Scientists have developed an artificial pancreas that delivers insulin in an automated way and may help children with Type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar level effectively and safely. The goal of the artificial pancreas is to automatically monitor and regulate blood-sugar levels, eliminating the need for people with Type 1 diabetes to check their blood sugar frequently and manually inject insulin, researchers said.
The team from University of Virginia (UVA) in the US reconfigured smartphone running advanced algorithms wirelessly linked to a blood-sugar monitor and an insulin pump worn by the patient, as well as to a remote-monitoring site.
“The data show that the artificial pancreas, which delivers insulin in an automated way to individuals with Type 1 diabetes, appears to be safe and effective for use in young children age 5-8 years,” said Mark DeBoer from UVA.
The researchers compared how well 12 children between the age of five and eight were able to control their diabetes using their usual insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor versus with an artificial pancreas adapted for use with young children with parental lockout controls.
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Children in the trial were followed for 68 hours using the artificial pancreas, and another 68 hours using their regular home-treatment regimen.
Researchers found that while using the artificial pancreas, children had lower average blood-sugar levels and spent more time within the target blood-sugar range without an increase in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
“In addition to automatically regulating the amount of insulin to be delivered, another important benefit of the artificial pancreas is to prevent hypoglycemic events that can have catastrophic consequences and is one of the most threatening situations for children with type 1 diabetes and their parents,” said Daniel R Chernavvsky from UVA.