Children with Type 1 Diabetes Benefit From Artificial Pancreas

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Saturday 6th February 2010

Following research conducted at Cambridge Hospital on 17 children; scientists believe that an artificial pancreas could help control blood glucose levels in Type 1 Diabetics. The device involves the uniting of two diabetic treatments that are already widely used and available in order to create a system that would monitor the blood glucose levels and then treat them according to the results.

Type 2 diabetes is the more common of the two and is generally onset later on in someone’s life and is controlled by drugs and lifestyle changes; but type 1 diabetes normally involves daily administrations of injections into the stomach. Devastatingly, the condition also affects many children, and figures have doubled over the past ten years. The condition occurs when the pancreas fails to produce insulin and as insulin is a hormone that would normally regulate blood sugar levels, the sufferers overall health can be severely impacted and the disease can also be life-threatening.

The study monitored the 17 children over 54 nights as their blood glucose levels were monitored and controlled by the artificial pancreas system. The artificial pancreas systems was compared to the pump that injects insulin at selected times and showed the artificial pancreas system as keeping blood glucose levels within 60% of the normal range as opposed to the 40% of the continual pump. 

Leading diabetes researcher of the charity Diabetes UK suggests that these findings offer a significant hope in the treatment and regulation of type 1 diabetes. The fact that the system could keep insulin levels regulated overnight is significant, as this is a time when rises and falls in insulin can go unnoticed. Equally, the system would also allow type 1 diabetics to lead a more “normal” life and remove the need for them to have to inject themselves daily.

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