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Artificial Pancreas

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WSVN -- This is how new mom Brandis Roman spends much of her time, taking care of baby Delaney, but this is an unwelcome part of her day, Brandis has type-one diabetes.

Brandis Roman: "Everything that I do, I have to think about how it's going to impact my blood sugar."

She wears a sensor that measures her blood sugar and a pump that dispenses insulin, but it's up to her to make the right calculations.

Brandis Roman: "Especially now being a new mom, my time to think about my diabetes management is way less."

Soon Brandis may not have to think much about her diabetes at all thanks to what researchers are calling an artificial pancreas.

Dr. Boris Kovatchev: "It combines two existing devices, the insulin pump and the continuous glucose monitor, and puts essentially a brain between them."

That Brain is a computer which calculates how much insulin the patient needs. Patients wear a glucose sensor that measures their blood sugars.

The readings are sent to the computer, which then sends information directly to the pump, which delivers the insulin. The patient doesn't have to do a thing.

Dr. Boris Kovatchev: "So the algorithm has to be way smarter than the normal pancreas."

It adjusts for how much each patient eats and sleeps. In a study, those who wore it were five times less likely to have a low blood sugar episode overnight. Brandis wore the artificial pancreas in the pilot study.

Brandis Roman: "I could just hang out and read a book and watch TV and not have to think about how many carbs were in the food I was eating."

Worrying less about her diabetes and focusing more on her baby girl.

Diana Diaz: "The hope is to make the computer smaller. Maybe even the size of a cell phone nd combine all the devices into one."


Sally JonesPublic RelationsUVA Health SystemCharlottesville, VATel: (434) 924-9241

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