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[IP] Insulin Pumps Effective for Diabetic Children

Insulin Pumps Effective for Diabetic Children EDMONTON, Canada (Reuters 
Health) Oct 19 - Insulin pumps are appropriate and safe to use in children, 
plus these devices effectively control glucose levels in this patient 
population. This was the finding from a small study of diabetic children who 
were given insulin therapy via insulin pump for a minimum of 6 months. The 
findings were presented here Thursday at the annual meeting of the Canadian 
Diabetes Association by Dr. Margaret L. Lawson, chief of the division of 
endocrinology at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. There has been a 
resistance by the medical community to use insulin pumps in pediatric 
populations, Dr. Lawson noted. "As endocrinologists, we're slow to catch on. 
We were afraid to try new technology in children," she said. "I heard one 
endocrinologist ask why would you use a pump when you could take five 
injections a day?" In children with diabetes, the method of insulin 
administration does make a difference, she continued. "With pump therapy you 
not only get better metabolic control," she said, "but you also get signi
ficant improvements in quality of life." The children were able to keep up 
regular activities, including sports. In 1998, Dr. Lawson's hospital began to 
offer insulin pumps as part of routine care for pediatric patients with type 
1 diabetes. Patients and their families were taught how to use the pump. To 
date, a total of 58 children, 4 to 17 years old, have used pumps, Dr. Lawson 
reported. Patients returned for follow-up 4 to 6 weeks later, then once every 
3 months. Two patients were taken off the pump because of non-compliance. 
Data were presented on 34 patients who had used the pump for a minimum of 6 
months. Before using the pump, the children had a mean HbA1c of 8.6%. After 
an average follow-up of 15 months, HbA1c dropped to a mean of 8.02%, a 
significant improvement, Dr. Lawson asserted. A total of 17 of the children 
had a 0.5% or greater decrease in HbA1c, 11 had less than a 0.5% change, and 
6 had an increase in HbA1c of 0.5% or more. The pump improved metabolic 
control, plus there were significant reductions in hypoglycemia, the Canadian 
researcher added. The device makes managing the disease easier for the 
children in that they don't have to think about it as much, Dr. Lawson said. 
The pump is about the size of a pager, is worn externally and has a catheter 
attached which can be put in subcutaneously in the stomach area, leg or 
buttocks. "A lot of the kids wear it like they would a pager," Dr. Lawson 
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