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A Texas endocrinologist who recently put the recently FDA-approved Medtronic iPro continuous glucose recorder through its paces with diabetic patients calls the tool a major step forward in doctors' ability to accurately monitor the disease.
Dr. Thomas Blevins, MD, an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes, endocrinology, and internal medicine in Austin, Texas, studied 15 patients over a three- to four-month period using the device, which weighs about as much as a quarter.
Patients wore the device for three days at a time, during which it continuously monitored their blood glucose levels and stored the information. They then returned to Dr. Blevins and his colleagues, who downloaded data from the recorders onto their computers. The patients came back a few days later to discuss the data.
"The data are revealing," says Dr. Blevins. "Sometimes three days' worth isn't enough, but it's a start. We may find out that a patient needs to increase his bolus or overnight insulin. We can show people on paper what's going on and pick up on things that finger sticks just can't." He compares finger sticks to "looking at five snapshots of your favorite movie. You get only sort of an idea of what the movie's about instead of a real beginning, middle, and end."
Before the iPro, Dr. Blevins' patients had been using continuous glucose monitoring technology that involved bulky recording devices and cables. "The big difference with the iPro is that it is much more compact, and it stores its data without having to connect to anything outside itself."
"Our patients were more than ready - they'd been waiting for something like this for a long time," he says. "They were pleased about its small size and non-intrusiveness. I think patients in general will accept this easily."
Dr. Blevins calls the miniaturization of diabetes-related technology "an amazing development. Our diagnostic capabilities are now vastly improved. The diabetes world just hasn't had diagnostic tools on the level of MRI or sleep apnea monitoring. Now we're beginning to."
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