Bionic pancreas decreases stress, improves treatment satisfaction in type 1 diabetes patients

Patients with type 1 diabetes experienced higher levels of treatment satisfaction and lower distress levels when using a bionic pancreas (BP), according to a study published by Mary Ann Liebert.

The bihormonal bionic pancreas assists type 1 diabetic patients in maintaining blood glucose levels by injecting insulin and glucagon, mimicking an actual pancreas. In this study, researchers enrolled 39 adults with type 1 diabetes to identify benefits of using BP compared to conventional care. Participants used the BP for 11 days followed by 11 days of conventional care. A psychosocial questionnaire was completed at baseline and at the end of the study.

Results showed that patients experienced improvements in psychosocial outcomes when using the BP over conventional care. Patients experienced reduced levels of diabetes-related distress related to hypoglycemia and eating constraints, improved treatment satisfaction and 69 percent of participants trusted the device. However, concerns about the burden of BP were also reported, with 75 percent of participants concerned about carrying around the BP, the need to change the glucagon daily and the wearability of the device.

“Overall, participants report substantial psychosocial benefits accruing from the BP relative to their usual method of diabetes care,” concluded first author J. Weissberg-Benchell and colleagues. “However, participants also reported a number of burdens associated with the system. Future versions of the BP device should be designed with the goal of addressing these concerns, and studies with larger, more diverse samples, and with more technology-naive participants are needed.”