AI Facilitates Diabetes Management in Young Children – Health

Mobile app, glucose sensor and insulin pump are designed to safely and effectively improve the blood sugar level in the little ones and relieve the parents.

The treatment of type 1 diabetes in young children is complex and literally robs parents of sleep. Because the blood sugar does not only have to be measured several times during the day. Repeated blood sugar checks and, if necessary, insulin or carbohydrate intake are also required during the night. Small children have pronounced blood sugar fluctuations, a very low insulin requirement and unpredictable eating and exercise behavior. sinks the blood sugar too strong and sudden, it can lead to unconsciousness and seizures. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can be life-threatening.

App, glucose sensor and insulin pump

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can affect the everyday lives of young children with type 1 Diabetes facilitate and improve the blood sugar control of those affected. This is the result of the recently completed EU project “KidsAP”, in which the medical universities of Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck were also involved. As part of the study, a “closed-loop system” developed by the University of Cambridge was tested – glucose management, which includes a mobile phone app, glucose sensor and insulin pump.

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AI relieves parents

Modern technologies such as sensor-supported insulin pump therapy have already proven themselves in children, according to those responsible. However, previous systems require the support of parents, who must constantly monitor their child’s glucose levels and then manually adjust the amount of insulin delivered by the pump. The now completed study shows: In connection with artificial intelligence, an algorithm for controlling the so-called “closed-loop system”, the high burden on the parents can be reduced and glucose management significantly improved.

For the seamless adjustment of glucose and insulin requirements, the caregiver only has to administer insulin at mealtimes, at all other times the caregiver has to work algorithm by itself to reach and maintain the programmed glucose target. The amount of insulin delivered is automatically adjusted based on predicted or real-time glucose values.

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Tests also in Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna

This system was tested on a total of 74 children between the ages of 1 and 7 in seven study centers – including Cambridge, Leeds, Luxembourg, Leipzig, Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna. The participating children used the app-controlled system for 16 weeks, followed by control treatment with conventional sensor-assisted insulin pump therapy for 16 weeks.

Analysis of the data revealed that the children were an additional 125 minutes per day longer in the target area, the medics reported. In addition to this improvement, the time with elevated blood glucose levels was also reduced by nine percentage points with the help of the closed-loop system. The heads of the three Austrian study centers also reported on parents who had classified the closed-loop system as “enormous relief both during the day and at night”.

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Available but not yet covered by health insurance

The algorithm is now CE-certified and approved from the age of 1, says Sabine Hofer, head of the diabetes outpatient clinic at the Innsbruck University Clinic for Paediatrics 1 on the APA. Those interested can purchase it. “Unfortunately, the costs in Austria are not yet covered by health insurance, and negotiations are ongoing,” added Hofer. After purchasing the algorithm, patients are hired and given medical care in the three centers in Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck.

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