[IP] Oil Refining Helping Researchers With New Tools For Type 1 Diabetes
Oil Refining Helping Researchers With New Tools For Type 1 Diabetes: In
order to control blood sugar, engineering researchers from the Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute are merging automation techniques from oil refining in
order to create a closed-loop artificial pancreas.
The reason for this device is so that blood sugar levels can be
automatically monitored and insulin can be administered to patients
suffering from Type 1 diabetes. After six years of research and studies,
Professor B. Wayne Bequette, a member of the Department of Chemical and
Biological Engineering at Rensselaer had progressively created more highly
advanced control systems for the closed-loop artificial pancreas. Through
Professor Bequette work, he hopes to benefit 15,000 children and 15,000
adults who are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes every single year.
Bequette states: "Every single person with Type 1 diabetes has a different
response to insulin and a different response to meals. These responses also
vary with the time of day, type of meal, stress level, and exercise. A
successful automated system must be safe and reliable in spite of these
widely varying responses."
Like most people, Bequettes fight against type 1 diabetes is very personal
to him, given that his little sister developed the disease very early in
life. Unfortunately, at that time diabetes wellness was not as advanced as
it is today.
A person who had Type 1 diabetes will find themselves with little or no
insulin in their pancreas. Due to this, they will have to take insulin
injections on a daily basis. Some people who have Type 1 diabetes prefer to
use an insulin pump instead. The insulin will help to maintain the blood
sugars, for if they do not stay balanced serious life-threatening health
problems could occur through hyperglycemic, which means blood sugar is too
high and through hypoglycemic, which means blood sugar is too low.
Bequette says, "A key challenge for people living with Type 1 diabetes is
the constant monitoring of their blood sugar level. Blood glucose levels are
generally measured from a tiny blood sample captured from a finger stick
test, prior to eating or sleeping. Another critical challenge is accurately
estimating how many carbohydrates they eat. These blood sugar readings,
along with the amount of carbs eaten, must be interpreted to decide how much
insulin the individual needs to inject. Exercise and fitness also impact the
amount of insulin required. Continuous blood glucose monitors are available
on the market, but are not yet as accurate as finger sticks tests. There are
many judgment calls and best guesses being made on a daily basis by
individuals with Type 1 diabetes. And though medical technology for diabetes
is very advanced and reliable, he is working on an artificial pancreas that
would remove the need for most of this guesswork."
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