Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a person with Type 1 Diabetes would not have to deal with constant insulin injections, keep a diary on their glucose levels and have a complete diabetic kit with them at all times or have a drop in blood sugar levels at inconvenient places and times or worse – when they are alone? There is very promising research on the Mechanical Pancreas Project which could make this a reality.
The project, the Artificial Pancreas started in 2006 and could be ready to be marketed in just a few short years.
This amazing device would be able to automatically monitor blood sugar levels and would be equipped with an insulin pump and a computerized algorithm that would administer insulin when blood sugar drops below a normal level.
Gone would be the days that a person with Type 1 Diabetes would have to continuously stick themselves with needles to monitor their blood sugar levels and deal with episodes of hypoglycemia and disorientation when their sugar level drops too low.
Up to this point, research has been positive and the ultimate goal is to be able to create a closed, continuous system that would indicate low blood sugar and the pump within the device would calculate and automatically dispense the necessary insulin in the body. This calculation is not precise (as of this date) and is based on a persons’ glucose level; their level of activity and whether their body is fighting some sort of infection (like a cold or flu). This calculation must be precise and is the current focal point of this exciting new research.
This device is targeted mostly for when Type 1 diabetic patients are sleeping, as more often than not, blood sugar drops severely during the overnight hours. They can easily pass out if they are not aware that their sugar level has dropped dangerously low.
Please understand that no machine has been created that is perfect and when the Artificial Pancreas becomes a reality for people who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes; they will not be able to ignore the fact that they must remain educated on how to totally care for their diabetes (including knowing their blood sugar numbers and what to do in an emergency). Even to just confirm that the machine is working properly.
In short, the artificial pancreas will perform the function that the body’s original pancreas of a Type 1 diabetic person, was supposed performs properly.