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Insulin Pump With Blood Sugar Sensor May Improve on Injections
Date:6/29/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Type 1 diabetics who used an insulin pump and a sensor that continuously monitored their blood sugar levels had better control over their illness than people taking insulin injections, a large clinical trial finds.

Researchers divided 485 people aged 7 to 70 into two groups. One group performed multiple daily insulin injections and tested their blood sugar throughout the day, the standard treatment for type 1 diabetes.

The other group was taught to use an insulin pump and a blood glucose sensor from device maker Medtronic, which helped fund the study. The pump, about the size of a pager, delivers small amounts of insulin through a tiny tube inserted under the skin. Insulin is delivered throughout the day and can be adjusted according to food intake, while the sensor reads blood sugar levels every five minutes.

Even though the sensor can relay information to the pump, the sensor does not control the amount of insulin being delivered -- that is still calibrated and adjusted by the patient, the researchers explained. The sensor also has adjustable alarms for high and low blood sugar.

After one year, the group using the pump and sensor had significantly better blood sugar readings than those using injections, the study found.

At the start of the study, A1C levels (a measure of long-term blood sugar control) were 8.3 percent for both groups.

For those on the pump, A1C levels dropped to 7.5 percent compared to 8.1 percent for those using injections.

The A1C target for adults with diabetes is under 7 percent, while for teens the target is 7.5 percent and for children aged 6 to 12, it's 8 percent, explained study author Dr. Richard Bergenstal, executive director of the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet in Minneapolis and president of the American Diabetes Association. Studies suggest those thresholds
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