How An Artificial Pancreas Works

Jeffrey Brewer is a former dot-com entrepreneur who is now on a mission to have an artificial pancreas built. He believes it would help his son, Sean, and others with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes.

Unlike Type 2 diabetes, which is brought on by diet or lifestyle, Type 1 can never be cured - only treated; it requires endless blood sugar tests and insulin injections.

(Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)
(Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)

The artificial pancreas has three parts: a continuous glucose sensor/monitor (CGM), a computer (noted as the control-algorithm on the diagram) and an insulin pump.

The CGM monitors blood sugar levels, then relays that information to a computer, which calculates how much insulin a person needs using complex algorithms.  The computer then instructs an insulin pump attached to the person's body.

This program aired on May 10, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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