Technology and medicine: New treatments for diabetes patients
Thursday, January 21, 2016
The technological revolution continues to foster advances in medicine at an increasingly rapid rate. In diabetes treatment, monitoring and care, state-of-the-art "gadgets" have made the management of this disease easier and allowed and encouraged more compliance on the part of the patients.
Let's take a look at three new devices on the market:
Retinopathy sleep mask
The Noctura 400 is inserted into what looks like and is worn as an eye mask. The device is a breakthrough that intervenes in the complex process that causes diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in adults between the ages of 20-64.
When blood circulation worsens due to progressive diabetes, the supply of oxygen to the retina is disturbed. The Noctura 400, developed by PolyPhotonix, continuously shines light at the user's closed eyelids. Due to the wavelength of the light used, the patient's ability to sleep is unaffected.
Patients at any stage of retinopathy can use the mask. It can help at some level in all diabetic patients and does not cause any damage to the eyes or vision.
The Noctura 400 is designed to be a lifelong treatment, which is programmed for up to eight continuous hours of use for 12 weeks when it is then replaced. The mask also is designed to record data, which can then be downloaded by the clinician, to better monitor its effectiveness.
The Noctura 400 is already available in Europe, and is currently undergoing Phase III clinical trials in the U.S.
Wireless glucose meter
Glucose meters compatible with smartphones have been available for many years. However, Roche has just introduced their first wireless glucose meter, Accu-Chek Aviva Connect, and LifeScan released an update to the app for their Verio Sync wireless glucose meter. These wireless meters use the same test strips that other wired versions are already using.
The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect can sync to the patient's phone, but it also includes a free portal that allows users to upload their data from their smartphone to the cloud. In order to better help in monitoring and compliance, users can share their readings in real time with their providers and/or caregivers.
Glucagon nasal spray
In December, a study published in Diabetes Care examined the use of a glucagon nasal spray to provide quicker treatment to diabetic patients who experience severe hypoglycemia. Until recently, an intramuscular injection was the only option. The nasal spray offers a better and quicker treatment, especially in unconscious patients.
A randomized crossover clinical trial enrolled 75 patients with Type I diabetes in eight centers. The results showed that the intramuscular glucagon injection was 100 percent effective and took 13 minutes to resolve blood sugar levels, while the nasal spray was 99 percent effective and took 16 minutes.
Even though the nasal spray took longer, the study stressed that administering the nasal spray took 16-26 seconds, while the injection took approximately 2 minutes and was more dependent on the speed and skill of the caregiver. In addition, the injection required having a bottle of the injectable solution and a syringe readily on hand, whereas the nasal spray is a much easier delivery solution.
The hope is that the nasal drug spray can become the easy go-to treatment for patients suffering from severe hypoglycemia.
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