connection with the astonishing increase in overt or potential diabetes in nearly 25 percent of the world’s adult population."" — Kirkus Reviews

""Books offering advice on living with diabetes are legion. Hurley provides instead a compelling layperson’s overview of diabetes research enlivened by multiple interviews with scientists in the field. Diabetics and those who love them will find this a fascinating and hope-filled read."" — Library Journal, starred review 

...""fascinating, informative book…"" — Booklist 

""Few people are more qualified to write this medical mystery story. An award-winning journalist for medical publications and the New York Times, Hurley has been matching wits with the killer for thirty years inside his own body—he developed type I diabetes in 1975, and his description of his last supper as a non-diabetic on Thanksgiving is harrowing. One of the many strengths of this book, in fact, is Hurley’s ability to juxtapose masses of historical medical information with highly personal stories, his own and those of others, which give a human face to this impersonal killer. We want a cure for diabetes, not just for mankind, but for Hurley and his young daughter."" — Foreword

""Diabetes Rising is very well written and is a must-have for families living with type 1 diabetes. Highly Recommended."" — ChildrenwithDiabetes.com 

""This is a stunning book about diabetes. For patients, family members, physicians, and those simply interested in learning more about a disease so closely linked to the rise of modern civilization, Diabetes Rising offers not just a thorough background, but the hint of an 'out of the box' approach to how we can treat and prevent diabetes."" — from the foreword by Zachary T. Bloomgarden, M.D., Editor, Journal of Diabetes 

""With engaging style, Dan Hurley uses the tools of investigational journalism to ask the question millions affected by diabetes ask themselves every day: 'Why can’t we cure and prevent this devastating disease?' Diabetes Rising challenges conventional wisdom in search of pioneering scientific approaches to achieve a world without diabetes."" — S. Robert Levine, M.D., Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Board of Chancellors 

""Dan Hurley has created a superb framework for understanding diabetes today and the profound challenges that face anyone affected by it. In crisp, vivid prose, Hurley offers unerring insight on what we live with. Essential reading!"" — Kelly L. Close, editor in chief, diaTribe 

""We are increasingly living in a diabetic nation, and Dan Hurley provides a durable framework for understanding what that means — the potent forces driving the epidemic, the deep impact on individual lives, and the possible solutions that can turn the tide."" — James S. Hirsch, author of Cheating Destiny: Living with Diabetes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607144588
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Hurley

Dan Hurley is a science writer and journalist who regularly contributes to The New York Times Science Times. He also writes for numerous medical newspapers, including Neurology Today (the newspaper of the American Academy of Neurology), Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News, Pharmacy Practice News, General Surgery News, and others. He has been senior writer at the Medical Tribune and contributing editor to Psychology Today, where his article on the violent mentally ill won the American Society of Journalists and Authors’ award for investigative journalism in 1995. He is the former Vice President of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

He is also the author of Natural Causes: Death, Lies, and Politics in America's Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry and The 60-Second Novelist: What 22,613 People Taught Me About Life.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    Interesting and Informative

    I would recommend this book to someone who wants an overview of where we have been and where we are today on understanding and treating diabetes. Easy to read and full of information.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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