Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Artificial Pancreas


Today’s technology has made it a lot easier to manage my diabetes; even in the last 7 years of my diagnosis there has been a lot of growth in the diabetic world. I have been introduced to the continuous glucose monitor, insulin pumps that tell you if your numbers are dropping or rising, and even blood testing systems that connect directly to your cell phone. But, the one thing that I cannot wait for technology to perfect is the artificial pancreas.

When I think of an artificial pancreas the first image that comes to my mind is a futuristic looking organ like something you would see in the movies. Which freaked me out, one, because I would not want to have to have surgery and two, because once it’s inside your body, you would not have any control if the device were to malfunction. But of course I am completely off course as to what an artificial pancreas would be.

The artificial pancreas is basically a closed loop system consisting of an external insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that will work together to keep your blood sugars under control throughout the day without the user needing to administer insulin for corrections. The CGM would constantly ready your blood sugars and send the information via radio waves to your insulin pump which would then deliver the appropriate amount of insulin. The user would still need to manually administer insulin before meals and still adjust settings for sick days and change in activity levels. Some companies are still working on the ability to make the device shut off giving insulin altogether in moments of low blood sugars.

I have to admit the system sounds appetizing, but I wish that the term artificial pancreas would be just that, an artificial pancreas. I would rather not have to stop and calculate an insulin dosage for the meal that I am about to eat. I would rather just be able to enjoy it on the spot without planning anything out or hesitation. But then again, maybe one day the technology will be there until then a closed loop system will suffice.  

1 comment:

  1. An artificial pancreas as you wish cannot come until insulin doesn't come faster in action.
    Our pancreas is "stupid" but has a much quicker bullet: endogenous insulin kicks in in 10 minutes and out in 20 minutes. It senses bg in full blood (vena porta) and releases insulin accordingly.
    Instead today's artificial pancreas has to have a lot of predictive alghoritms cause when it spills out insulin it remains around for 3-4 hours.

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