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Device helps pregnant diabetics

01-31-2011 11:55 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Research has shown that an artificial pancreas could prevent the potentially fatal complications that can affect diabetic mothers-to-be, according to BBC reports.

Regulating sugar levels of diabetic pregnant women is difficult with their hormonal changes, which can have damaging consequences.

Dr Helen Murphy, from Cambridge University, told the BBC: "Half of all babies born to mothers with Type 1 diabetes are overweight or obese at birth because of too much sugar in the blood".

The artificial pancreas, a mobile phone-sized device worn on the hip, consists of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump. The device automatically monitors blood glucose and pumps insulin into the circulation to maintain correct sugar levels.

Researchers at the Medical Research Laboratories in Cambridge fitted artificial pancreases to 10 women with the disease.

A sensor continually monitored sugar levels, which fed the information to a computer, which then told an insulin pump how much of the hormone to inject.

The early study showed that normal sugar levels could be maintained.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: "Although early days, this exciting area of research, funded by our donors, has huge potential to make pregnancy much safer for women with Type 1 diabetes, and their babies.

"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."

The researchers say they have proved the concept works and hope to begin trials in the home later this year.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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