Artificial Pancrease Improves Glucose Control in Young Children (published with misspelled word)
What to Know
Tight glucose control is critical to prevent diabetes complications, but delivering the precise amount of insulin you need—via syringe or pump—can be tough. That’s why researchers worldwide hope to develop an artificial pancreas that can automatically deliver the right dose of insulin based on blood glucose readings. Children may benefit the most from this technology, because their erratic eating and exercise habits increase the challenge of keeping their diabetes in check. This study investigated how effective an experimental artificial pancreas would be for kids.
Researchers recruited 10 children under 7 who had had type 1 diabetes for 6 months or longer and who used an insulin pump. They each spent 48 hours in the hospital. On one day they used their insulin pump as usual while researchers monitored their blood glucose levels. On the other day, the artificial pancreas handled insulin delivery duties. Its algorithm determined the insulin dose based on readings from a continuous glucose monitor.
The artificial pancreas did a better job than the insulin pump at keeping the children’s blood glucose levels under control. It did not cause it to drop down low enough to trigger hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels).
This new technology may help children better control their diabetes. However, the study was small and conducted in a hospital, so it’s not certain how well an artificial pancreas will work with children in a real world setting.
Experimental artificial pancreas beats conventional insulin pump at keeping blood glucose under control overnight in young children with type 1 diabetes, by Andrew Dauber and colleagues. Diabetes Care 2013, 36:222–227 https://doi.org/10.2337/dc12-1079