Criminal Minds on Diabetes
From this week’s episode of Criminal Minds, “The Uncanny Valley”:
“Diabetics metabolize everything they consume differently. Food, drink, drugs … it all gets broken down into blood sugar.”
Ignoring the fact that not all food and drink gets broken into blood sugar (Coke Zero, anyone?), you’re telling me my drugs all turn into blood sugar too? Guess I’d better start taking insulin with my cholesterol pills from now on.
The show also asserts that diabetics can metabolize drugs faster, and thus our victim could shake off the paralytic. (Which was being received via an I.V. drip.) This struck me at first as either poorly researched or poorly explained.
So I spent this morning digging up research so as not to come off as an idiot when I wrote my rant, and what do you know. I came across a 2007 study from The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases which states:
In fact, type 1 diabetes not only leads to activation of drug metabolic genes, but also has a profound effect on the metabolism of certain drugs. Mice with induced type 1 diabetes rapidly clear their systems of a compound that induces temporary paralysis, while normal mice cannot.
From that same article, “Controlling the diabetes reversed the effect: when insulin was given to the mice, the CAR-induced genes turned off. ” So in theory, since this woman was off her insulin, there might have been a window where she would have thrown off the effects of the drugs before falling into a diabetic coma.
I’m not finding anything to support the idea that drugs all break down into blood sugar, though. That one still strikes me as goblin dung. According to the article above, a diabetic with out-of-control glucose doesn’t clear the drug by breaking it down into sugar, but because (in mice, at least) this activates certain genes that clear the drug from the system.
So, I’m cranky about the “Everything turns into sugar” bit, but it looks like they did the research on the rest. Thanks for that, Criminal Minds — the widespread laziness and misinformation spread in most books and shows when it comes to diabetes is a huge peeve of mine.
On that note, if any of my writer friends are ever doing a story that includes diabetes and have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m not a doctor, but I can give you the basics and tell you what it’s like to live with the damn disease.
Also, I think I have a man-crush on Dr. Reid.
January 16, 2010 @ 10:45 am
Thanks for the post – the first thing that ran through my head during the show’s explanation was “I should as Jim about this.”
And Dr. Reid is totally crushworthy.
Jim C. Hines
January 16, 2010 @ 10:56 am
You’re welcome. My gut response after we got to that line was “Oh no you didn’t!” 🙂
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January 16, 2010 @ 3:39 pm
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January 17, 2010 @ 10:41 am
Hi, I would still ask, once you mentioned that in the Czech Republic will be an exhibition of your stories. Do you know when? Have you decided if you come to the Czech Republic (I’d like if you sign my goblins). Thank you for your reply.
January 17, 2010 @ 10:58 am
Run with the man crush, Reid & Garcia are the reasons I forgive the show so much. Especially since Gideon bolted.
Jim C. Hines
January 17, 2010 @ 12:03 pm
I don’t think I ever said there was going to be a short fiction collection in Czech. Germany released a collection a little while back, but so far my Czech publisher hasn’t expressed interest. (Not yet, at least.)
I would love to head overseas one of these days, but it probably won’t happen any time soon. Mostly for financial reasons. But some day…
January 17, 2010 @ 4:30 pm
Getting mad at what you see on fictional television is simply not worth the effort; I would know.
Jim C. Hines
January 17, 2010 @ 4:37 pm
The poor diabetic
January 18, 2010 @ 10:10 am
If its a fictional show should it based on some level of realism? what bothers me about this is the fact that criminal minds which I actually enjoy watching will have an Into and exit quote by some famous guy or another. While this is done just to enhance the notion of a smart bunch of criminologists, problem is that will provide some form of legitimacy to the show claims and while I missed the diabetes episode, when one watches it you might be misled into believing these phantom facts. IMHO
January 18, 2010 @ 5:24 pm
Yeah, why not? Someone had to write it; someone has to accept responsibility.
If I see or read something wonderful, I enjoy it, I appreciate it, I share it with others. It’s worth the effort. And on the other side of the fence, if I see or read something written by Dan Brown…
January 18, 2010 @ 6:51 pm
Actually, let me qualify that a bit. I find it incredulous that a professional can get away with not doing any research. Repeatedly.
January 18, 2010 @ 11:35 pm
Perhaps I should elaborate. What I ultimately mean is taking such things personal is emotionally wearing and doesn’t produce anything positive. I feel this way because I grew up in a religion that most of the time pop culture doesn’t take the time to understand. If I let every un-researched comment or misguided phrase get to me I will have no time to do anything else but rant and fume. Not to mention I would become one of those people whose faces are all scrunched up with disappointment. Agree or disagree, it’s up to you. This is just the way that I found not to be poisoned by bitterness and you seemed to be open to advice.
Jim C. Hines
January 19, 2010 @ 8:04 am
If you’ve chosen to ignore misinformation and such about your religion, and this is what works for you, that’s one thing. If that’s the choice that helps you to feel balanced and less stressed, then it sounds like the right choice for you.
I don’t feel poisoned or burnt out, and I don’t believe I’m spending all of my time ranting and fuming.
Advice is tricky. I’m open to other people’s opinions, but you responded to my post by basically telling me I was wasting my effort, and it wasn’t worth it.
I disagree. In part because I’m someone who creates fiction, and I take that very seriously. That’s my choice.