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Lilly Supports Research to Determine What a Dog's Nose Knows About People with Diabetes and Severe Hypoglycemia
Date:7/30/2012

e study examined the frequency and severity of hypoglycemic events as well as the emotional response in one person with severe hypoglycemia in the two weeks prior to receiving a trained dog and in the six weeks post-dog placement.[v] Data showed a clear correlation between the number of alerts the dog gave and the number of hypoglycemic states that were detected and thus prevented over the duration of the study.[vi]  Ultimately, the dog accurately detected the onset of hypoglycemia and alerted the subject so steps could be taken to restore normal blood sugar levels.[vii]

"We understand some of the biochemical changes which occur with hypoglycemia, but we do not yet have a full picture of the timing of these changes, nor do we understand what exactly the dog is sensing," said Hardin. "The scent seems to be very specific, in fact, dogs are trained to their owner's individual scent.  So if we can identify what the dogs smell, it may be possible to expose them to larger quantities of that compound for faster, more efficient training. But, what's exciting still is how that may apply to finding a practical treatment solution for people with diabetes. That's at the heart of everything we do."

Earlier this month, as a result of a Lilly supported Innovation Day for Global Statistical Sciences, ICAN and Lilly employees launched another study to examine the reproducibility of hypoglycemia recognition with a newly trained group of dogs. The goal of the study is to show reproducibility of the dogs' ability to recognize hypoglycemia from multiple samples in a laboratory setting. This is the first step to validate this mode of hypoglycemia therapy.  Studies are also planned to determine what the dogs sense and to measure the dogs' impact on patients as they are placed using Lilly's proprietary measurement questionnaire.  

Unique Approach to On the Job Training
While the need for dogs to assist people with diabetes is growing, training a
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