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Monday, May 10, 2010

How An Artificial Pancreas Works

Jeffrey Brewer is a former dot-com entrepreneur who is now on a mission to have an artificial pancreas built. He believes it would help his son, Sean, and others with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes.

Unlike Type 2 diabetes, which is brought on by diet or lifestyle, Type 1 can never be cured – only treated; it requires endless blood sugar tests and insulin injections.

(Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)

The artificial pancreas has three parts: a continuous glucose sensor/monitor (CGM), a computer (noted as the control-algorithm on the diagram) and an insulin pump.

The CGM monitors blood sugar levels, then relays that information to a computer, which calculates how much insulin a person needs using complex algorithms.  The computer then instructs an insulin pump attached to the person’s body.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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