a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!

Smart idea, terrible mentality. I'll try and sum up diabetes as best as possible.. There are two types of diabetes (at least that we care about here); type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is a condition where your pancreas does not produce insulin. Type 2 is an acquired condition where your body has stopped responding to the effects of insulin. This is generally due to continuous levels of extremely high circulating insulin. Insulin is generally created in response to high levels of glucose in the blood, hence why people with poor diets/the obese often develop this condition. 95% of diabetes patients are type 2. He never specifically states it, but it sounds like he has type 1. If he in fact has type 2, this is all kinds of stupid.

Now the potential short-term complications could be easily managed. If the device gives too much insulin that could become quickly deadly-blood sugar drops drastically, causing the brain to not receive enough glucose and kill the patient. Too low of insulin and blood sugar will increase to harmful levels. High blood sugar, while harmful, takes an extremely long amount of time to deal any significant damage. I don't predict either of these problems happening because A. He's using a manufactured insulin pump which release extremely small amounts of insulin over an extended period and tend to be fairly dependable and B. He has CGM (Continuous glucose monitor). CGM's provide instant feedback to blood glucose levels, basically ensuring he would be able to correct the issue before it became a problem.

Basically all this guy did was connect an insulin pump to a glucose monitor and then create an algorithm that changes insulin based off his sugar readings. Oh and he made it bluetooth compatible. Cool.

So the main problem here is insulin resistance and the proper treatment of diabetes. See, the more insulin you give, the more resistant the body will become resistant. His device alters the levels of artificial insulin every 24 hours. He sees this as an easy way to keep his blood sugar consistently low. He's right, it will do that. It is a remarkably good way to maintain his A1C levels (long term sugar marker). However, it will also slowly but surely increase his insulin intake. Insulin resistance is a common problem, most diabetic patients gradually increase their insulin uptake over time. Several problems arise with increased insulin uptake, the main one being increased fat development. This is so common because people see insulin as the cure and not the band-aid that it is. The real cure to type 2 (and management of type 1) is LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT. General health practices such as exercise, proper diet, and quality sleep can drastically alter your BGL fluctuation. He briefly touches on a low-carbohydrate diet as quackery, which I would almost take as an offense considering how beneficial a ketogenic diet can be for diabetics. That's a whole other topic, this is already going on long enough.

The point I'm trying to make is that he seems to think that this fancy "artificial pancreas" will be the save-all for his diabetes when really he should be using it as a secondary device to lifestyle improvement. He comes so painfully close to self awareness... He states

    the problem is not because you're failing to remember to give insulin - but the type of food you eat creates these volatile swings
... with a first sentence of
    Given the choice between a) changing my lifestyle to be boring and b) hacking my metabolism, I chose the easier option

If you can't tell this is an extremely frustrating subject for me. I've seen countless patients who will try every damn medication under the sun to manage their diabetes BUT WON'T FUCKING EAT HEALTHY FOOD. The answer to diabetes is not a fancy device, it's your goddamn diet.