Nathan at MGH misinforms on PBS

I am hearing David Nathan, MD, Director of Diabetes Center, Massachusetts General Hospital say that:

Type 1 is juvenile or childhood diabetes.
Type 2 is adult onset diabetes.

This was on PBS NewsHour just now, Monday 9/15/14. I am totally amazed that he would say this, even as shorthand for the lay public.

Anyone know him or have a contact at MGH to complain?

I meant PBS in the headline. I don't see an edit button.

I found edit under Options! Now I can't delete this message.

That's really disappointing. More like something I'd expect form Dr Oz - and I don't really hold too high an opinion of him. This was PBS!!!! I'm on the West Coast, so I am gonna watch it tonight.

Imagine that. A doctor does not know what he's talking about regarding diabetes. That's never happened before.

It's bad he's a doctor, worse he's director of the diabetes center.

I got Type 1 when I was 27, which my PCP dxed as T2D. I thought things had improved.

Well, DDad, I do expect more from a director of a diabetes center!! A 'regular' MD, no. But this was inexcusable.

OOps. I meant to reply to brboyer! Agree, Db Dad.

And Massachusetts General no less! That's one of the hospitals you dream of for your residency.

artwoman, I look forward to your viewing the show. I think I heard it correctly but would love to have your verification. I don't know when it will be posted. Gwen Ifil (sp?) interviewed him.

You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Ignorance will still exist despite attempts to remediate.

I'm dealing with a similar issue with my nutrition professor. She can't spare a single breath when she discusses "diet, obesity, and the correlation to diabetes", and I am sure she is going to love my emphasis on how diet relates to TYPE 2 diabetes (and that ketones are the devil for type 1 diabetics).

I am assuming you are on the eEast Coast? It is now 6:00 pm, so it should air in an hour here in Portland OR. I'll report back straight away. I am also gonnna see if there is a place on PBS to perhaps suggest a correction?

Yep, east coast. NC. It is 9:19 pm here now!

I couldn't wait until 7:0. SO I went on the PBS website, found the broadcast. I'm angry (yeah, again) TO have someone touted as the head of a major diabetes center. Basically, he barely mentioned type 1 - ascribing it to children. The rest of the conversation was type 2 - although he rarely said "type 2Z" He, in my mind, lumped all diabetes together, and said (essentially) that overweight = diabetes.

One of biggest peeves is that the genetic propensity that has to be there for type 2 wasn't mentioned. This is the kind of report that COULD cause someone to think about their family medical history and get checked - catch things early. And let's not forget the Peter Pan syndrome - that is for those of us who got type 1 as adults.

So do I send him an email?

I hope you will send an email. Maybe also to MGH Dean of Medicine or whatever the title, too! You can articulate it.

Mimikins, I think we all have to take a deep breath from time to time when it comes to db knowledge. I think that this condition is one of those that does require specialized knowledge on the part of health professionals. I give a lot of slack to those who are not in the specialty. Think about all the chronic conditions the generalist needs to know about. They can only scratch the surface of each health problem. That goes for MDs, RNs, Nutritionists, etc, etc.

Now, diabetes specialists, that is a different story. They need to go beyond the basics and understand that every single person with diabetes has unique circumstances and needs. At least, know that much. Each of us is our own unique "diabetes textbook" that they need to learn to read.

Very true, in the same logic though we need to realize that he wasn’t speaking to a group of other specialists, or even to a group of diabetics. He was making very broad and generalized remarks about a health condition that’s rampant in this country-- I haven’t seen the show but I suspect he didn’t have hours on end to talk about in detail all the differences between subtypes… After all we on this forum have been discussing it for hundreds of thousands of man-hours now and we still cover new material frequently.


Yes, we have, but this guy is the Director of a diabetes clinic; it's inexcusable for one in his position to be that badly out of sync with current knowledge.

And even stipulating that you have to keep things simple for the general public, there is a world of difference between "keeping it simple" and making flat statements that are just simply untrue.

This sort of thing does not help our cause.

All right, I'll phrase it this way: it does not help to promote understanding of what we really face and must deal with, and that lack of understanding is one more hurdle to overcome in obtaining research dollars, insurance coverage, correct diagnosis, etc. It just makes those jobs harder than they have to be. Needlessly so.

This has nothing to do with maintaining distinctions or not maintaining them. If you're going to explain science, explain it accurately or don't do it at all.

Not all of us consider this “our cause” in fact some of us think that insisting on this type of Type 1 / type 2 distinction is entirely counterproductive to “our cause”