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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Bionic Pancreas Handles Ice Cream Sundaes, French Fries

•, Francie Diep

 A new bionic pancreas for people with type 1 diabetes is showing promise in early field tests. So far, it's deftly handled ice cream binges and kids at camp, Bloomberg reports.

"The performance of our system in both adults and adolescents exceeded our expectations under very challenging real-world conditions," the device's lead engineer, Ed Damiano of Boston University, said in a statement.

Like a natural pancreas, Damiano's device automatically monitors wearers' insulin levels. When needed, it administers doses of insulin and glucagon, two hormones that healthy pancreases make to regulate people's blood sugar levels. In other words, the bionic pancreas does automatically what type 1 diabetes patients have to do manually, far more frequently than any person could—every five minutes, 24 hours a day. The device is about the size of a cellphone and people wear it on the outside of their bodies.

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