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Artificial pancreas found safe and effective for kids

IANS | New York |

An artificial pancreas that automates blood sugar control for people with Type-1 diabetes has been found to be safe and effective in a pilot study among young children.

The study compared how well 12 children between ages 5-8 were able to control their diabetes using their usual insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor versus with an artificial pancreas adapted for use with young children with parental lockout controls. 

Children in the trial were followed for 68 hours at a resort using the artificial pancreas, and another 68 hours using their regular home treatment regimen. 

While using the artificial pancreas, children in the study had lower average blood sugar levels and spent more time within the target blood sugar range without an increase in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, showed the findings published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

"The data show that the artificial pancreas, which delivers insulin in an automated way to individuals with Type 1 diabetes, appears to be safe and effective for use in young children aged 5-8 years," said Mark DeBoer of the University of Virginia School of Medicine in the US.

The goal of the artificial pancreas is to automatically monitor and regulate blood sugar levels, eliminating the need for people with Type-1 diabetes to stick their fingers to check their blood sugar frequently and manually inject insulin. 

Developed at the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology, the platform features a reconfigured smartphone running advanced algorithms that is wirelessly linked to a blood sugar monitor and an insulin pump worn by the patient, as well as to a remote-monitoring site.

"In addition to automatically regulating the amount of insulin to be delivered, another important benefit of the artificial pancreas is to prevent hypoglycemic events that can have catastrophic consequences and is one of the most threatening situations for children with Type-1 diabetes and their parents," Daniel Chernavvsky from the University of Virginia Center for Diabetes Technology said.