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Diabetes revolution made in Austria

An Austrian research team is hailing a small technical revolution that could revolutionise life for the millions of diabetics worldwide.

Sponsored by the EU the Joanneum Research organisation is working on a mini-device that diabetics will wear on their body and which will monitor and automatically regulate sugar levels.

Some 50,000 people suffer from diabetes in Styria alone. There are almost 400,000 diabetics in Austria – 60 million in Europe. Joanneum Research, which is playing a leading role in the development of a mini glucose measuring instrument in the framework of a European project, could help them all.

The laborious procedure used to date – finger-pricking,  measurement of the blood sugar levels with test strips, calculation of the quantity of insulin and administration -  could be replaced by a completely automated combined-machine which measures and administers corrective medicine, explained the project leader Michael Hajnsek.

He said: "The University of Cambridge is a partner in this European project, and they have developed and algorithm which calculates the insulin-dose for a given blood sugar level. The system then also administers the insulin-dose automatically."

The instrument itself is only a few centimetres in size and can therefore be worn around the stomach everyday without restricting freedom of movement – it's particularly suitable for children, who don't want their movements restricted. Regular measurements and a precise administration of insulin is also important because of their growth and hormonal alterations.

The new glucose measuring instrument does not only sound revolutionary – it is, according to Hajnsek. He said: "Yes, if the system works in the way we imagine it, it would be a revolution in diabetes management." The development should be complete in four years the new diabetes miracle-instrument should then appear on the market.

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