New Insulin Pump Thinks for Itself

New Insulin Pump Thinks for Itself

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Ed Yeates ReportingA Salt Lake man with diabetes has become one of the country's first patients to try out a new generation insulin pump that sort of "thinks" for itself.

Jeremy Ainsworth has had diabetes since age eight. Now as an active 21-year old college student he prefers using insulin pumps instead of insulin shots. But unlike traditional models, this new generation device, about the size of a pager, does more than just pump insulin.

Jeremy Ainsworth: "Once you test and it gets your reading, it says okay, here you go."

After Jeremy checks his blood sugar with a tester, the new generation pump picks up a wireless electronic signal and automatically calculates through its own computer exactly how much insulin is needed; and then, with the user's approval, delivers it through a patch into his arm. Once programmed, the pump remembers Jeremy's own glucose levels, his sensitivity to insulin, and his insulin to carbohydrate ratios.

Dana Clarke, M.D., Endocrinologist, Utah Diabetes Center: "In the case where the blood glucose level is elevated, even aside from meal time, the pump will also suggest to the user a supplemental amount of insulin."

If Jeremy goes skiing, sledding, or motor cross racing, or eats a high carbohydrate food, the pump calculates and compensates accordingly. Once every three days, he fills the pump's reservoir with insulin.

This is a significant advance, but Jeremy's looking forward even more to this pump's big brother - now in clinical trials - which can be implanted under the skin and monitor blood sugar levels internally and automatically 288 times a day.

JEREMY: "It's nicknamed the artificial pancreas, so that's something I'm really excited about. And that hopefully is going to be within the next two years."

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