Medical researchers report a breakthrough in diabetic treatment on account of an automatic insulin pump developed by Meditronic. The pump is said to automatically deliver insulin as per the dosage pattern of the patient and can be programmed to turn off when there is low blood sugar. Researchers say this could be an important step toward the development of an artificial pancreas, which would constantly monitor blood sugar and regulate insulin levels in the patient just as a pancreas would.
The smart pump
Regular pumps need manual operation to supply the amount of insulin needed by a patient. The automatic pump, as the name says, does the work automatically and also comes with an auto shut off feature that can be programmed to turn off the insulin supply when the blood glucose levels drops below a certain level, such as when sleeping.
The pump has been tested successfully on a sample group of 247 patients for three months. All of the patients tested on had Type 1 diabetes, where the body couldn’t produce any insulin and the patients were dependent on external doses.
Benefits for the diabetic community
The diabetic community as a whole would stand to benefit a lot from the device as it is. During the night or when sleeping, blood glucose levels tend to drop off. In case there is an excess of insulin in the system, the blood sugar might drop to such a low point that patients might develop seizures or go into a coma. An auto turn off feature would prevent this from happening, and the tests conducted on the sample group report just this.
Experts say that with further research and testing, the pump can possibly be made capable of functioning as a pancreas would—to constantly adjusting insulin dosage according to the blood sugar levels of the patient, which would be of great help in improving the quality of life of diabetics.