Artificial Pancreas Keeps Diabetic Kids Healthy

A study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) found that using an artificial pancreas, the Control-IQ system, was safe for children as young as age 6 with type 1 diabetes. The system is automatic, which makes tracking blood sugar safer, especially at night during sleep.

Children using the system do not have to stick their fingers any more.

According to project scientist Dr. Guillermo Arreaza-Rubín, director of the NIDDK Diabetes Technology Program, the device earlier was found safe and effective for those over age 14. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now approved the system for children 6 and older.

The “pancreas” tracks blood sugar with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and delivers insulin automatically with an insulin pump. Dr. Arreaza-Rubín notes that less than 1 in 5 diabetic children are able to keep their blood glucose in a healthy range with the standard glucose monitor and pump.

The U.S.-based clinical trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed 101 kids with type 1 diabetes, ages 6 to 13 years for four months. In the children who used Control-IQ, daytime in-range blood glucose control improved 7% and nighttime blood glucose control improved 26% versus children who used a standard CGM and a separate insulin pump. Children who used Control-IQ spent 2.6 hours (11%) more time with their glucose levels in range than control patients.

Low blood sugar is dangerous for people with type 1 diabetes and can lead to coma or death. Ensuring that a diabetic can properly control blood glucose can be especially difficult at night when a person is trying to sleep.

Said protocol chair Dr. R. Paul Wadwa of the University of Colorado Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Aurora:

“Parents and caregivers [can] sleep better at night knowing their kids are safer…. Artificial pancreas technology can mean fewer times children and their families have to stop everything to take care of their diabetes. Instead, kids can focus on being kids.”

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.

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