The Bionic Pancreas

While there are many potential permanent cures for diabetes type 1, some scientists are developing better ways of controlling the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Ed Diamano, a biomedical engineer whose son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 11 months, has created “a digital pancreas that automatically regulates sugar levels in the blood via a smartphone”. The user has a glucose monitor underneath their skin, which measures the glucose levels every 5 minutes and sends a signal to an iPhone app that calculates the amount of insulin that is required to balance the blood sugar. The app then sends a signal to insulin pumps carried by the diabetic to administer the dose via a catheter. While this system cannot cure diabetes, it can give diabetics a rest from keeping their blood glucose levels in check and can give them a glimpse of a life without diabetes.

Moreover, this system has been tested out on both adults and young people: in one study, 20 adults wore the device for five days in a hotel, while in another study thirty-two young people, aged between 12 and 20, tested the device at a camp for diabetic children for five days, and the device performed incredibly well in controlling the participants’ blood sugar levels.

Overall, I believe that this new device might be a good solution for people with type 1 diabetes while they are waiting for a permanent cure.


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