5 innovative developments to make life easier for people with diabetes

Such is the burden of diabetes management, it can be easy to forget that we are living in a very exciting time in regard to diabetes research.

The days of diagnosing diabetes through urine tests alone are long gone, people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse their condition and life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes is increasing.

As well as increased scientific knowledge into diabetes, there is a wide range of innovative products that have been developed – or are in the process of being developed – to make life easier if you have diabetes.

Here are five of those pioneering devices.

Bionic pancreas

There’s arguably no more exciting place to start than with the bionic pancreas. Boston University’s device consists of a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM), two Tandem t:slim infusion pumps and mathematical algorithms that calculate insulin and glucagon every five minutes based on CGM readings.

By administering glucagon and insulin, the bionic pancreas could essentially manage someone’s type 1 diabetes for them. In theory, people with the condition could go about their day-to-day lives without worrying about their diabetes management.

The Boston team are hoping that following further clinical trials, the bionic pancreas could be launched in 2017.

Google smart lens

Google’s smart lens prototype is designed to measure blood glucose levels through tears. For people who finger prick to test their blood, the device represents a painless alternative.

The smart lens can “generate a reading once per second”, according to Google, who intend to equip the lens with LED lights that change colour when blood glucose become too high or low.

According to Joe Jimenez, chief executive of Novartis, who are collaborating on the lens’s design, the device will be on the market within five years. However, this could be a conservative estimate as packaging designs already exist and several pieces of technology have been patented.

Pressure-monitoring stocking

German researchers have developed a pressure-monitoring stocking that could prevent foot wounds in people with diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy occurs when nerves of the feet become damaged following prolonged exposure to high blood glucose levels, and people can lose feeling in their feet. This device uses integrated sensors to send warnings when the pressure on the foot is too high, which is what the nerves of the feet would normally do.

A patent application has been filed for the stocking, but as of yet there is no release date scheduled.

Disability dolls

Growing up with diabetes, or any medical condition can make you feel pretty isolated. To remedy this, an English toy company called Makies have launched the first ever line of dolls with disabilities.

Current 3D printed dolls include all-inclusive accessories such as a birthmark, hearing aid and cane, while Makies are working on adding dolls with insulin pumps and wheelchairs.

A line of dolls that children with diabetes and other medical conditions can relate to has been long overdue, and will likely prove an invaluable gift idea for parents across the country.

Nima

Living with celiac disease is not easy. People with type 1 diabetes are more at risk of developing celiac disease, treatment for which is a gluten-free diet.

This is why Nima is so useful. Nima is a small, portable device from 6SensorLabs that takes two minutes to detect whether food contains gluten. The device would assuage the fears of people with a low gluten tolerance that their food might make them ill afterwards.

Nima is available for pre-purchasing from October 20.

In the shop

If you liked this blog post, you might be interested in the following products:

  • Diabetes PA: The Diabetes PA app serves as a personal diabetes assistant, tracking blood glucose levels, HbA1c, food intake and cholesterol. It is also one of the only diabetes management apps where blood glucose levels can be tracked in comparison to your mood
  • Diabetes Recipe App: Provides weekly recipes which can be tailored to your diabetes-friendly diet
  • Diabetes Forum App: Allows you to find support and ask questions with over 165,000 users on the largest Diabetes Forum in the UK

Picture: www.imedicalapps.com

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About the author

Jack Woodfield

Jack is Editorial Manager of Diabetes.co.uk. He works hard, plays fair and sleeps whenever possible. He has type 1 diabetes, doesn't mind being called a "diabetic", and once won a talent show for dancing to Dario G’s 1997 hit “Sunchyme”.

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