There is a major research project going on in Boston called the Joslin Medalist Study. The Study began in 2005, and is now in its thirteenth year. Every participant in the Study has been a type 1 diabetic for 50 years, or more. I have been type 1 for 71 years, and participated in the Study in 2009. They hope to find the factors that have enabled us long term diabetics to live so long without any serious complications. If found, that could lead to a treatment that could be used by young type 1 diabetics, so they could have long, healthy lives, too. The Study is ongoing and is funded by JDRF and NIH.
I participated in the Study in 2009. It was very thorough, and detailed. During the days before my wife and I drove to Boston, I was required to fill out many pages in a report describing my background, and my physical condition. In December I turned in my written report, and was given a very thorough physical examination. Many blood samples were taken. The examination took almost seven hours, starting at 8 AM after fasting overnight. I was told to take my basal insulin, but no breakfast and no bolus insulin before the examination began. I was required to drink a large glass of a glucose mixture for a GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test). My blood sugar was then determined every 30 minutes for the next two hours. My BG reached a high in the 300’s. I felt very sick since I had not seen a BG that high for many years. At that time I was allowed to take a correction bolus. Some participants showed a drop in their BG after two hours, showing that they still produce some of their own insulin. It was obvious that I was not producing any of my own insulin. A C-peptide test helped confirm my lack of insulin production. I was then given a very lengthy eye examination. It took until late afternoon for my BG to reach a normal level. We left the Center around 3 PM, and we had dinner early that evening. That was the first food I had eaten since the previous evening. We drove home the next day. I did receive a report giving the results of my examination. It was a good report, but it included my having some neuropathy in my feet. I had been previously diagnosed with neuropathy by my neurologist in Kingston, NY. No other significant findings were in the report.
In 2010 it was reported that some medalists still produce some of their own insulin. The following link gives the details: