Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Who are They and Where Can I Send the Thank You Note?

This is a wordy post, and if you are not slightly invested in a cure for type 1 diabetes this will be b.o.r.i.n.g. for you and you have my permission to skim.... not skip. Also, my fonts are weird today... forgive and forget.

I read an article today titled: "Analysis: Scientists Getting Closer to Artificial Pancreas"

This is something I was already aware of, but I always heard rumor of these goings on happening in Europe or Australia or some other far off, inaccessible place. However, this time the goings on are going on here in the USA.... happy Independence Day to self.

To quote a few lines from this....reuters.com article:

Researchers are coming closer to developing an "artificial pancreas," a long-sought system of insulin pumps and glucose sensors that deliver insulin to diabetics, mimicking the function of a real pancreas.

Just to give some of you a background..... type 1 diabetics do not have a fully functioning pancreas. In a well oiled machine the pancreas processes the carbohydrates.... makes insulin to break down and process the sugar.... and then the body has energy. Now, back to the article:
In one study.....

The system, which is designed to better mimic the body's natural mechanism of controlling both high and low blood sugar, was portable enough to allow adults with type 1 diabetes to roam around a hospital and use an exercise bike.

At the end of the 51-hour study, which involved daily exercise, two nights and six meals -- all of which affect a diabetics blood sugar levels -- six patients had an average blood glucose in the normal range -- in the high 140s, which is about the equivalent of an A1c reading of about 7. (in regular-people-speak that A1c is an A+)

In another study they are more focused on "closing the loop"....

In another study, a team at Mayo Clinic hooked patients up with devices called accelerometers that tracked movements and found that even moderate exercise plays a role in glucose. The team, led by Yogish Kudva, will incorporate this data into a sophisticated software program that acts as the "brain" of an artificial pancreas system, analyzing blood sugar and calculating when diabetics need a dose of insulin.

So-called closed-loop systems -- in which a computer calculates a person's insulin dose and delivers insulin automatically through an insulin pump -- are a far cry from the earliest version of an artificial pancreas developed in the late 1970s, says Dr. Aaron Kowalski of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF.

There is much more to the article, if you are interested in reading it. Mostly I just wanted to pass this on to the people that are supporting this cause both in prayer and pocket book. We are getting closer but are still so far away. Keep praying for these people that are spending their days, nights, and meal times thinking of ways to make this mess disappear!

The strangest part about all of this, is that I look at the pictures of the scientists and doctors working toward a cure and I realize.... they don't even know us! We don't even know them! And yet, they continue to work and work and think and think and try to fix it for all the unknowns.... like Bug.

If you are "they".... thank you. If I were with you, I would squeeze your neck, bake you cookies, and tell you how much we need you and believe in what you are doing....and then send you right back to the work place.

Keep up the good, hard, sometimes impossible work. At our house, you are loved.

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