Top 10 Diabetes Tech: Round-Up of 2018

I know it's traditional to do a round up all of the things that someone has done over the space of year, and don't get me wrong, it's been an incredibly exciting year, with talks, trials and trips all around the world. But what has linked many of the trips together for me, has been technology. Whether I've been travelling to try it out and learn about it, or whether I've been taking my own tech with me, to enable me to travel/ adventure safely. These trips have also opened my eyes and ears to new technology, some of which is not available in the UK yet and others that I hope are coming soon. So here's the round-up of it all!

Also for your enjoyment- I've posted a picture of each type of tech mentioned on my Instagram Story highlights, under 'D-Tech'.

New/ Future Tech

1. Stem Cell Research
This year I had the pleasure of attending a talk and touring the labs tasked with the incredible feat of developing stem cell-based advanced treatments, not just for type 1 diabetes, but other conditions including Parkinson's disease too. The treatment is not yet at clinical trial phase, but it is reported that these are on the horizon and in the not too distant future. My understanding of the treatment is that the stem cells would be injected into an individual with type 1 diabetes and could help produce insulin again in the body (very simplified explanation). Both JDRF and Novo Nordisk have teamed up to work together to produce this advanced treatment, which is incredibly exciting and has the potential to change the landscape of diabetes therapies.

2. Flash Monitoring
Abbott recently announced the launch of the Freestyle Libre 2 System- a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) update, which is very exciting. Many at the DX Dublin event in Ireland expressed this same wish, that the original Libre could have alarms, to alert people to high and low glucose levels, which is what I understand the new system could offer. Abbott listened and now here it is, being rolled out across Europe- the opportunity to customise high and low alarm alerts with no additional cost, using bluetooth technology. The reader has been updated too, but I believe there may be a system update to the phone app to enable the new system too.

3. New Insulin Pumps
In August I had the privilege of travelling to Switzerland and Medtronic HQ to learn more about the MiniMed 670g insulin pump, which has an automated insulin giving system to help achieve a specific hba1c of 6.7% and is just becoming available in the UK market, but will not replace the 640g, rather it will join it. In the future I also understand the pumps will have Bluetooth capabilities to talk to mobiles and smart devices.

4. Inaugural Type 1 and Technology Conference
2018 also saw the very first Type 1 and Technology Conference that was held in Swansea University, located in South Wales and which I had the pleasure of speaking at, on the subject of social media bringing people with diabetes together for peer support and also on type 1 technology and sport. The topics on the agenda were absolutely fascinating, from a Consultant with the highest number of children on pumps in the UK, to Rachel Besser the lovely author of 'Diabetes through the looking glass' and also a really interesting talk on Closed Looping.

4. Inhaled Insulin
Afrezza, or inhaled insulin as it is also known was something I discovered when speaking to fellow type 1s from America. Inhaled insulin is a technology that I have heard mentioned in the UK many years ago, but that never quite seemed to make it to become part of the regular diabetes treatment landscape here. It appears that some people with diabetes use it to combat stubborn high glucose levels as the powder in the inhaler comes in 4, 8 or 12 units doses and apparently works within a short period. Alternatively, others wear an insulin pump and use Afrezza for meal times, as that's how it works for them.


Current Tech

1. New Insulin
Where it all begins with type 1 diabetes treatment... this year saw a change for me change from the insulin I had been on for a decade- Humalog to a new one- Fiasp. The former had previously been working well, but for reasons I'm still unsure of, started working less effectively for me around food and meal times. So it was time for a new treatment and whilst it took a little getting used to as it does behave differently, in my opinion, it works well for me during meal times and when participating in physical activity.

2. Insulin Temperature Monitoring
Following my trip to Denmark where I had the pleasure of meeting Amin Zayani the creator of MedAngel, who kindly gifted me a device to try. I've been using it for over a month now to monitor the temperature of my insulin and I've been very impressed. The device is very small and discrete, fits inside my diabetes kit bag and connects to an app that alerts you when the temperature for my insulin is outside of its recommended limits. You also have the opportunity during the set-up to tell it what insulin(s) you use and it knows what temperature these should be in order to monitor what they're being stored at.

3. Insulin Pumps
Well, this year has marked my fourth using the Medtronic MiniMed 640g, that has a smart CGM system that can switch off insulin delivery when it senses that glucose levels are dropping. Used in the right way and with hard work and focus, I have managed to get my hba1c down to 6.9% this December, the lowest it's ever been since my diagnosis.

4. Insulin Pump Stickers
If someone doesn't have a pump themselves, it can be difficult to convey why personalisation is so helpful. I've been on an insulin pump for a decade now and when I first got my pump, I was able to choose the colour. Which meant a lot because an insulin pump can often feel like an extension of oneself, if not an external body part. Therefore, being able to personalise it with patterns, colours and prints has a deeper meaning than just the aesthetic appeal of matching your pump to your outfit.

5. Frio Insulin Wallets
Spring 2018 saw the release of the fashion range of Frio insulin cooling wallets. The designs are sleek and chic and beautifully on trend with regular fashion styles that were hot this year including blossom and palm prints. Also of note to the new designs is the addition of zips, to replace velcro, which in my opinion is a great idea because it make the whole wallet lighter and more slim fitting to place inside bags and cases. Perfect timing with the hot weather we've had this year as this was the first time I could remember such high temperatures and hence the importance of keeping insulin cool and from spoiling, so I was grateful to be gifted some to try.










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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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