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Hacking Diabetes: People Break Into Insulin Pumps as an Alternative to Delayed Innovations


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The FDA-approved Omnipod DASH system administers insulin and connects wirelessly to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

As some people invest in the latest advancements to help them cope with the disease, others have found unconventional ways to manage blood sugar conditions, like hacking into insulin pumps.

Credit: Insulet Corp.

As some people invest in the latest advancements to help them cope with diabetes, others have found unconventional ways to manage blood sugar conditions, like hacking into insulin pumps to give them the ability to adjust themselves.

Three separate technologies—a continuous blood glucose monitor, an insulin pump, and a computerized control system—have been used for decades to help people with diabetes manually manage their health.

In recent years, a loose network of "aggressive patients" has been exploiting a security flaw in some of the pumps to make them automatically estimate blood glucose levels and adjust insulin levels accordingly.

Endocrinologist Irl Hirsch at the University of Washington Medical Center said thousands of people with diabetes are hacking insulin pumps because they "don't want to wait for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve something from the usual stream of regulation."

The FDA has warned against building an artificial pancreas system to help control one’s blood sugar levels, after a patient using such a system suffered an accidental insulin overdose.

From USA Today
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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