Australian boy given artificial pancreas to manage his diabetes

By Efrosini Costa

Australian boy given artificial pancreas to manage his diabetes
Four-year-old Australian boy Xavier Hames has become the first person in the world to receive an artificial pancreas.

The device, an insulin pump system, was fitted to the youngster to help prevent hypoglycaemia attacks and help manage his type 1 diabetes.

Developed through clinical trials across the country, the device mimics the role fo the body’s pancreas to predict low glucose levels and stop insulin delivery.

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It is hoped the device will help to prevent hypoglycaemia attacks which often occur when the diabetes sufferer is asleep at night and can lead to tragic consequences such as seizures, coma and even death.

“This device can predict hypoglycaemia before it happens and stop insulin delivery before a predicted event,” said Professor Tim Jones of Perth’s Princess Margaret hospital, where the medical breakthrough occurred.

Xavier’s mother Naomi told reporters that the pump would help to reassure her that her son would be safe even when the family was asleep.

New South Wales resident Jane Reid will become the next person, first adult, in the world to be fitted with the artificial pancreas later this week.

There are more than 123,000 Australians living with the autoimmune disease that destroys the body’s natural ability to produce insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

In fact, an Australian is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every hours. The diagnosis leaves patients requiring a regimen of injections or insulin infusions through a pump as well as six to eight finger-prick blood tests a day.

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