Keith Schwanz


This article was written on 11 Sep 2017, and is filed under Family.

The World’s First and Only “Closed Loop System”

Yesterday, Judi and I had lunch with Oliver, Stella, and Miles. Noticeably absent from the table was the “kit” Oliver has carried with him since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) seven years ago. The kit has alcohol wipes, test strips, lancet, meter, and other T1D necessities. The kit was in the car, so if we needed it we could quickly retrieve it. But it wasn’t necessary to carry it into the restaurant.

This new reality is directly related to the fact that Oliver now wears the world’s first and only “closed loop system” that automatically keeps sugar levels in range. This hybrid system moved out of the testing phase in mid-summer, so Oliver is among the first to use the unit. The glucose sensor provides continuous monitoring of his sugar level. The monitor “talks” with the insulin pump that automatically adjusts insulin delivery every five minutes to keep the person in the target range.

Oliver has had this new unit about a month. The most recent weekly report shows that he was in-range 66% of the time. An early goal was to be in-range half of the time, so progress is being made. Those persons with T1D who have had access to the device for a longer time period report in-range percentages in the 90s, so we’re hopeful that Oliver’s numbers will improve as the artificial intelligence in the unit learns about Oliver’s body.

Doctors check Oliver’s A1C numbers each quarter. Glucose binds with hemoglobin to form glycated hemoglobin, something that can be measured in a blood test and reported as an A1C percentage. Normal A1C is below 5.7%. Oliver has consistently been above 8% and that has been a concern to his doctor. The most recent weekly report shows an A1C of 6.9%. The lower the A1C, the better the glucose management. The better the glucose management, the reduced risk of diabetes complications. Once again, we’re grateful for the steps forward but recognize that continued progress must be made.

The medical technology advances that have benefited Oliver is the result of ongoing research. This is a worthy endeavor that warrants additional support. Once again this year, Team Jolly Ollie will join thousands of others who will walk to end T1D. Please support this effort and make a contribution for the sake of persons with T1D. Thank you.

When I notice that the kit was not on the lunch table, I asked Oliver if he liked his new device. “I love it,” he immediately replied. Research on T1D has an passionate fan!

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