Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed over the last decade and recently released a smartphone app, CamAPS FX, in an effort to help people with type 1 diabetes. During the day to control his blood glucose levels by piercing his finger, and also to make insulin injections to keep them at normal levels. Insulin, which the diabetic pancreas cannot produce, is the hormone needed to absorb glucose from the blood.
To use CamAPS FX you need the cooperation of a smartphone with a screen and a glucose pump. The calculations for when the user of this system (also known as artificial pancreas) needs insulin and in what amount it needs to be administered, are done automatically.
The clinical trial of this application was performed on very young children, 1-7 years old, in whom the management of the disease presents particular difficulties since young children tend to have irregular diet and physical activity. The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the results were indeed very encouraging.
The study included 74 young children and lasted 32 weeks in total. For the first 16 weeks, all children used CamAPS FX, and for the next 16 weeks, the children's parents monitored their glucose levels and adjusted their insulin supply (control period). Comparing the performance of the two different methods, the results were amazing. Using CamAPS FX, for 71.6% of the time all day and about 9% more than during the control period, glucose was within normal levels. In addition, blood glucose levels were elevated (hence hyperglycaemia) for 22.9% of the hours of the day, 9% of the time less compared to the control period. The risk of hypoglycemia did not increase.
The quality of life of children and their families improved significantly in the first 16 weeks of the reported clinical trial. Families did not need to constantly monitor their child to check his blood sugar levels. With the exception of meals, the process was fully automated. Based on the child's habits regarding both food and his various activities, the application learned to make predictions about the amount of insulin needed in total in one day and at different times of the day, and adjusted it accordingly.
This technology is currently available in the UK and to a limited extent. As clinical studies like the one above progress, more and more patients will be able to transform their daily lives, and the risk of diabetes-related complications (such as adverse effects on children's brain development) will continue to decrease.