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Breakthrough artificial pancreas study welcomed as data reveals “shockingly high” number of hypos

In a world first, British children with Type 1 diabetes have successfully been entrusted to use pioneering artificial pancreas technology all by themselves at home overnight – without the careful supervision of expert researchers.

The breakthrough trial, detailed last week in the journal Diabetes Care, comes as Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF reveals UK people living with the condition are experiencing a “shockingly high” average of ten hypos a week – laying bare the urgent need for the artificial pancreas to become an accessible reality.

The University of Cambridge-devised artificial pancreas promises to dramatically improve quality of life of people with Type 1 diabetes, which typically develops in childhood. The latest trial, coordinated by the University and funded by JDRF, has shown for the first time globally that unsupervised use of the artificial pancreas overnight can be safe – while also providing exciting benefits.

Participants, all aged between 12 and 18, saw improved blood glucose control during the trial, experiencing fewer nights with hypoglycaemic episodes, generally known as hypos.  A hypo occurs when the blood glucose level of someone living with Type 1 diabetes falls dangerously low. Without proper treatment, it may cause unconsciousness and even death.

The figure of ten hypos per week has emerged through a first ever real-time information haul of more than 10,000 UK residents with Type 1 diabetes, released to JDRF from the mySugr app. It follows the recent revelation that nine per cent of all hospital admissions for children and young people with diabetes are due to hypos.

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Postcode lottery of diabetes amputations “getting worse”

The postcode lottery of diabetes-related amputations in England is getting worse, according to new figures released earlier this month by Diabetes UK.

The new figures, based on NHS data, show that the overall diabetes-related amputation rate has not improved at all, with 2.6 per thousand people with diabetes per year having a lower limb amputation. And what is more unacceptable is that the gap between the worst and best performing areas has got bigger.

This means people with diabetes in the worst performing area (Fareham and Gosport) are now seven times more likely to have an amputation than people in the best performing area (Brent in London). The previous year, the rate in the worst-performing area was 5.4 times higher than in the best-performing area.

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World-leading expert calls for diabetes screening after “disappointing” report

Everyone entering older age should be screened for diabetes to prevent the worsening of complications associated with the condition, according to an international expert.

Professor Alan Sinclair, Director of the Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP), made the call following the “disappointing” results from a new Diabetes UK report (see story above).

Professor Sinclair said: “The findings of this report are disappointing and again demonstrate why older people are getting a raw deal. Diagnosing diabetes as early as possible as people enter older age is vitally important and should be a priority – it should be made available to everyone.

“This is because diabetes is different in the way it behaves and manifests itself in older people. Older people with diabetes do not always display the classic symptoms, with age-related changes meaning that some symptoms will be masked, or harder to spot.

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