Most people know that obesity is a health issue. But how many know that it’s responsible for 95 percent of Type 2 diabetes? Or that 50 percent of diabetes patients die of heart attack? How many readers know how obesity affects surgery? And what would make my father roll over in his grave?
For 60 years I’ve seen obesity in children and adults increasing in North America and most of the world. It’s tragic that few people fully understand how much this epidemic affects their lives and what it’s costing society.
My viewpoint about obesity developed over time as a surgeon. I was once asked during an interview if operating on a 300 pound patient compared to a patient half that weight was more difficult. The interviewer was shocked to hear that technically surgery on such a patient could be 10 times more challenging!
Obesity means a longer operation, increased loss of blood and more anesthetic. Overweight patients are more likely to be suffering from Type 2 diabetes with increased risk the incision will become infected. They’re less active following surgery with greater chance of blood clot and sudden death from pulmonary embolism.
But their problems don’t disappear after surgery. Unless weight is lost, Type 2 diabetes patients have increased risk of loss of vision, leg amputation due to poor circulation, and kidney dialysis or transplant. Moreover, half of diabetes patients succumb to the number one killer, heart attack.
It’s because of these facts that I’ve been interested in Type 2 diabetes for 60 years. It’s also why I interviewed researchers at Eastgate Biotech Corp. a couple of years ago. By using nanotechnology they’ve produced an oral insulin pill to control blood sugar levels. This is a monumental discovery that’s eluded Big Pharma for years. The finding means improved control of blood sugar, decreased risk of diabetes complications and no injections.
I told readers that I’d purchased stock in Eastgate so I could follow its progress. But I knew taking the risk of buying a penny stock that appeared to be going nowhere was like committing a financial sin. It would make my Scottish father roll over in his grave. Then, when I asked my financial advisors about buying more shares, they thought I had gone completely bonkers.
So far my penny stock has hit new lows. Recent interviews with Eastgate executives tell me the company requires nine million dollars to carry out clinical trials required by Health Canada. So my father would be saying, “I told you so! Never buy a penny stock!” But I’d reassure him I had not bet the farm, and besides, my investment, if successful, would benefit medical research.
In my years as a surgeon and medical journalist I’ve never encountered a more humanitarian and potentially rewarding discovery than an oral insulin pill. It’s simply too important to collect dust.
So I’m convinced Eastgate will eventually receive a financial transfusion. And the insulin pill will become available to millions of patients who desperately need it.
It’s ironic that the Canadian government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on opioid addiction. Yet it fails to comprehend the health benefits of an insulin pill. Has it forgotten it was Sir Frederick Banting, a Canadian, who discovered insulin at The University of Toronto and was awarded the Nobel Prize for it in 1923? Ideally, this discovery should be financed by a Canadian institution and the profits remain in this country.
So, I believe the University of Toronto or Health Canada is making a major historical and financial error in not supporting this company. Its success would result in huge royalties for the benefactor due to the worldwide epidemic of Type 2 diabetes.
I realize University officials are not without brains. But I remember once hearing that ‘if your brain is so full of knowledge there’s no room left to dream.” That may be their problem.
Unfortunately, my latest research indicates Eastgate is now seeking funds from another country. Hopefully, at some time I will have the pleasure of informing others they foolishly missed the boat. And my father can stop reminding me to never invest in a penny stock.
— W. Gifford-Jones, MD