(IEEE Spectrum) – Doing math or any other mental activity when you have low blood sugar is a recipe for errors. For sufferers of Type 1 diabetes, who must track and adjust their own blood sugar levels, it can mean more than inability to focus. It can be fatal. Yet a small real-world study announced Sunday at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in San Francisco offers hope that software could monitor blood sugar levels and adjust insulin levels for them, even outside of controlled settings such as hospitals.
The study’s authors conducted parallel 10-day trials with 52 participants. One trial tested adolescents at a summer camp. A parallel trial consisted of adults with only minor restriction on their activity or diet.
For five days, all of the participants wore continuous glucose monitors and a pump for insulin and glucagon, hormones which regulate blood sugar levels. The devices communicated with mobile phones, where an experimental application monitored blood sugar levels and governed the delivery of the hormones. The participants also recorded some of their meals in the application during the five-day period of the intervention. The team compared results with those from a five-day period during which the same participants managed their own care.