Researchers at Penn State University have figured out a mathematical method of predicting glucose levels of type 1 diabetes patients with 90% accuracy ahead of time. In fact, the math model can tell about the fluctuations in glucose levels half an hour in advance.
"Many people with type 1 diabetes use continuous glucose monitors, which examine the fluid underneath the skin," said Peter Molenaar, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and of psychology. "But the glucose levels under the skin trail blood glucose levels from anywhere between 8 and 15 minutes. This is especially problematic during sleep. Patients may become hypoglycemic well before the glucose monitor alarm tells them they are hypoglycemic, and that could lead to death."
This is favorable to the creation of an artificial pancreas which is already under construction. The past glucose monitors and pumps that had been constructed didn’t work with such remarkable efficiency due to several reasons. The emotional state of the person, the nature of the meal he ate, any exercise he had undertaken and insulin release all played a role in the blood glucose ratio. All these factors could not be taken into account all at once. But now with this model which is a tool of prediction par excellence the impossible has become possible.
By tracking the previously mentioned factors, the model will allow the accurate prediction of blood glucose levels so that any adjustments and palliative measures may be taken. Especially when the patients go to sleep the chances of hypoglycemia increase manifold thereby making the threat of death loom on the horizon.
"We learned that the dynamic dependencies of blood glucose on insulin dose and meal intake vary substantially in time within each patient and between patients," said Qian Wang, professor of mechanical engineering. "The high prediction fidelity of our model over 30-minute intervals allows for the execution of optimal control of fast-acting insulin dose in real time because the initiation of insulin action has a delay of less than 30 minutes. Our approach outperforms standard approaches because all our model parameters are estimated in real time. Our model's configuration of recursive estimator and optimal controller will constitute an effective artificial pancreas."
The mathematical model was tested on more than a dozen artificial patients and five real life sufferers of type 1 diabetes. The results were impressive and proved once and for all that the creation of an artificial pancreas was an idea that could be translated into reality. It did not lie in the realm of fantasy.
A blood glucose monitor could be paired up with an insulin pump and an algorithm calculator that regulated the doses of insulin in synch with the state of the blood sugar. This sort of closed loop system was ideal for those who were facing the scourge of type 1 diabetes. Although the whole thing is in its preliminary stages it could progress to the point where an artificial organ such as a pancreas is added to the already growing list of visceral prosthetics.