Medical Miracles

The latest tool in the fight against childhood diabetes - an artificial pancreas

The latest technology in mimicking the closest science has come to an artificial pancreas is available in South Africa. Type 1 Diabetes is being diagnosed in children younger and younger these days. It is an autoimmune disease where the body views the pancreas as the enemy and destroys the Beta cells found in the pancreas. The Beta cells are responsible for making insulin, the hormone that acts as the key to unlock the door and let sugar in our blood into the pancreas to be converted into energy for us to function. In a child with Type 1 Diabetes this does not happen and sugar levels build up in the blood which is life threatening.

The latest insulin pump and Continuous Glucose Monitoring system are two external devices work on the body and attached by tiny ports – enabling 24/7 monitoring of blood sugar levels, and a more efficient way of delivering the required insulin to the patient. Most significant is the very latest development – an ‘airbag’ that shuts insulin delivery off at night if levels get to high while a child is sleeping – and thereby preventing the patient from going into hypo glycemic shock, one of parents biggest fears!

Click below to hear Barbara Friedman unpack the story...


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