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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Diabetes Channel
Reported March 1, 2013

Artificial Pancreas at Sleep-Away Camp

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new, innovative treatment for people with type 1 diabetes is an artificial pancreas which provides improved control over blood glucose levels, even at night when levels can drop very low. The benefits of the artificial pancreas had only been seen inside a hospital setting, so a recent study set out to prove that the treatment works just as well outside the office by testing it at an overnight camp for diabetics.

At the camp, 56 type 1 diabetics were randomly assigned to use the artificial pancreas overnight and then a sensor-augmented insulin pump the next night, or vice a versa. The participants’ blood glucose levels were monitored both nights to determine both treatments’ efficacy.

The artificial pancreas was able to better control the participants’ blood glucose level and had fewer episodes of nighttime glucose levels below 63 mg per deciliter than the insulin pump. With improved glucose control overnight, the artificial pancreas also reduced nocturnal hypoglycemia, when blood glucose reaches very low levels while the person is sleeping.

Participants also did not experience any negative side effects from using the artificial pancreas suggesting that it is safe as well as effective.

The success of the artificial pancreas even outside of the hospital may lead to more widespread use of the device, giving type 1 diabetics another choice when deciding treatment. 

SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, February 2013

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