Doctors make progress toward 'artificial pancreas'

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Associated Press

Posted on June 22, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 24 at 6:39 AM

Doctors are reporting a major step toward an "artificial pancreas," a device to constantly monitor blood sugar in people with diabetes and automatically supply insulin as needed.

It's for people with Type 1 diabetes whose bodies do not make insulin, a hormone needed to turn food into energy. Many use insulin pumps but a big problem is having too much insulin in their systems when blood-sugar falls low overnight.

A study of about 250 people showed that a pump could be programmed to turn off when sugar dips too low. Doctors say the next step is testing to see if it can constantly adjust insulin levels automatically.

The work was discussed Saturday at a diabetes conference in Chicago and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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