artificial pancreas, HCL system, kids, adolescents, diabetes, type 1 diabetes

Artificial Pancreas Approved for Use in Kids, Improves Distress

You may have heard about the artificial pancreas, a system that helps people with type 1 manage their blood sugar levels and administer insulin. After being approved for use in adults in 2016, the Medtronic MiniMed 670G was approved for use in children as young as 7 in 2018.

New study shows artificial pancreas reduces distress

A new study shows that use of an artificial pancreas reduced the psychosocial problems related to type 1 in kids. Attitudes toward diabetes technology became more positive as well.

The trial was done using the MiniMed 670G system. The study found that adolescents and kids with type 1 had fewer diabetes distress symptoms using this artificial pancreas system. Distress symptoms include:

  • Distress related to diabetes management
  • Fear of hypoglycemia
  • Technology attitudes

All these except fear of hypoglycemia improved during the trial. The fear of hypoglycemia did not change. Limitations of the study include the lack of a control group and a small sample size.


How the artificial pancreas works

Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas fails to produce the appropriate amount of insulin, a hormone needed to convert food into energy. An artificial pancreas works by constantly monitoring blood sugar with a continuous glucose monitor alongside an insulin pump that processes data to deliver the perfect amount of insulin.

It works in a closed-loop system, meaning the devices communicate with one another and there is little need for human intervention. Those with type 1 diabetes may be accustomed to pin pricks and needle sticks for insulin injections, but this technology helps patients avoid this painful step to stabilizing blood sugar.