Scientists have high hopes for a new device that helps better control blood sugar in Type 1 diabetes.
Nightly episodes of falling blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, are common in patients with type 1 diabetes and can cause seizures and even sudden death. This is especially dangerous for young children and young people whose frequent hypoglycemia can be adversely affected by the work of the brain.
Hypoglycemic condition in adult patients is less common, but not less dangerous. That is why such an important control of glucose levels throughout the night when a person is not able to control the level of sugar.
For many years, scientists have unsuccessfully tried to develop a system that could in real time automatically coordinate the delivery of the right amount of insulin in accordance with changes in the level of glucose to maintain optimal blood sugar.
Technological advances have led to the emergence of devices for continuous monitoring of blood glucose levels. In parallel, there was the development and improvement of insulin pumps, which allow painless and with minimal effort on the part of the patient to subcutaneously enter the right amount of insulin.
Now, with the help of sophisticated software, researchers are trying to combine these two areas in the treatment of diabetes. In studies involving children with type 1 diabetes, the experimental device has already proved its superiority over traditional insulin pumps. With the help of a new device, blood sugar control throughout the night became more convenient and accurate, and delivery of the required amount of insulin occurred automatically.
In a new study conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge (UK), a similar effect was first demonstrated to adults. The use of an experimental computerized device helps improve carbohydrate metabolism at night. At the same time, the number of hypoglycemic episodes sharply decreases with falling sugar levels to dangerously low values.
The study involved 24 adult patients with type 1 diabetes, in which the insulin pump was established at least three months before the start of the experiment. Scientists compared the effectiveness of the experimental computer algorithm, which coordinated automatic blood glucose control in sleeping patients and the introduction of insulin through the pump.
Patients were divided into two groups of 12 people. In the first group, the subjects received a moderate diet with an early dinner. Dinner for patients from the second group was more abundant and late and included wine. Diabetes control was carried on either with the help of the so-called experimental artificial pancreas, or with the help of an insulin pump.
The meaning of the study was to explore the possibilities of a new device in real life, where adults eat differently. In both groups, the use of a computerized model helped better control the carbohydrate metabolism throughout the night.
Despite the positive results of the study, scientists have not yet received approval for the use of the new system in real conditions. Fear of experts is justified: it is a human life, and the slightest failure in the operation of the device can lead to sad consequences.
However, scientists believe that changes will come in the near future, and the new system will be widely used. Indeed, it has now been proven that the automatic system can successfully coordinate monitoring of blood sugar and administer the necessary dose of insulin, both in children and adults. And this allows you to control diabetes at night.