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Aaron Kowalski Part 4, A1C And Quality Of Life

In part 4, the conclusion of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Aaron Kowalski talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California about his ideal A1C and the #1 benefit of the hybrid closed loop system.

Aaron Kowalski, PhD is the Chief Mission Officer and Vice President of Research at the JDRF. He is an internationally recognized expert in the area of diabetes technologies and has been a leader of JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Research Project, a multimillion dollar initiative that began in 2005 to accelerate the progress toward automated insulin delivery systems.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed: So, for my last question. It’s one of my favorite questions to ask everybody. I can stop people on the street and ask them the question. You go downstairs in the exhibit hall and they’re offering free A1C tests and they stick your finger and give you a little piece of paper in about 5 to 10 minutes and on there is a number. Doesn’t say it’s below 6, doesn’t say it’s between 8 and 5. It just gives you a number. An exact number with a decimal place. So, if you can have any A1C for yourself forgetting you have diabetes okay, if you can have any number that you want for your health, what number would you like that to be?

Aaron Kowalski: I would like it to be a normal number. I mean a non-diabetes level.

Steve Freed: But it doesn’t say normal on the piece of paper. There’s a number.

Aaron Kowalski: So, I would say 5.5%. We know that the general population of people who don’t have diabetes are in the mid-5 range. Now of course that is a cure. How you get there as you know, to drive the A1C down to 5.5% right now for me would mean a tremendous amount of hypoglycemia. We need to get to an A1C that is attainable in your real life. And the other thing that I say when people ask me about A1C is diabetes is not just about A1C. When I hear the reports out of the first hybrid closed loop systems, one of the key things, the number one thing, what do you think the number one benefit that people report out?

Steve Freed: Well hopefully less time taking care of their diabetes.

Aaron Kowalski: Well that’s one. The number one, and this is part of that, is sleep. They sleep better. That people don’t appreciate how much diabetes interferes with sleep. And of course I would love to have a normal A1C, but the A1C needs to come with the quality of life that is not overburdensome. I could poke my fingers 50 times a day and eat celery and fast and maybe get my A1C down to 5.5%, but that’s not the quality of life that I want. So, that’s why we do research. That’s why I’m really proud of the research that JDRF is doing because we’re looking at the glucose control but also what it takes to get there and to me you have to balance both of those. So that’s a longwinded way of having an A1C that my wife has who doesn’t have diabetes would be great but I want to get there the way she gets there without thinking about it.

Steve Freed: My license plate says HbA1C 5.

Aaron Kowalski: Nice. Alright.

Steve Freed: So, if you see that license plate, it’s me.

Aaron Kowalski: I’ll know it’s you. I’ll try riding that slipstream.

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