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Health Spotlight: Type 1 diabetes can’t stop this gymnast

Health Spotlight: Type 1 diabetes can’t stop this gymnast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The FDA recently approved a device for diabetics called the “bionic pancreas,” taking much of the burden of continually entering carb intake off the user. With one entry describing the size of their next meal, an AI algorithm then precisely determines insulin to keep blood sugar stable. That is revolutionary for one San Antonio teen who can now focus on homework, rather than carbohydrates.

Mia Campos is 15, and a skilled gymnast. She’s also a type 1 diabetic, as she found out during a competition five years ago.

“I was drinking a lot of water, going to the bathroom a lot, sometimes, seven or eight times a night,” said Campos.

Her blood sugar was off the charts, so she was fitted with a traditional insulin pump, which requires continual programming and not surprisingly, there were glitches. Fortunately, her pediatric endocrinologist recommended a “bionic pancreas,” cleared by the FDA and now, commercially available. It clips to her jeans, and using AI software, tailoring to her glucose levels.

“This one, actually, has three algorithms. It learns your own biorhythm for what you need different times of day,” said Jane Lynch, Pediatric Endocrinologist at UT Health San Antonio/University Health, MD.

Approved for ages six and up, this iLet device requires just one entry about the diabetic’s next meal size.

“She will put this on, we’ll plug in her weight,” Lynch said. “Within in four days, it will conservatively give her insulin, figure out her schedule, keep her blood sugars in the 200s, 150s, and, then down to 140s.”

“I absolutely loved it,” Campos said. “I think it’ll help a bunch of people, or kids, who have busy lives and can’t take the time out of their day to put in, like, manually, their carbs, so, this will do it for them.”

The “bionic pancreas” utilizes an attached plastic infusion set that talks to the sensors and delivers the insulin. Lynch says diet and exercise are also critical to maintaining sugar levels.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.