JDC Gems

6. Gems picture of the month

Dr.Richard K Bernstein

Dr.Richard Bernstein

     Dr.Richard Bernstein who suffered from severe complications of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) was the first reported patient to use a blood glucose meter. In 1969, he was fortunate enough to procure a glucometer for personal use, through his physician wife. After endless trials and errors, he could demonstrate that with self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) and subsequent adjustments made in insulin doses, diet and frequency of testing, glucose levels could be normalised and diabetes-associated complications could be minimised.

     Although he highly accomplished to manage his own disease, as one without medical credentials, he faced difficulties in gaining the necessary attention of the medical community towards his findings. His tries to publish his ideas in journals went in vain and even his physician who was the past president of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) was not convinced. To realize his mission, he left his original profession as an engineer and set out to earn a medical degree. He succeeded in publishing his results and in the early 1980s, ADA changed its position and started to recommend patients for SMBG. Currently, 83 years of age, Bernstein has outlived the life expectancy of a T1DM and his techniques are highly regarded amongst his patients to achieve glycaemic control and to reduce the associated complications.

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