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There's a major breakthrough on the horizon for juvenile diabetics. It's an artificial pancreas and though it's not widely available yet, it's showing great hope for someone many call the Bionic Man.
For Tom Brobson, food becomes the challenge. "This is beef wellington. That's dough. That's flour, lots of carbohydrates."
However, when the Type 1 diabetic is hooked up to this, an artificial pancreas, IT does the work. "When I'm on this, I could nibble things and the system would work to keep me in the right range." The Virginia man, who many are now calling the Bionic man, is one of a handful of type 1 diabetics involved in a clinical trial at the University of Virginia--- testing the viability of an artificial pancreas.
Dr. William Clark says, "I think the artificial pancreas is going to be a major breakthrough for the management of type 1 diabetes."
Unlike other artificial body parts, this one comes in 3 external parts. "In this case it's all exisiting technologies worn outside the body being brought together for the first time with a pocket computer to run them."
It's an insulin pump, a continuous glucose sensor which reads blood sugar levels & a smartphone programmed to run it all.
Brobson adds: "It's the brains. It takes the data feed from the sensor and gives instructions to the pump. Right now it's gone to red light if this was green it would mean everything is fine. But it's gone to red saying you've gone too low." During the clinical trial, Brobson has even worn the artificial pancreas home for several days.
Brobson says, "It gave me extra insulin to prevent me from going too high then when it had me where it wanted me. It pulled back on the insulin and it kept me right where I was supposed to be. I had perfect overnight control."
A welcome break from the hour by hour balancing act type 1 patients have to endure. "When this system takes over I don't have to do that and it's a pretty awesome vacation." Researchers say it could be 3 to 5 years before this is available to patients. It holds great promise for parents of children, who could sign on to the system to check on their child's health. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is funding the research. Fox 17 is a media partner with the JDRF at events throughout the year, so we wanted to let you know where your research dollars are going.
Tuesday, January 15 2013, 10:39 PM CST
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