Managing Diabetes From a Smart Phoneadmin
Living with diabetes often requires sufferers to inject themselves with insulin on a weekly, or even daily, basis. But a new device could potentially eliminate the need for needles, according to Popular Science. A study published in Science Translational Medicine details how “Chinese researchers used a smartphone app to switch on insulin-producing cells implanted in a small group of diabetic mice. Less than two hours after the cells were switched on, the animals’ blood sugar stabilized, without making them hypoglycemic,” Sarah Fecht reported.
The device uses a small hydrogel capsule, which houses LED lights and cells engineered to release insulin when exposed to infrared light, is implanted under the skin. The smartphone app is then used to determine how much light is emitted from the LEDs and for how long in order to control how much insulin the cells produce. The blood sugar of the mice in this experiment was monitored using a Bluetooth transmitter attached to a regular glucometer. The glucometer notified the app when the mouse’s blood sugar was high and automatically prompted the production of insulin.
While the device is nowhere near ready for human trial, the researchers are hopeful and plan on performing additional trials on larger animals over longer periods of time, as this preliminary study only lasted 15 days.