Artificial Pancreas

This concerns appliances that measure the concentration of glucose and through special algorithms administer the proper dose of insulin to the patient, usually intravenously or/and subcutaneously. These appliances are currently used mainly for research reasons, and their perfection is anticipated. A serious technical problem derives from the fact that the electrode that measures the glucose concentration gets inactivated after some days. Significant contributions to this field have come from research efforts at the University of Ulm in Germany as well as in the USA.

For the time being, certain small-sized appliances that measure the glucose concentration continuously in the extracellular fluid are being evaluated with only relative success. A disadvantage is the lag time between any changes in the blood glucose concentration and its recording from the sensor of the appliance in the extracellular fluid. The ability of connecting this appliance with a continuous insulin infusion pump (intravenous or subcutaneous) and the automatic infusion of insulin at the proper rate (through a closed loop system) constitutes the ultimate ambition, with huge research efforts being expended chasing that dream. The future anyway is looking promising.

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