Monitor diabetes on your phone

February 4, 2019

Diabetic patients constantly need to check their blood sugar levels throughout the day. The levels can increase or decrease depending on various factors such as meal consumption or exercise. An insulin pump is usually used to deliver regulatory hormones and adjusted accordingly.

A new phone app has been introduced to ease blood sugar monitoring. Collectively known as an artificial pancreas system, the app is paired with a glucose sensor and an insulin pump.  It was tested under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on six adults with type-1 diabetes over 48 hours. The patients took long walks and consumed significant amounts of carbohydrates including ice-cream. Researchers noticed improved time in the target glucose range of 70-180 mg/dL of the patients and lesser instances of low blood sugar. None of the six experienced high blood sugar during this time.

Dr Jason Ng, an endocrinologist at the University of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, has explained that in type-1 diabetes, patients are given insulin because the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar. Finding a good combination of pumps and sensors has been difficult. Ng was not involved in the study, but has said that it was inconclusive because the study group was too small.

Senior author Eyal Dassau of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has likened the development to “smart” enabling technology as part of wearable devices that can be used discreetly. However, similar workarounds by hackers have not been tested or approved by the FDA.

Larger studies will ensure safety and effectiveness of the new artificial pancreas app. It’s even better when used on the patient’s own cell phone, according to Dr. Samuel Sultan, abdominal transplant surgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Diabetic patients will then need fewer transplants and medication, ultimately having better care and quality of life.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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