A Bionic Pancreas?

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insulin-pump

Imagine a world where man and machine become one — the possibilities would be endless. For example, diseases could be treated by replacing the defective tissue or organ with a machine that carries out the function flawlessly. A small parenthesis: this narrative actually reminds me of Bicentennial Man, a movie starring the late Robin Williams; check it out when you have the time.

Well, with the quick development of technology in this digital era, the bonding of man and machine may soon be a reality; infact, we could say it’s in its early stages. Proof of this is the recent approval MiniMed 670G by the FDA. The MiniMed 670G is an apparatus that automatically monitors and injects insulin, which is incredibly helpful for type 1 diabetes patients.

The MiniMed 670G continuously monitors blood glucose up to seven days. This continuous monitoring allows the system to regulate the insulin delivery, either by reducing of completely stopping when it detects the glucose level is too low.

A small wire runs from the machine into the body, just below the skin. The wire measures the blood glucose and sends the signal back to the MiniMed. Then the insulin pump releases the prescribed dosage of insulin

The system should not be used  in people who require less than 8 units per day, in children under 7 years of age, people who would have trouble hearing or seeing the pump’s alarms and readings, people unable to perform more than four tests per day, or people who cannot maintain contact with their healthcare professional.

Sources

FDA. The 670G System – P160017. Accessed May 26, 2017.


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Juan has worked in various fields of biology. His research history spans from studying DNA damage by pesticides, to the study of proteins to break down vegetable waste to potentially use it as an energy source. He likes camping, Mexican food, photography, and cats.