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Artificial pancreas will free patients with Type 1 diabetes from constant measuring and counting

Scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute created the artificial pancreas controlled by sophisticated computer program. The device injects insulin accordingly to blood sugar level, which is measured automatically. It frees the patients with type 1 diabetes from guessing the amount of insulin required several times a day during all their lives.

The main challenge for patients with type 1 diabetes is that they have to constantly measure glucose level in the blood samples taken from the finger. Continuous blood glucose monitors exist, but they are not as precise as finger stick tests. Besides, it is necessary to estimate quantity of carbohydrates diabetic eats. Considering these numbers the patients have to calculate how much insulin they need to inject.

However, practically it is not an easy task. As all people are different, their responses to meals and insulin are different too. Besides, they may change even the same person because of stress, physical exercise, type of food, or the time of a day. The automated system is more effective in calculating all variables influencing the metabolism of the given individual.

Artificial pancreas created at Rensselaer consists of two main blocks – insulin pump and continuous blood glucose monitor. The patient will wear it constantly with a needle inserted under the skin. The pump gets feedback from the monitor all the time. As blood sugar level increases, the device injects required insulin. As it drops, the pump turns off. The device is controlled by sophisticated algorithms, developed on the basis of techniques used in industry, such as oil refining.

In the newest version of the artificial pancreas users may input the quantity of the eaten carbohydrates. It will significantly improve the accuracy of the device. But if the patient forgets to input information about carbohydrates, the device will be functioning too. The artificial pancreas is undergoing clinical trials at the moment.

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