New device to aid type 1 diabetics


Published: Monday 30th March 2015 by The News Editor

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It looks like an MP3 player but this small device is aimed at helping diabetics avoid hypoglycemic attacks, also known as “hypos”, by copying the body’s own control system.

The MiniMed 640G mimics the pancreas’s natural ability to predict and prevent these low blood sugar episodes, manufacturer Medtronic says.

It is designed to help some of the worst affected type 1 diabetics in the UK, who are eligible for insulin pump systems to constantly regulate their blood sugar level, and will be available on the NHS.

Karen Addington, chief executive the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), said: “Type 1 diabetes is a complex and challenging condition that is on the rise in the UK. It requires intensive self-management day and night.

“People affected by the condition – including parents of small children that have it – welcome technology that can help improve blood glucose control and bring increased peace of mind.

“New technologies offer people with type 1 diabetes the chance to live a fuller life with more freedom, making it easier for them to do things like eat out, sleep in on weekends, play sports and travel abroad without having to take time out to manage the condition – which many can also be self-conscious about.”

US firm Medtronic says the device uses patented “SmartGuard” technology to stop feeding insulin into the bloodstream before a dangerous low is predicted, and then also kicks back in to avoid a rebound high sugar level.

It says that in clinical trials it prevented eight in 10 hypos, including in those who had just exercised.

Dr Pratik Choudhary, consultant in diabetes at King’s College London, said: “This new MiniMed 640g system represents another important step forward towards an artificial pancreas. It will be particularly beneficial for the 5%-10% of type 1 patients who experience frequent serious lows and/or are unable to recognise lows.”

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommends pump technology for adults and children with diabetes if they fit certain criteria.

Published: Monday 30th March 2015 by The News Editor

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