Category Archives: diabetes technology

Tides of Change

 Artificial Pancreas approved by FDA”  Sounds great doesn’t it? Its sadly right up there with “Scientists find way to cure diabetes”…in mice.  Well, its not quite that bad but it is media hype that does not quite match the reality of the innovation.
The Medtronic Veo insulin pump has been available in Canada for quite some time.  For a change, we were able to avail of a new technology before the US market. In this case, it means availing of a technology that shuts down your insulin pump if your CGM tells the pump that you are low and dropping. This is a pretty great feature but does not for many equate to a true “artificial pancreas”.
A number of people in the diabetes community feel that a true artificial pancreas is more in keeping with Dr. Ed Damiano’s Bionic Pancreas project rather than these smarter pumps. His pro-type has been used on adults and children with Type 1 diabetes in real world settings. A bulky model at that moment, but it has given people with Type 1 diabetes a freedom that they have not experienced since prior to their diagnosis.
Dr. Damiano’s approach combines the use of insulin, glucagon, a CGM, a smart insulin pump, and finally an iPhone.  With all of this, he is able to create a pancreas for people like his son who live with Type 1.  Those who have listened to his presentation (like myself) walk away amazed and inspired. Those who have used the system talk of an experience like nothing that they have ever imagined before.  They were able to enjoy meals without carb counting. They had nights without testing.  They experienced relatively stable bg levels. It is truly amazing.
This research is not funded by an insulin pump company. This researched is fueled by a father’s desire to keep his son safe.  David Damiano was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 11 months. This amazing project has given my own son hope where he didn’t have a lot before.
There are many great changes in the wind for people living with diabetes. Whether we are looking at a bionic pancreas, an artificial pancreas, or simply the improved accuracy of Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems.  Diabetes care has moved forward a lot since our journey began over 13 years ago. I am excited to see it move forward much further in the next 13! The next challenge will be to ensure that people living with diabetes will have the ability to access these improved technologies.
paradigm_veo

The Lost Test Strips

It was recently that time of year again…time to clean out our diabetes supplies.  What once was able to fit in a drawer was now taking up a drawer, a roll-out tote, and underneath of my youngest son’s bed.  This had to stop.  I had no clue that he had supplies hidden in all of these places and was no longer sure as to what supplies we had and what we needed.

We found boxes of Cozmo reservoirs, a few different types of infusion sets, his very first meter, a Polar bear meter holder, way too many lancing devices and enough lancets to keep him going until he is 100.  We also found test strips that were about to expire.  There was no way I was going to waste these strips.  This was $100 and many people can’t even afford to buy them.  The strips would be used at home until such time as they were gone.

My son was fine with that. Like his mother, he loves trying out new meters.  This meter was far from new but since he hadn’t used it in a few years, it was new to him again. The novelty quickly wore off.

“Mom, this meter takes FOREVER to read!”

“How long is forever?”

“15 seconds! Can you believe that? This is crazy!”

I started to laugh! My son was far to used to the immediate gratification found after a five second countdown.  He did not remember the days of his first meter.  Thirty seconds seemed like an eternity and yet I remember back then knowing how lucky we were, the previous generation of meters had taken 60 seconds to show results. 

Despite the “long” wait, he continued to use the old strips.  A few lows and bad sites meant that it did not take more than a few weekends for the 100 test strips to be used up.  I must admit that I had been spoiled too. A few nights of having to wait for those extra 10 seconds did seem like forever.  Nonetheless, it still was not as long as waiting 30 seconds and wondering if your toddler was asleep because he was tired or passed out from a low. 

I love technology!