Bionic Pancreas – Effective Diabetes Treatment For Youth And Adults Than Insulin Pumps

By on June 16, 2014

A study has found out that new device named bionic pancreas works more effectively for people with type 1 diabetes than monitoring blood glucose levels regularly with the help of fingerstick test, and delivering required insulin with insulin injections, or with insulin pumps.

Bionic pancreas helps in maintaining the blood glucose levels in normal range consistently, that too with few dangerous low or high levels.

This study was researched by Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

And the senior author of this study is Ed Damiano, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University and also a parent of type 1 diabetic son.

Bionic Pancreas - Effective Diabetes TreatmentThe co-author of this study is Steven Russell, M.D., Ph.D., who is an assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Type 1 Diabetes

In a person with type 1 diabetes, pancreas will produce very little or no insulin. Therefore, their blood glucose levels can sometimes raise and drop dangerously.

So, they have to regularly check their blood glucose levels with the help of fingerstick and take the required amount of insulin with injection or insulin pump.

According to the researchers of this study, by using bionic pancreas in people with type 1 diabetes, the blood glucose level process can be effectively controlled.

For the study, the researchers have tested the bihormonal bionic pancreas in two different scenarios. Bihormonal bionic pancreas uses a tiny sensor, which can be removed is located in thin needle. This needle is inserted under the skin.

The tiny sensor monitors the real time blood glucose level automatically in tissue fluid, and delivers the required amount of insulin, and its counteracting hormone, glucagon, etc with the help of automatic pumps.

In the first scenario, 20 adults with type 1 diabetes wore this bihormonal bionic pancreas for 5 days in Boston. They also carried a wireless monitor, which was a size of cell phone and they did not have any restrictions on activities.

While in the second scenario, 32 youth with type 1 diabetes wore this bihormonal bionic pancreas for 5 days at a camp for children with type 1 diabetes. Later both the groups were even monitored for five more days by wearing their regular insulin pumps.

The researchers have found that in the group of adults, nearly 37% of fewer interventions of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), and reduction of time in hypoglycemia by twofold was observed while using bionic pancreas when compared to using conventional insulin pumps.

And in youth, the researchers observed a reduction of interventions of hypoglycemia by more than twofold when compared to manual insulin pumps.

Steven Russell, the co-author has said that the average blood glucose levels can be controlled to normal range with bionic pancreas, and thus helps in reducing the diabetic complications dramatically.

Steven Russell also said that this is tremendously difficult to attain with the present existing technology. And most of the diabetic people are unable to achieve these blood glucose levels.

Ed Damiano, the senior author of this study said that bionic pancreas has performed much better than their expectations in both adults and youth that too under very challenging real-world conditions.

Ed Damiano also said that with bionic pancreas, the blood glucose levels are consistently monitored and maintained automatically. This helps in keeping the diabetic people healthy and away from the complications of diabetes. This lifts a huge burden on the type 1 diabetic people, which even includes Ed Damiano’s son.

Ed Damiano compared bionic pancreas with automatic thermostat. Just like automatic thermostat, which adjusts the room temperature on its own, the bionic pancreas also consistently monitors the blood glucose levels, and delivers the required amount of insulin, or glucagon for maintaining the levels in normal range.

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