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FDA approves first artificial pancreas - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

FDA approves first artificial pancreas

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NEW YORK -

Type one diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. It can't be cured and treatment can be time-consuming but science is working to make that treatment a little bit easier.

Alicia Wesner was diagnosed with type one diabetes in 1979.

"There were no blood glucose machines. There was no way of checking your glucose levels at home other than through a urine test," said Wesner.

Technology has come a long way in since Wesner was diagnosed. Improvements in glucose meters and new types of insulin pumps help individuals manage their treatment, but even with these devices, the burden of care still resides with in the patient.

The stress and anxiety of constantly pricking your finger and calculating your glucose levels may be a thing of the past.

In September the Food and Drug Administration approved the first artificial pancreas.

It's about the size of a smartphone and users will wear it like they would an insulin pump. While the device does a lot, users will still need to do a finger prick twice a day and a daily estimation of what they're eating.

"Patients will still need to enter into the device what they're eating to some degree. The difference is, if they make an error the system will correct it," said Carol J. Levy, Mount Sinai artificial pancreas program director.

Wesner tried out similar technology while participating in medical trials. She's confident these types of systems will help a lot of people.

"By no means do i think it's a cure but if this is something that can give me a longer life until the cure is found and reduce some of the burden of this disease i am all for it," said Wesner.

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