Diabetes is a life-long disease affecting how your body handles glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood. Type 1 diabetes is genetic and the exact cause is not well understood. Most diabetes is type 2, and 27 million people in the U.S. are living with it. Nearly 90 million have prediabetes. This means their blood glucose is not normal, but it is not high enough to be diabetes yet.
For those with diabetes, management of the condition relies on intrusive testing and injections. It can be painful and is expensive. Fortunately, there are many technological developments underway which can make diabetes management easier, require fewer injections and finger-pricks, and have less pain and worry. Google has digital contact lenses which can measure blood glucose levels from tears. Merck has smart glucose-responsive insulin in early human trials designed to turn on when you need it and off when you don’t.
Curtis Duggan, an entrepreneur in Canada, has started a company called Blue Mesa to focus on the prediabetic problem. The company offers a remote digital diabetes prevention program. Consumers who enroll in the Blue Mesa program receive a FitBit, a digital scale, and a smartphone app which acts as a coach. Early results are encouraging. Listen to an excellent podcast with Curtis here.
Like every aspect of human life I can think of, artificial intelligence (AI) will play a role in diabetes management. Diabeter, a Netherlands-based diabetes clinic and research center, has achieved excellent results in managing diabetes, but believes it can do even better using a new AI based system called Rhythm. The Rhythm system is built on an adaptive AI platform called A2I. The platform uses non-invasive biometric sensors (stickers) to collect data, and then predicts blood glucose levels using multiple algorithms. An observational study found very positive results in seven of eight patients in a recent study. The Rhythm system achieved significantly better results than what focused and experienced doctors and their diabetes teams could achieve with traditional patient-activated monitoring.
Read more about causes of diabetes in Health Attitude.