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Medical Breakthroughs: Using a bionic pancreas to monitor glucose levels

Medical Breakthroughs: Using a bionic pancreas to monitor glucose levels
1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, May 29 2024 May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024 11:04 AM May 29, 2024 in News

There's a new way for people with Type 1 Diabetes to control their blood sugar levels and medical experts calling it a game changer.

"I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in my 30s during the pandemic," Casey Fiesler said.

Fiesler had to learn to count carbs, check her glucose levels and deal with her insulin pump multiple times a day.

"It is something that you have to think about constantly," Fiesler said.

Fiesler, like many with Type 1 Diabetes, uses a bionic pancreas, a small patch that's placed on the skin to monitor glucose levels.

It requires users to manually put in the amount of carbs they consume. A smartphone then alerts patients when levels are too high or too low.

"Right now, the devices monitor blood sugar, and they respond by delivering more or less insulin based on that one number," University of Colorado Boulder Associate Professor of Information Science Stephen Voida said.

But what if these pumps could become even smarter?

Fiesler is now part of a team at the University of Colorado Boulder working on an algorithm that won't just react, but predict more accurately how blood sugars will change.

"So, instead of just looking at 'what's your blood sugar?' and 'is it going up or down?', we're looking at 'what's your blood sugar?', 'what's your location?', 'what's on your calendar?' 'Who else is around you?'" Voida said.

Giving patients more freedom to live their lives without constantly thinking about their type one diabetes.

One issue that will need to be tackled is privacy.

Fiesler studies privacy and ethical issues surrounding digital technologies and says one concern will be what people are willing to share in exchange for a smarter device to help manage Type 1 Diabetes.

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