Device may level type 1 diabetes playing fieldBy
Type 1 diabetes puts a bull’s eye on vital organs with the pancreas taking one of the hardest assaults. A developing new technology is a pancreas proxy. The Artificial Pancreas stands poised to be a game-changer in the treatment and management of type 1 diabetes.
The pancreas is located in the abdomen. It converts food into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas has two main functions: helping in digestion and regulating blood sugar. Diabetes attacks the pancreas and compromises its ability to do this crucial job.
Living with type 1 diabetes is a particular challenge because of the frequent blood glucose monitoring needed to make constant insulin adjustments. This type of diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood making the need for feedback and fast reactions a task for supporters at home and school.
The Artificial Pancreas, which looks much like a smart phone, connects wirelessly to the user’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump. The data from the CGM allows for an automated response from the insulin pump, lessening the burden that comes with monitoring.
Valuable tools in getting new medicines and devices approved are clinical trials and test subjects need to perfect devices and medications. Tom Brobson has been in Artificial Pancreas trial for six years and has been a public advocate for the technology and its impact on the lives of young and older people living with diabetes. (See video for Brobson’s first-hand account of his experiences with the Artificial Pancreas.
An artificial pancreas mimics the glucose-regulating function of a healthy pancreas. The device has a sensor that’s placed under the skin so it can measure blood sugar. Information from this continuous glucose monitor is sent to a receiver and an insulin pump delivers insulin in controlled amounts. A glucose meter calibrates the sensor. Sophisticated software checks the blood sugar in the body and automatically provides the correct dose of insulin needed at the right time.
The Artificial Pancreas promises to make life “a little closer to normal” for people living with type 1 diabetes and it will lessen the risks associated with missed monitoring times and mistakes made in insulin dosing.
For more the Artificial Pancreas Project: