Artifical Pancreas for Type 1 Diabetics Approved by FDA
September 30, 2013 12:08 PM
comment(s) - last by
It will roll out in the next few weeks
Type 1 diabetics
could benefit from a new "artificial pancreas" device now that it has received proper approval for the U.S. market.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved an artificial pancreas device for the very first time, allowing it to hit the market in the next few weeks.
The device -- called the MiniMed 530G -- is by
, and it consists of two parts: a continuous glucose monitoring system, and an insulin pump that administers the appropriate amount of synthetic insulin.
The glucose monitoring system lets the patient know exactly what their blood sugar is, and the wearer then uses the pump to input the correct amount of insulin for high blood sugar levels.
If the patient has low blood sugar, the pump will alert the patient and shut off insulin supply for two hours. If blood sugar drops too low, patients can experience a diabetic coma.
The pump looks like a pager, which attaches to the patient's pants and is connected to a sensor that slips right underneath the patient's skin. The glucose monitoring system looks like a small patch with a plastic clip, which is placed on the patient's stomach.
The MiniMed 530G aims to improve the quality of life of diabetics, allowing for greater blood glucose control. It's
by no means a cure
, but it can help keep blood sugar levels from rising and falling too rapidly, which can cause complications like nerve damage, blindness, kidney problems, etc. further down the line.
While the device could be a helpful tool, know that its false alarm rate is 33 percent -- so it could still use some improvement.
With the FDA's approval, Medtronics plans to release the MiniMed 530G in the next few weeks.
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This isn't an artificial pancreas
9/30/2013 2:28:22 PM
Am sure to anyone outside of the target demographic, it's a minor point, but calling this an artificial pancreas is like calling RAM a solid-state drive.
It's an important development. It will improve quality of life, and probably decrease deaths and comas stemming from low glucose. But it still requires the patient to change the insertion point every few days, monitor blood sugar conventionally every few hours, manually manage diet, guesstimate carbohydrates and the rate at which they're digested, and manually correct any high blood sugars. There is tons and tons of technology separating an artificial pancreas, which does /some/ of what's listed here, and an infusion pump with a low-glucose suspend function, which is what this is.
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