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publicado em 14/06/2011 às 03h00:00
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Automation techniques help to develop artificial pancreas in the U.S.

Device monitors blood sugar levels and administer insulin to patients with chronic illness

 
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Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States, are combining automation techniques for petroleum refining and other various areas to help create an artificial pancreas to help patients with diabetes.

The device automatically monitors the levels of blood sugar and administer insulin to patients with type 1 diabetes, and aims to remove much of the guess work for those living with chronic illness.

For six years, Professor B. Wayne Bequette has been creating progressively more advanced computer systems to create a closed loop artificial pancreas.

"Every person with type 1 diabetes has a different response to insulin and a different response to meals," said Bequette. "These responses also vary with time of day, type of meal, the level of stress and exercise. A successful automated system must be secure and reliable, despite these very different answers."

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas of a person produces little or no insulin. As a result, they must inject insulin several times a day, or use an insulin pump that continuously administers small amounts of rapid-acting insulin. In addition, they must test their blood sugar several times a day. The lack of proper maintenance of insulin and blood sugar levels can have serious and potentially fatal outcomes such as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

One of the main challenges for people living with type 1 diabetes, according Bequette, is the constant monitoring of blood sugar level. Blood glucose levels are usually measured from a small blood sample captured from a finger prick test, before eating or sleeping. Another challenge, according to him, is to estimate accurately how many people eat carbohydrates. These readings of blood sugar, along with the amount of carbohydrates you eat should be interpreted to help in deciding how much insulin to inject the individual needs. Exercise and fitness also impact the amount of insulin needed. Continuous glucose monitors in the blood are available, but are not as accurate as blood testing.

How it works

In all, Bequette said, there are many guesses being made daily by individuals with type 1 diabetes. And while medical technology for diabetes to be very advanced and reliable, he is working on an artificial pancreas, which would eliminate the need for much of this guesswork.

The device combines an insulin pump with a continuous monitor of blood glucose, which work in conjunction with a controller forming a closed loop responses. A diabetic would use this device at all times with a needle inserted just under the skin to regulate their glucose levels. When the device senses that the blood sugar is high, it automatically administers insulin. Conversely, the device cuts the insulin pump to avoid hypoglycemia.

The new generation of this device includes options for users to enter their carbohydrate intake. Bequette said that this should greatly boost the accuracy and predictive ability of the device. Importantly, the device will still work if the user forgets to enter your information meal.

At the heart of this closed-loop artificial pancreas algorithms are carefully designed by the researchers. The sophisticated computer code makes predictions based on registered data, including blood glucose levels and carbohydrate intake.

These methods are able to extract data to predict blood glucose monitoring more meaningful and accurate.

Source: Isaude.net
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