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Artificial pancreas could help pregnant diabetics

Artificial pancreas can reduce the risks associated with pregnancy in women with type 1 diabetes, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Cambridge University, UK.

In the study, researchers used artificial pancreas in 10 pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes and found that the device provided the right amount of insulin, maintained near normal blood sugar, and prevented dangerous drops in blood sugar levels at night.

The artificial pancreas, which was created by combining a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and an insulin pump, works by automatically monitoring blood glucose and pumping insulin to maintain right sugar levels.

While previous studies showed that the device could help children with type 1 diabetes, this is the first study where it was successfully tested on pregnant women.

Diabetes UK, director of research Iain Frame said it is an example of how existing technologies can be adapted and developed to benefit as many people with diabetes as possible.

"We now need to see an extension of this study, one which tests larger numbers of women, and then take it out of the hospital and into the home setting," Frame added.

Due to high glucose levels in women with diabetes, their babies are five times more likely to be stillborn, three times more likely to die in their first months of life and twice as likely to have a major deformity, the researchers noted.