Frequently Asked Questions About Insulin Pumps

April 1st, 2011

insulin pump
About.com type 1 diabetes guide Gary Gilles believes that insulin pump therapy has changed the way people with insulin dependent diabetes handle their condition. Gilles, a health writer and diabetes counselor, has put together a helpful list of FAQ's on insulin pump therapy, answering inquiries from the basic "What is an insulin pump?" to questions about their safety, effectiveness and how to program and troubleshoot an insulin pump.

Click >HERE< to read Gilles' insulin pump FAQ's on About.com. Gilles' article links to related posts on the pros and cons of insulin pump therapy, types of insulin pumps, and the latest research.

Artificial Pancreas Performs Well in British Trials

April 15th, 2011

model of a pancreas
Pancreas model. Photo: Suleyman Habib
There's good news coming out of Britain for type 1 diabetics. Researchers conducting tests with a closed loop system artificial pancreas were able to better stabilize blood sugar in two groups of study participants than with a conventional insulin pump and - most importantly - to keep their blood sugar from dipping overnight.

An artificial pancreas combines an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitoring system, and a high tech that provides sophisticated instructions to the insulin pump and glucose monitor depending on blood sugar readings. For example, the computer algorithm computes insulin doses according to rising or falling blood sugar levels, and sends instructions to the insulin pump to deliver the optimum dose. The goal is to have the system act as much as a normal pancreas as possible.

The researchers tested the artificial pancreas in 24 insulin dependent diabetics in two real-life scenarios - an evening meal eaten at home, and a dinner eaten out, including alcohol. Half of the diners were given the artificial pancreas system, while the other half used conventional insulin pump therapy.

To read more on this story online at WebMD, >CLICK HERE.<

High Tech Tools for Diabetes Control

May 11th, 2011

insulin pump
It's hard to believe that insulin has only been around as a diabetes treatment since 1922. A pair of Canadians, Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best, discovered how to extract insulin from animal pancreases, and then used the insulin to treat diabetes in humans. Stories are told of how they went to hospitals and, with a single insulin injection, resuscitated diabetes patients who were already in a coma.

Originally, all insulin was extracted from animals. In the 1970's, researchers started using recombinant DNA technology to produce pure analogues of human insulin. In the last century, diabetes medication and management has progressed by leaps and bounds, including the introduction of long acting insulin in 2003.

The first FDA approved insulin pump hit the market in 1983, and dibetes management technology has greatly advanced in the last couple of decades. WebMD has researched four noteworthy high tech tools for insulin control, including continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, a combination of a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, and diabetes information management software that allows the monitor and pump to operate much like an artificial pancreas.

To read the entire article on WebMD, >CLICK HERE<.

Oil Refining Expertise Being Applied to Closed Loop Artificial Pancreas

June 15th, 2011

Engineers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are building on automation techniques used in oil refining to create a closed-loop artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetics. The Institute's Professor B. Wayne Bequette, whose sister developed diabetes early in life, has been fine tuning an increasingly advanced diabetes control system for six years.

The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic produces little or no insulin, leaving them dependent on insulin injections. Blood sugar and insulin levels rise and fall normally during the day, responding to factors like meals, the type of food eaten, stress and exercise. Diabetics must monitor their blood sugar levels frequently, and adjust their insulin dose accordingly.

Bequette's artificial pancreas marries an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitoring system. The combination quickly and accurately identifies and responds to rapid variations in blood sugar and insulin levels, eliminating the need for frequent testing and guesswork.

To read more about Bequette and his fellow researcher's work on theEngineer >CLICK HERE.<

Security Flaws in Insulin Pump Technology

August 19th, 2011

A security researcher who is diabetic has identified flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely control insulin pumps and alter the readouts of blood-sugar monitors. As a result, diabetics could get too much or too little insulin, a hormone they need for proper metabolism.

Jay Radcliffe, an insulin dependent diabetic who experimented on his own equipment, shared his findings with The Associated Press before releasing them Thursday at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

The full article is published on the News Tribune.

Security Flaws in Insulin Pump Technology

August 19th, 2011

A security researcher who is diabetic has identified flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely control insulin pumps and alter the readouts of blood-sugar monitors. As a result, diabetics could get too much or too little insulin, a hormone they need for proper metabolism.

Jay Radcliffe, an insulin dependent diabetic who experimented on his own equipment, shared his findings with The Associated Press before releasing them Thursday at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas.

The full article is published on the News Tribune.

Flying Can Cause Changes in Insulin Pump Performance

August 30th, 2011

Diabeticlive.com is warning insulin dependent diabetes planning to take a plane that changes in cabin air pressure while flying may alter the functioning of insulin pumps. The research arose out of an incident involving a young diabetic traveler using an insulin pump whose blood sugar levels dropped unexpectedly one hour into a flight.

After uncovering reports of similar incidents involving insulin pumps delivering incorrect insulin doses while being used on planes, a team of researchers from John Hunter Children's Hospital in Australia decided to perform some tests.

They placed ten insulin pumps on a commercial flight. When they analyzed them later, they found the pumps delivered 1 to 1.4 extra units of insulin after take-off, and that a small amount of insulin was drawn back into the pumps when descending for a landing.

To read the entire story on diabeticlive.com, including the researchers' suggestions for diabetics with insulin pumps who plan to travel byplane, >CLICK HERE.<

Flying Can Cause Changes in Insulin Pump Performance

August 30th, 2011

Diabeticlive.com is warning insulin dependent diabetes planning to take a plane that changes in cabin air pressure while flying may alter the functioning of insulin pumps. The research arose out of an incident involving a young diabetic traveler using an insulin pump whose blood sugar levels dropped unexpectedly one hour into a flight.

After uncovering reports of similar incidents involving insulin pumps delivering incorrect insulin doses while being used on planes, a team of researchers from John Hunter Children's Hospital in Australia decided to perform some tests.

They placed ten insulin pumps on a commercial flight. When they analyzed them later, they found the pumps delivered 1 to 1.4 extra units of insulin after take-off, and that a small amount of insulin was drawn back into the pumps when descending for a landing.

To read the entire story on diabeticlive.com, including the researchers' suggestions for diabetics with insulin pumps who plan to travel byplane, >CLICK HERE.<

Should You Take a "Vacation" From Your Insulin Pump?

October 6th, 2011

insulin syringe

A veteran insulin pump user wrote a thought-provoking post for HealthCentral.com about "taking a vacation" from insulin pumping. It begins:

By Kelsey Bonilia

"One of the ideas I'd been mulling over in the weeks leading up to my endocrinologist appointment was taking a pump vacation.I'd experienced several frustrating pump site malfunctions (the cannula kept kinking during insertion) that left me with stubbornly high blood sugars for hours.It was maddening to have poor blood sugar control because of my insulin delivery system.Also, after nearly five years of insulin pumping, I just wanted the freedom of life without a little medical device tethered to me.

Upon discussion with my doctor, I made the comment "I know that the pump is best..." to which he replied, "For some people, but it's not inherently better." He knows that I eat a fairly disciplined diet and still test my blood sugar 10-12 times a day, so he agreed that switching to insulin injections would be fine for me. He prescribed Humalog and Lantus insulin pens, which I'd never used before.It was kind of exciting to open the boxes of pens and learn how to use a new device!"

Kelsey plans to update the pros and cons of switching to insulin injections after using an insulin pump for almost five years. To read this and future posts on HealthCentral.com, >Click Here.<