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ADA: Artificial Pancreas Advances Highlighted

Studies show technology's real-life benefits in type 1 diabetes; identify barriers to adoption

MONDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- In individuals with type 1 diabetes, artificial pancreas technology may significantly improve overnight blood sugar control without increasing the risk for hypoglycemia, though certain psychosocial barriers may prevent successful use of a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, an important artificial pancreas component, according to speakers at a joint American Diabetes Association -- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) symposium held June 27 at the American Diabetes Association's 70th Scientific Sessions, held from June 25 to 29 in Orlando, Fla.

Roman Hovorka, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories in the United Kingdom -- who had previously conducted studies of a closed loop artificial pancreas system -- presented the results of a new study showing that adult patients who used the technology and consumed a large meal and a glass of white wine before bedtime maintained their blood sugar levels within the target range for 70 percent of the time, while those who did not use the technology only maintained their blood sugar levels within the target range for 47 percent of the time. In addition, time spent in hypoglycemia tended to be decreased.

Marilyn Ritholz, Ph.D., of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, presented results of a study aimed at identifying the psychosocial barriers that prevent successful use of a CGM system, which is a major component of an artificial pancreas system. She and her colleagues found that the factors associated with successful use of the technology included use of problem-solving skills to cope with frustration and anger, appreciation of CGM as a way to better understand glucose patterns, and good support from a spouse or significant other.

"I think artificial pancreas systems are going to turn out to be among the most promising short-term clinical benefits of diabetes research," Richard Insel, M.D., executive vice president of research at JDRF, said in a statement. "The benefits are countless."

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