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Emerging Technology For Diabetes: A Review Of Artificial Pancreas

2298 words - 10 pages


The passage of time has led to a greater understanding of the management and treatment of Diabetes mellitus. Diabetes affects over 21 million Americans (U.S Government , 2006). Despite considerable progress in the treatments and technology for type1 diabetes including improved insulin pumps and accurate monitors, glycemic control goals often remain out of reach. The transition from simple urine sugar screening tests to sophisticated meters and reagent strips systems to monitor glucose has now emerged into a whole new perspective for diabetes treatment (S.F.CLARKE, 2012). Artificial Pancreas technology is an emerging and revolutionary development in diabetes care (Artificial ...view middle of the document...

With a technology like AP, this device would automatically monitor and dispense insulin throughout the day and night to maintain healthy blood sugar levels (Artificial Pancreas). The AP would especially be helpful overnight when 50-70% hypoglycemic emergencies occur (cooper, 2013). This technology makes managing diabetes simple, easier, and safer by lowering the risk of health complications later in life and also reducing the constant worry about blood sugar levels (Artificial Pancreas).
Current technologies: How is artificial pancreas better than the current technologies?

Currently available technologies include Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and insulin pump therapies which both have certain drawbacks. CGM’s are currently available only for individuals older than 18 years or more. Insulin pumps alter the action of insulin delivered under the skin and suffer from the drawback of appropriate timing. The current technologies for management of type1 diabetes are inadequate than the emerging artificial pancreas technology in a way that the artificial pancreas helps to diminish both short and long-term effects that all those with diabetes have to face (U.S Government , 2006).
The “Artificial pancreas” combines the two actually available proven technologies CGM and insulin pump through a control algorithm, which would allow them to work together. This technology is particularly successful during the night when there are not many major changes in either eating or physical activity that could otherwise affect glucose levels. People with diabetes who use both CGM and insulin pump are currently required to manually adjust the doses by reading the glucose levels; through the artificial pancreas the devices are allowed to talk to each other without human intervention (U.S Government , 2006). This technology is to provide relief and improve the quality of life for diabetes type1 patients including children, which is the main advantage over current technologies.
Technical Hurdles

Technical hurdles that occur during the implementation of an artificial pancreas are mainly associated with each of the three major individual components of the device. Some of the main technical challenges are; how to develop an accurate continuous subcutaneous sensor with little lag time between fluctuations in measuring glucose levels. Efficient physiological method to deliver insulin and robust controller to provide sufficient insulin to attain physiological levels of glycaemia within a safe range has also proven to be a challenge (David.C.Klonoff, 2007).
Research and Development Work

Research work is needed to help the advancement of these devices and overcome the technical hurdles that are currently faced such as time delays, glucose sensing, slow absorption and overnight control (Closing the Loop: Artificial Pancreas may be just few years away, 2009). More research and advances in the sensor technologies will help CGM to more accurately and quickly measure blood...

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