To reduce the cases of stillbirth, major deformity and death among expectant
mothers with type 1 diabetes, British scientists have developed 'closed-loop
insulin delivery system' or 'artificial pancreas'. This experimental artificial
pancreas has been created by combining a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), with
an insulin pump.
Patients with type 1 diabetes are unable to properly break down sugar and if
it is left untreated, the blood vessels and nerves are destroyed and organs can
fail leading to patient's death. Pregnancy for women with diabetes is risky.
Previous studies have claimed that the glucose levels in such women are outside
the recommended levels for an average of 10 hours per day. High blood glucose
levels increases the risk of birth defects, stillbirth, neonatal death, preterm
delivery, oversized babies and other complications.
Scientists used this in 10 pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes and found
that it provided the appropriate amount of insulin at the right time, helped
maintain blood sugar levels at near normal levels and prevented hypoglycemia at
night. Helen Murphy, lead of the study at Cambridge University said, "To discover
an artificial pancreas can help maintain near-normal glucose level in pregnant
women is very promising." Researchers have said that though the study is in its
initial stages, the results are quite encouraging.