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Artificial Pancreas

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Claire Bickel lives with Type-1 Diabetes and keeping her blood sugar in check is a constant struggle. "Especially when I'm juggling field hockey, the spring musical, track, biology and checking my blood sugar," she explains. However, now the active 14-year-old says a brand new small device is going to simplify her life dramatically.

Bickel is one of the first patients in the country and the first pediatric patient to receive the so-called artificial pancreas since it was FDA-approved last year.  The system from Medtronic automatically measures her blood sugar and delivers personalized amounts of insulin 24-hours a day, with less interaction from Bickel.

Doctor Stuart Weinzimer at Yale Children's Diabetes Program says reducing the burden to patients and families is huge. "You still have to do some basic things like testing your blood sugar and dosing what you are eating. This is going to operate and do a lot of the important safety work in between meals, during exercise ad at night." Those are the times Bickel's mother would worry about blood sugar dropping the most, but now she has peace of mind. “Last night I slept the entire night!” Bickel, too, now looks forward to a future with less stress. "I think going away places, going to college, a lot of those things I want to do by myself, it's just a lot easier to do."

Northern Nevadans are also banding together to help find a cure for Type-1 Diabetes. The local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is hosting its 20th annual Vision Gala on April 29th at the Reno Ballroom in downtown. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available for the black-tie event. To learn more, log on to

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