It is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes remains one of the most prevalent and rapidly growing diseases in the world and is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. As Canadians, we take pride in the work of Nobel Prize researchers Banting & Best who gave the world Insulin in the 1920s. Since then insulin therapy has become the first line defense for people living with type 1 diabetes and is used by 30-40% of people living with type 2 diabetes.
Insulin has remained the primary treatment for diabetes for the last century, but there are plenty of innovations emerging in patient care for the hundreds of millions of people living with diabetes. In recognition of World Diabetes Day-November 14, here are 5 award-winning diabetes innovations to celebrate today. Some are recent recipients of the inaugural Diabetes Innovation Challenge sponsored by T1D Exchange and M2D2.
What it does: Researchers at the University of Oxford are developing a portable device, similar to breathalyzers used to detect blood alcohol level, that they believe can potentially diagnose diabetes non-invasively and monitor glucose levels.
What it means: Eliminating billions of finger pricks.
What it does: The Noctura 400 Sleep Mask is an innovative technology that can be used as a therapy for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (leading causes of blindness). The mask administers a precise low-level light through closed eyelids while you sleep to reduce oxygen demand.
What it means: Helping diabetics maintain vision.
3. Jerry the Bear by Sproutel
What is does: Jerry is a teddy bear that acts as an interactive teaching tool for children with type 1 diabetes. Children care for Jerry by feeding him foods, administering insulin, and monitoring his blood glucose levels. As children keep Jerry healthy, they unlock a modular diabetes curriculum - a series of 21 animated storybooks depicting Jerry training for the All-Star Game.
What it means: Helping children with type 1 diabetes build a foundation for healthy living.
4. Glyscend (Baltimore, MD)
What it does: Orally-administered intestinal coating which mimics the therapeutic benefits of bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes. The company began with the insight that bariatric surgery can lead to the immediate remission of the disease. It has since been engaged in the development of a non-invasive approach which will act on the same mechanism as surgery, but fit within the current care pathway. The company's technology is an orally ingestible intestinal coating which prevents stimulation of duodenal mucosa and inhibits key neurohormonal pathways in the proximal gut.
What it means: Helping to keep blood glucose levels under control and eliminate potential side effects such as weight gain and hypoglycemia.
5. Admetsys (Boston, MA)
What it does: For people at risk to develop diabetes, glucose control is at its most crucial while in hospital or surgery. An artificial pancreas for hospital and surgical care, leveraging adaptive learning algorithms and counterbalancing treatment of insulin and glucose specifically for the needs of diabetics in-hospital.
What it means: Helping to speed recovery, prevent infection and reduce complications.
While all of these amazing researchers, companies and innovators are working on ways to make living with diabetes easier, here is something we can all do.
Take two minutes to take the CANRISK test. This online test will help you understand your risk of developing diabetes and the factors that contribute to your risk.
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