Home Uncategorized A four-year-old is the first person to receive an artificial pancreas

A four-year-old is the first person to receive an artificial pancreas

This little boy from Perth, Australia, has become the first
person outside of clinical trials to be fitted with an artificial pancreas in order
to help him manage his blood sugar levels.

An insulin pump that acts like an artificial pancreas could help a
four-year-old Perth boy better manage his blood sugar levels and avoid
hypoglycaemia, which can cause seizures, coma or even death. 

Xavier Hames suffers from type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that stops
the body from being able to produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood
sugar levels, properly.

Usually diabetics need to continuously test and manage their blood sugar
with finger pricks and insulin injections, but Xavier may be able to control
his condition more easily thanks to his new artificial pancreas. Although it
can’t yet adjust the amount of insulin delivered, the battery-operated device
can tell when a patient’s blood sugar levels are dangerously low and shuts off
insulin production.

According to researchers from the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in
Perth, who created and installed the device, the pump can predict and prevent a
hypoglycaemic attack around 30 minutes before it happens. 

ABC News

The majority of these attacks happen during the night, which makes them
particularly dangerous.

“Most parents have to get up two or three times a night to check
glucose levels and this might make them feel a little safer at night time if
they know they’ve got this automated system that’s going to prevent low
glucose,” Tim Jones, a professor at the hospital, told
Charlotte Hamlyn for ABC News

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While the actual pump machine stay outside of the body, the insulin is
delivered via a plastic tube pushed under the skin, which can last for four
years before needing to be replaced.

The device is now commercially available for A$10,000, as
Hamlyn reports
, but the price is predicted to decrease as the technology
becomes more accessible. It can also be used by any age group.

The hospital is now working on making a more sophisticated device that
constantly monitors blood sugar and adjust the level of insulin delivered
accordingly, which could potentially eliminate the need for finger prick
testing altogether.

Over in the US, scientists are already working on asimilar device, which is controlled by a smart phone. And a team of
researchers have also created a temporary tattoo that monitors a patient’s blood sugar levels in real time.

While all of these devices are currently going through testing, it’s looking
pretty hopeful that in the next decade, diabetics will have a range of options
to help them better manage their condition.

Source: ABC News


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