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Artificial pancreas improves diabetes management

A new study enhances automated insulin delivery systems, making diabetes management much less burdensome for patients

Insulin delivery using the novel algorithm closely mimics the natural physiological mechanism. (Pexels)
Insulin delivery using the novel algorithm closely mimics the natural physiological mechanism. (Pexels)

Globally, 46.3 million people are affected by type 1 diabetes and this number increases by about 3% each year. From accurate calculations of insulin needs to injections, people have a myriad of things to be careful about every day, according to the journal APL Bioengineering. Automated insulin delivery systems, called artificial pancreas, can make diabetes management much less cumbersome for patients.

The artificial pancreases come with implanted insulin sensors, pumps that deliver insulin inside the body. They also have insulin pump controllers, and are based on increasingly sophisticated control algorithms which are rapidly advancing. To improve the usage of these automated insulin delivery systems, researchers from the University of Padova, the University of Pavia, and Yale University have designed a novel algorithm to control the implanted insulin pumps considering the unique characteristics of different patients, according to AIP Publishing. This study was published in the journal APL Bioengineering.

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This model was tested using an FDA-approved diabetes computer simulation and confirms that insulin delivery within the abdominal cavity is fast and is much closer to the natural physiological mechanism.

“Not only is intraperitoneal infusion of insulin much more physiological because you are reproducing the natural physiology, but it simplifies the control problem because you don’t have delays,” author Claudio Cobelli said in a press statement. “So, this means you can have a very simple, robust controller to handle everyday situations.”

At present, the automated insulin delivery is based on a technology called continuous subcutaneous glucose sensors which requires patients to manually enter the number of carbohydrates they consume and also input their meals into the system before they eat, according to AIP Publishing. This system is slow to sense and deliver insulin and delays and the possibility of errors increase the prevalence of hyperinsulinemia, a state of high insulin in patients that causes diseases of the large blood vessels.

The new model has a validated pump control algorithm that does not require meal announcement and since it considers individual differences, it allows for greater personalization, according to AIP Publishing. 

As Cobelli explains in the statement, “Different people have different needs, so you need to personalize the algorithms.”

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