Not so long ago, a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes was akin to a death sentence. Management of the disease was not easy and the numerous complications that arise from improper management kept many diabetics from living full and healthy lives. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that medical advances started supporting diabetics and extending their life-spans. Still, the current system of checking blood sugar levels periodically and treating the condition with insulin leaves much to be desired for the patient.
Over the past ten years, there have been numerous exciting and life changing advances that have been made in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, and the medical engineering field is spearheading most of these advances.
Currently in the works is an artificial pancreas that is designed to replace this organ that is responsible for regulating insulin and glucose within the body. The artificial organ detects levels of glucose in the blood and automatically releases the proper amount of insulin as needed. While these devices are still in the trial and error stage, they should be ready for clinical trials very shortly.
Other advances like the insulin pump are also making vast improvements in diabetic’s lives. In some ways similar to the artificial pancreas, these pumps also track blood sugar levels and release insulin on an as-needed basis. The artificial pancreas will function with its own type of insulin pump that will dispense the required amount of medication as needed.
The new artificial pancreas is being designed with an on-board sensor system that will not only monitor levels of insulin and glucose in the body, but can be “trained” to sense specific patterns and wait to see if things stabilize before adding extra insulin. A “closed loop” system is in the works to make this type of artificial organ more effective.
In addition, scientists are also working on adding a type of insulin that works faster and more effectively. In time, it is entirely possible that Type 1 diabetes may be cured through the implantation of this artificial pancreas.
For engineering students or those already in the medical engineering field, these advances promise not only the ability to have a great career, but also the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re creating solutions that will change people’s lives. Medical engineering has come a long way over the past few decades and as new engineers come on the scene, it’s anticipated that this growth will only continue.
Would you like more information about an exciting career in medical engineering? Ask the experts at Solopoint today!