Medical researchers have started an outpatient trial on a medical device built by reconfiguring a smartphone that will allow patients with type 1 diabetes to more easily monitor their condition.
The smartphone-turned-into-medical-device is handheld and can continuously monitor a patient’s glucose level, reports ScienceDaily. The device automates much of the work to maintain safe blood sugar levels in diabetics, according to the researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where the device was created.
The first outpatient, Justin Wood, started his trial in April and says that “the device automates a lot of the tracking and monitoring I do now.” Before the trial started, he used an insulin pump but had to prick his finger five times a day to check his blood sugar level. The device should reduce that need to no more than two times per day. The machine is “a step forward in technology that could change my view and outlook on life,” he says.
Before the trial, Wood had to precisely estimate his food consumption, particularly with carbohydrates, to help properly adjust his insulin supply. But the device automatically read and balanced his blood sugar level. At mealtimes, he entered what he ate to help balance his blood sugar more quickly.
“The operating interface was very slick and very fast,” he says. “The extra second or two you save pressing buttons adds up when you have to do it every day.”
Outpatient testing will continue through 2013 at the University of Virginia and three other locations. Researchers plan to enroll 120 patients in the trial.
Source: “Artificial Pancreas Gets First U.S. Outpatient Test,” ScienceDaily, 5/14/12
Image by Mbbradford, used under Fair Use: Reporting.
Dale McGeehon has been a journalist and editor for more than 25 years, covering chemical regulation and testing for Pesticides and Toxic Chemical News and innovations in material sciences for the National Technology Transfer Center. His writing credits include Omni and College Park magazines and The New York Times.