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Artificial Pancreas Could Help Pregnant Diabetics

A wearable artificial pancreas could control type 1 diabetes during pregnancy, according to a study conducted by researchers at Cambridge University in the UK. Researchers tested the artificial pancreas with ten pregnant women with type 1 diabetes, and found that the device provided the right amount of insulin, maintained near normal blood sugar, and prevented dangerous drops in blood-sugar levels at night. The artificial pancreas, created by combining a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, works by automatically monitoring blood glucose and pumping insulin to maintain the right sugar levels. Although previous studies showed that the device could help children with type 1 diabetes, this is the first study where it has been successfully tested on pregnant women. Diabetes UK’s director of research Iain Frame said this was a fantastic example of how existing technologies can be adapted and developed to benefit as many people with diabetes as possible. “We now need to see an extension of this study, one which tests larger numbers of women, and then take it out of the hospital and into the home setting,” Frame added. Due to high glucose levels in women with diabetes, their babies are five times more likely to be stillborn, three times more likely to die in their first months of life and twice as likely to have a major deformity, the researchers noted.

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