Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Intern/Volunteer Wanted by Pancreum for Artificial Pancreas Project

Not much of a fact, but if you know a mechanical engineer....

Some facts about glucagon...

#1 Most type 1 diabetics have abnormally high glucagon levels all the time. The local high levels of insulin in people whose pancreata make insulin tell the alpha cells to keep it down. In type 1 diabetics whose alpha cells are not too damaged, the alpha cells make a lot of glucagon.

#2 Injecting glucagon causes nausea in some people, even when used at low doses. This is one of the barriers to using an artificial pancreas; about 1 in 7 people who has gotten glucagon as a treatment for mild hypoglycemia by an artificial pancreas program has reported feeling nauseous. It's not clear why glucagon makes some people nauseous and not others.

#3  Although plans for glucagon pens have been around for quite a while, right now you can only get glucagon in the US as glucagon kits or glucagen kits. The glucagon kit from Eli Lilly is red. The GlucaGen kit is made by Novo Nordisk and it's orange. Both can be stored at room temperature.

#4 The instructions inside the kit are for extreme low blood sugar, where a person has passed out, and you might as well give a full dose intramuscularly. Some folks use a "mini dose" with a regular insulin syringe subcutateously, taking 0.15 mL (1mg/mL) for hard to treat but not quite as bad hypoglycemia, the full dose being 1 mL (- 1 mg) for adults and 0.5 mg for young children. My doctor recommends the mini dose but I never have tried it yet.

#5 Glucagon acts on the glycogen stores of the liver. In people with liver disease, or who are drunk, or whose glycogen stores are depleted due to fasting, illness, or previous use of glucagon, the glucagon will not raise blood sugar.

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