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The Bionic Pancreas Study: Looking Back (and Forward!)

Bionic June 2013-0996

It has been almost a year since we were involved in the Beacon Hill Study for the bionic pancreas. Overall, both Anna and I had a very positive experience with the system that gave insulin when our blood glucose went up and glucagon when it was going down. What a mental five-day relief from the hundreds of conscious and subconscious diabetes decisions we make every day!

In the video below, Anna and I touch upon some of the challenges we experienced during the trial. Anna discusses her experience having an infusion set failure during the trial that resulted in high blood glucose readings with ketones. She also talks about what was going through her head while nurses helped resolve the issue. How did that incident impact her overall experience and projected A1c?

I talk about the side effects I felt when I received large doses of glucagon. I’ve talked to several other participants in the Beacon Hill Study, and no one else seemed to have the same reaction I did. I thought it would be important to share with you how I was feeling, what was happening, and why my blood glucose dipped into the 40s.

We had medical supervision by nurses 24/7, and the study protocol had several safety measures in place if there was a need to intervene. We received constant attention by the medical team, and we were always safe and cared for. This device does not cure diabetes. Just like any of us who use an insulin pump, meter, or CGM, technology is not perfect and this system lends itself to the same sort of potential issues.

Here you’ll find a detailed account of our experience, and we’ve included some graphs from the study. And if you’re relatively new to Glu and haven’t had a chance to catch up, you can read about the study as it was happening and during the closed loop portion of the trial (Anna’s starts here, and mine starts here). If you missed watching the recap of our “Bionic Bash” videos featuring the medical team designing and executing the product, you can watch them here. We also interviewed Ed Damiano himself.

Anna and I hope to see some of you during our summer travels at conferences and events (stay tuned for details!), and we look forward to your questions and comments.

Bill Woods–GluBill and Anna Floreen–GluAnna

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