Health Informatics Discussion Forum

Here's an interesting digital health paper from the New England Journal of Medicine:

Outpatient Glycemic Control with a Bionic Pancreas in Type 1 Diabetes
...As compared with an insulin pump, a wearable, automated, bihormonal, bionic pancreas improved mean glycemic levels, with less frequent hypoglycemic episodes, among both adults and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Full Abstract:

BACKGROUND

The safety and effectiveness of automated glycemic management have not been tested in multiday studies under unrestricted outpatient conditions.

METHODS

In two random-order, crossover studies with similar but distinct designs, we compared glycemic control with a wearable, bihormonal, automated, “bionic” pancreas (bionic-pancreas period) with glycemic control with an insulin pump (control period) for 5 days in 20 adults and 32 adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus. The automatically adaptive algorithm of the bionic pancreas received data from a continuous glucose monitor to control subcutaneous delivery of insulin and glucagon.

RESULTS

Among the adults, the mean plasma glucose level over the 5-day bionic-pancreas period was 138 mg per deciliter (7.7 mmol per liter), and the mean percentage of time with a low glucose level (<70 mg per deciliter [3.9 mmol per liter]) was 4.8%. After 1 day of automatic adaptation by the bionic pancreas, the mean (±SD) glucose level on continuous monitoring was lower than the mean level during the control period (133±13 vs. 159±30 mg per deciliter [7.4±0.7 vs. 8.8±1.7 mmol per liter], P<0.001) and the percentage of time with a low glucose reading was lower (4.1% vs. 7.3%, P=0.01). Among the adolescents, the mean plasma glucose level was also lower during the bionic-pancreas period than during the control period (138±18 vs. 157±27 mg per deciliter [7.7±1.0 vs. 8.7±1.5 mmol per liter], P=0.004), but the percentage of time with a low plasma glucose reading was similar during the two periods (6.1% and 7.6%, respectively; P=0.23). The mean frequency of interventions for hypoglycemia among the adolescents was lower during the bionic-pancreas period than during the control period (one per 1.6 days vs. one per 0.8 days, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

As compared with an insulin pump, a wearable, automated, bihormonal, bionic pancreas improved mean glycemic levels, with less frequent hypoglycemic episodes, among both adults and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and others; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01762059 and NCT01833988.)

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Replies

  • Chris,
    Thanks for sharing; this is incredible information! Most people aren't aware of the conditions that can cause Type 1 diabetes after birth (i.e. pancreatic endocrine insufficiency due to chronic pancreatitis, or patients who have had a complete pancreatectomy with AIT that still become diabetic).
    Since I have pancreas divisum and recurrent acute pancreatitis, it's great to hear of advancements that could really help with managing the potential problems I could develop down the road. Thanks again!
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