Less fear of hypos noted in type 1 diabetes artificial pancreas study

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 08 Nov 2016
Less fear of hypos noted in type 1 diabetes artificial pancreas study
A new study finds that use of both an artificial pancreas and sensor-augmented pump therapy led to similar positive psychological outcomes in people with type 1 diabetes.

Scientists from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam report that patients assigned to either treatment therapy had a similar decrease in fear of hypoglycemia and increase in treatment satisfaction.

Thirty-two patients with type 1 diabetes received eight weeks of evening and night closed-loop glucose control using an artificial pancreas, and then eight weeks of evening of sensor-augmented pump therapy with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Intervention periods were separated by a four-week period to minimise lasting effects from the previous treatment.

All the participants had an HbA1c of at least 7.5% (58.5 mmol/mol) prior to the study. They also filled out questionnaires on fear of hypoglycemia, diabetes treatment satisfaction and the artificial pancreas at the beginning and end of the treatment periods.

Questionnaire responses indicated a positive attitude towards the artificial pancreas, however both systems gave positive results with no significant differences observed regarding psychological outcomes.

In patient interviews, conducted after both study arms, patients highlighted that the artificial pancreas had "positive effects at work" and "improved blood glucose" but also "technological issues" and "frequent alarms".

"Participants appear to appreciate the positive effects of the artificial pancreas on glucose regulation, but technical errors and reduced usability diminish their appreciation for the system," said lead researcher Dr Jort Kropff.

"We can conclude that the artificial pancreas is ready for real-life testing, but technological issues need to be fixed and further development [must] take place before it will be fully acceptable for people with diabetes and thus can be commercialised."

"Psychosocial factors of insulin automation technology should again be studied in the next-generation artificial pancreas systems in a more diverse population to evaluate device trust and to obtain an understanding of the implications of letting the device manage the disease, as these were currently difficult to investigate."

The findings appear in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
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