Diabetes and Innovation around it

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. This is a very standard way to describe diabetes.. interesting to see the technology innovations around it. Sharing what I have learned thus far…!

Every word outlined below in the definition has an innovation and technology or therapy supporting it πŸ™‚

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose level (blood sugar) is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy.

I was intrigued by the power of innovation and our minds to be able to process the information and break it down to this level to trigger multiple types of changes. Now, if it is possible for diabetes, wouldn’t it be the same for all other diseases.. let us look at some of them in the upcoming posts.. so now, back to diabetes…

  1. Disease: Any disease has a an alternate therapy mechanisms to naturally heal and diabetes has many. It also has different types – Type 1 (potentially genetic), Type 2 acquired based on food habits and environment. Diagnostic tests to check if one has the disease or not is a big deal and has a sustainable market across the globe, as this needs to be repeated frequently.
  2. Occurs: It has many stages and links to obesity levels as well. Who gets diabetes? Research organizations and papers exist about how this can occur and what to do to control. Anyone interested in doing research on the topic would find this link helpful.
  3. Blood glucose level – Low or High?: How do we know how much is too less or too much? We need to measure and collect data. How frequently? How do we store the data? This is where the diagnostic tests, apps and periodic testing technology gadgets come into play. HUGE innovation potential being uncovered in this space!
  4. Cells: Cell regeneration being researched, Genetics study to change the genes to reduce risk of hereditary diabetes.
  5. Pancreas: Pancreas was earlier known to be irreplacable. Now, focus is on artificial pancreas. Bio-Artificial Pancreas is an implantable device with a small capsule that works like the pancreas. The stem-cell loaded capsule is able to produce insulin. Researchers are also working on other types of implants that can help with automatically delivering drugs and insulin based on blood glucose levels.
  6. Insulin: Huge amount of innovation in this space. See technology innovation image below to see the storyline.
  7. Food: Every culture has its own way of reducing blood sugar levels. We will discuss about that in a subsequent blog. For now, read the common ones from National Institute of Health (Must read for those suffering from diabetes)

Abbott has an innovative product – wearable device that is an improvisation removing the need to extract blood to do the testing. Read article and watch video below

I started looking into the technology innovations

Most commonly used product for diabetes testing is this below..

A drop of blood from the fingertips is dabbed on a strip and processed by the device

Wearable technology (fitness gadgets) would not leave this space alone. Looked into it and found this πŸ™‚ Yes.. you can manage your diabetes (not diagnose or test) with this wearable technology.

Apple patents glucose tracker for Apple watch

Quoting from the wearable technology conference “Scientists are busy at work trying to develop shoes and socks for people with diabetes. Pre-installed with pressure and heat sensors, these wearables are able to detect areas of the foot with inadequate blood supply, reducing the development of foot ulcers and lower the risk of amputations”

Quoting from the wearable technology conference: “There are several companies working to make contact lens embedded with a small chip that can monitor blood glucose levels in tears. Novartis, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer has been working with Google to market such product.”

Technology and innovation go hand and in hand. Everyone needs their space to think and think out of the box.. agreed! It was very interesting to see how it could fit into the basic definition of the disease..!

If you to like innovate something new, get back to the fundamentals and understand the basic information about it. Talk to people around you to understand what they do in that space and the challenges they face. These two things will get us a way forward πŸ™‚

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