Artificial pancreas to help diabetics prevent hypoglycaemia

Thu, 14 Apr 2011
A study has successfully shown how an artificial pancreas can help prevent hypos (hypoglycaemia) happening when glucose levels drop too low for adults that have type 1 diabetes .

The artificial pancreas works by automatically providing a closed-loop insulin delivery system to help manage diabetes, and regulating levels of blood glucose in the body. It releases insulin when there are high levels of glucose, and is also able to withhold it when glucose levels are low.

The research at the University of Cambridge, which was funded by the charity Diabetes UK, monitored how well the artificial pancreas worked for a group of men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 who used the device for at least three months. Those who maintained their blood glucose levels in a safe range exhibited a 22 per cent improvement, halving the time they spent with low blood glucose levels.

Researcher Roman Hovorka commented " Hypoglycaemia remains a major challenge, especially during the night, so it's encouraging to see such promising results from our trial using commercially available devices."

Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said "The improvements in glucose control overnight using this new technology are impressive and it is good to see this work develop with the addition of testing the effects following a meal with some wine ."
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