Importantly, there was no difference in the incidence of hypoglycemia, or dangerously low blood sugar episodes, between the two groups, the authors found.
"This is a really important study that shows that a sensor and pump together can help people with type 1 diabetes in all age groups," Bergenstal said. "That children, adolescents and adults can improve their blood sugars without causing an increase in hypoglycemia or weight gain is a dramatic finding."
The study was published online June 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine and was to be presented at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
The findings are especially good news for children and teens whose blood sugar can be more difficult to manage due to physiological changes and behavioral issues, Bergenstal said. A lot of teens don't want to be bothered with managing their diabetes, nor are children and teens known for thinking about the long-term implications of their behaviors.
In the study, nearly 44 percent of pediatric patients using the sensor-augmented pump achieved glucose control targets, compared to only 20 percent of pediatric patients in the injection group.
While the pump/sensor combination could improve the ability of diabetics to manage their blood sugar, the key to making the technology work are the patients who use it, said Dr. Howard Wolpert, a senior physician at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Diabetics have to be willing to wear the devices, change the cannula (inserted tube) every few days, monitor what the sensor is telling them about their blood sugar and adjust their food intake and insulin levels accordingly, he said.
"These tools do take diabetes management to a higher level and can lower risk of long-term complications, but it's still just a tool," Wolpert sa
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