FDA Warns on (Tandem) Insulin Pump Problem by Kristen Monaco for MedPageToday.com, 8 May 2024. Mobile app glitch may cause t:slim X2 insulin pump battery to drain sooner than expected.

A mobile app used with an insulin pump that led to 224 injuries was recalled by Tandem Diabetes Care, announced by the US FDA.  The recall is for the 2.7 version of the Apple iOS t:connect mobile app, used in conjunction with t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology.

The FDA identified the action as a Class I recall, the most serious type. The recall is a correction, not a product removal, and was prompted by a software glitch that may cause the pump battery to drain sooner than expected. Users are being urged to update the app to the latest software.  “Pump shutdown will cause insulin delivery to suspend, which could lead to an under-delivery of insulin and may result in hyperglycemia or even diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be a life-threatening condition due to high blood sugars and lack of insulin,” the FDA warned. As of April 15, no deaths were reported.

The defective software may cause the mobile app to crash and be automatically relaunched in the iOS operating system. This cycle may intermittently repeat, leading to excessive Bluetooth communication that could deplete the pump battery, causing the pump to shut down.

Read more: FDA Warns on Insulin Pump Problem

Novo Nordisk trims price for blockbuster obesity drug as competition heats up by Maggie Dick and Stine Jacobsen for Reuters.com, 2 May 2024.

Novo Nordisk raised its 2024 outlook as the Danish drugmaker races to boost output of its Wegovy weight-loss treatment, while competition from rival Eli Lilly forced the company to cut prices of the drug, knocking its shares. These are Novo’s second set of results since Lilly launched obesity drug Zepbound in the United States in December and highlight the fast-changing dynamics as the two companies go head to head in a market that analysts estimate could be worth as much as $100 billion by the end of the decade.

Prices for Wegovy and diabetes treatment Ozempic, which contains the same active ingredient, fell in the first quarter amid increased volumes and competition, the company’s chief financial officer Karsten Munk Knudsen said. “Given increasing volume and competition, net pricing like-for-like will be down in the U.S.”, he said, adding that the trend would continue through the rest of the year.


Xeris Enters Into Exclusive Worldwide Collaboration & License Agreement With Beta Bionics reported on NewsWire.com, 6 May 2024.

Biopharma Holdings, Inc., a growth-oriented biopharmaceutical company committed to improving patient lives by developing and commercializing innovative products across a range of therapies, today announced that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide collaboration and license agreement with Beta Bionics, Inc. for the development and commercialization of a glucagon product utilizing Xeris’ XeriSol™ technology for use in Beta Bionics’ proprietary bi-hormonal pump and pump systems. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with Beta Bionics by being the exclusive provider of the glucagon component that will facilitate their development of the first dual-hormone pump for people with diabetes,” said Paul R. Edick, Chairman and CEO of Xeris. “We will move quickly to support Beta Bionics in this important development program.”

“If insulin is like the gas pedal in your car, then glucagon is the brakes,” said Sean Saint, CEO of Beta Bionics. “Beta Bionics has always felt that a bi-hormonal glucose control system has real advantages over insulin alone…just like the brakes in your car. Now with this partnership with Xeris, we are ready to take the next step in bringing this system to market.”

Under the terms of the License Agreement, Xeris has the potential to receive development payments, plus low double-digit royalties based on future sales of the Xeris glucagon for pumps and pump systems.

Read more: Xeris Enters Into an Exclusive Worldwide Collaboration & License Agreement With Beta Bionics

Nanotech opens door to future of insulin medication by University of Sydney for Phys.org, 4 May 2024.

An international team, led by researchers from Australia, has developed a system using nanotechnology that could allow people with diabetes to take oral insulin in the future. The researchers say the new insulin could be eaten by taking a tablet or even embedded within a piece of chocolate.  The new nanocarrier, tested in mice, rats and baboon animal models, could help people with diabetes avoid side effects linked to insulin injections such as hypoglycemia.

These animal studies have shown that the greatest strength of the nano-scale material is that it can react to the body’s blood sugar levels. The coating dissolves and releases the insulin when there is a high blood sugar concentration and importantly does not release the insulin in low blood sugar environments.

The new oral insulin uses a type of nano-scale material that is 1/10,000th the width of a human hair. The material acts similarly to acid-resistant coating on tablets, which protects it from being destroyed by stomach acid. But this new coating instead surrounds individual insulin molecules. It becomes a “nanocarrier”—acting like a courier to ferry insulin molecules in the body to the places it needs to act.  The findings are published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Read more: Nanotech opens door to future of insulin medication

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency and Diabetes: What’s the Connection? by Amelia Harnish for diaTribe.org, 6 May 2024.

People with diabetes are at higher risk for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which affects properly digesting and absorbing nutrients from food. The good news is, the condition is treatable.  Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency occurs when the pancreas fails to produce the right amount of digestive enzymes needed for the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. Another name for EPI is pancreatic exocrine insufficiency.

Your body needs digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas, including amylase and lipase, to break down and absorb protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Without an adequate amount of enzymes made by the pancreas, your body can have trouble digesting food. This can lead to malnutrition as well as gastrointestinal symptoms including: abdominal pain, increased gas, stool changes, especially fatty stools or diarrhea, and weight loss.

“Damage to the pancreas is the main cause of EPI,” said Dr. Philip Johnston, a consultant in endocrinology, diabetes, and medicine at the Regional Centre for Endocrinology and Diabetes, Royal Victoria Hospital and Belfast City Hospital in Northern Ireland. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but studies indicate a link between EPI and diabetes.  

The good news is there is treatment for EPI in the form of pancreatic enzymes. This oral treatment essentially replaces the missing enzymes. Dosing pancreatic enzymes can be tricky, however.  “There is limited data with regard to what dose is best,” Johnston said. “There are apps and calculators in development to aid in dose titration.”  He added that people with EPI taking enzymes still experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms should speak with their healthcare team about potentially increasing the dose.

Read more:

Noninvasive radiofrequency sensor with machine learning may accurately measure glucose by Michael Monostra for Healio.com/endocrinology, 9 May 2024.

A noninvasive device using a radiofrequency sensor may be able to measure glucose levels for people with diabetes in the future, according to a speaker at the AACE Annual Meeting.

In a clinical trial, researchers used a radiofrequency dielectric sensor (Know Labs) to rapidly scan a large range of frequencies using dielectric spectroscopy. Voltage values are detected at each frequency and used to measure real-time glucose levels, according to Dominic Klyve, PhD, professor of mathematics at Central Washington University and Know Labs Data Science & Engineering.

“The importance of continuous glucose monitoring usage in managing diabetes is clearly established,” Klyve told Healio. “Barriers to greater global adoption of CGM are economic costs, discomfort and medical waste. The Know Labs device would deliver a highly accurate, truly noninvasive CGM that wouldn’t require costly disposables.”

Read more: Noninvasive radiofrequency sensor with machine learning may accurately measure glucose

Hack targeting hospital chain Ascension is impacting patient care by Daniel Gilbert, Joseph Menn & Dan Diamond for WashingtonPost.com, 9 May 2024.

Ascension, one of the largest health systems in the United States, was struck by a cyberattack that knocked patient record systems offline and forced medical staff to log care on paper, the latest hack to underscore the vulnerability of American’s health-care system to cyber intrusions.

The nonprofit chain said it detected the hack Wednesday and took immediate steps. In the direct aftermath, emergency crews diverted patients to other hospitals while staffers described manual workarounds in interviews.  Electronic patient charts, the core system for the flow of care, were among systems affected, said Ascension, which operates 140 hospitals in 19 states.

In addition, the company said late Thursday that MyChart — a portal for patients to see their records and message providers — was unavailable, along with some phone services and systems for ordering tests, procedures and medications. Some elective procedures and appointments have been delayed and the company directed patients to bring notes on their symptoms and a list of medications with prescription numbers to appointments.

Read more: Hack targeting hospital chain Ascension is impacting patient care

More hospital troubles … Steward Health Care files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Susanna Vogel for HealthCareDive.com, 6 May 2024.

Dallas-based Steward Health Care, the largest physician-led hospital operator in the country, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, following months of financial struggles including missed payments to its landlord and vendors.  Steward operates more than 30 hospitals across eight states, according to a spokesperson for the company. The filing marks the largest provider bankruptcy in decades, according to Laura Coordes, professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. 

What does that mean for those living with diabetes?  So many hospitals are dangerous places for a person with diabetes … unknowledgeable staff, inattentive (to your diabetes needs) ER teams, fewer resources to educate healthcare professionals).  Very concerning.

Read more: Steward Health Care files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

On a lighter note: Pet parrots prefer live video-calls over watching pre-recorded videos of other birds from the University of Glasgow, for Phys.org, 2 May 2024.

Pet parrots given the choice to video-call each other or watch pre-recorded videos of other birds will flock to the opportunity for live chats, new research shows.  The study, led by animal-computer interaction specialists at the University of Glasgow, gave tablet devices to nine parrots and their owners to explore the potential of video chats to expand the birds’ social lives.

Their results suggest that the clever birds, who often suffer from loneliness in captivity, may be able to tell the difference between live and pre-recorded content on digital devices, and strongly prefer interacting with other birds in real-time. The paper, titled “Call of the Wild Web: Parrot Engagement in Live vs. Pre-recorded Video Calls,” will be presented at the Association of Computing Machinery’s CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems held in Honolulu May 11–16.  The findings could help steer the future course of the emerging “animal internet,” which uses digital technology to empower animals to interact with humans and each other in new ways.

The research is the latest development in a collaboration between researchers at the University of Glasgow in the U.K. and Northeastern University in the U.S.  Previous research led by the University of Glasgow’s Dr. Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas explored the potential of video-calling to reduce loneliness in parrots and how parrots could benefit from playing games on digital tablets.  The outcomes of the research are set to be presented as a conference paper later this month.

Dr. Hirskyj-Douglas, from the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science, the paper’s lead author, said, “Our previous research had shown that parrots seem to benefit from the opportunity to video-call each other, which could help reduce the mental and physical toll that living in domestic situations can take on them.

HEY!  How does this apply to folks living with diabetes?  How important is social interaction, particularly live and engaging, or even more so, in person?  

Read more: Pet parrots prefer live video-calls over watching pre-recorded videos of other birds

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