Connecticut teen receives artificial pancreas - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Connecticut teen receives artificial pancreas

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. -

A Connecticut teenager is making medical history. She's one of the first in the country to receive a so called artificial pancreas. The new technology could change the lives of tens of thousands of people living with Type 1 diabetes.

Claire Bickel suffers from type 1 diabetes, and keeping her blood sugar in check is a constant struggle. "Especially when I'm juggling field hockey, the spring musical, track, biology -- checking my blood sugar," she said.

But now the active 14 year-old says this small device is going to simplify her life dramatically. She's one of the first patients in the country and the first pediatric patient to receive the so-called artificial pancreas since it was FDA approved last year. The system from Medtronic automatically measures her blood sugar and  delivers personalized amounts of insulin 24 hours a day with less interaction from Bickel.

Doctor Stuart Weinzimer at Yale Children's Diabetes Program says reducing the burden to patients and families is huge. "You still have to do some basic things like testing your blood sugar...dosing what you are eating. This is going to operate and do a lot of the important safety work in between meals, during exercise, and at night," he said.

Those are the times Bickel's mother, Francesca, would worry about blood sugar dropping the most.

Reporter Kenneth Craig: And what does that do for your worry level? 

Francesca Bickel: Oh, it brings it down.  I slept all night last night.

Claire Bickel is now looking forward to a future with less stress. "I think going away places, going to college... a lot of those things I want to do by myself, it's just a lot easier to do," she said.

Giving both her and her mother peace of mind, and another reason to smile.

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