One of Israel’s latest discoveries in diabetes treatment could make a life-and-death difference for sufferers around the world.
Night-Sense, a watch-shaped device aimed at alerting a sleeping individual with a dangerously low blood-sugar level, is still in the prototype stage.
As explained on the Night-Sense website, hypoglycemia (an abnormally low blood-sugar level in the body) is a “frequent reality” for patients with Type-1 diabetes. In attempting to balance their glucose levels, they “experience an average of two hypoglycemic episodes per week and at least one severe, and temporarily disabling, episode per year.”
For patients with Type-2 diabetes, the frequency of severe hypoglycemia – requiring hospitalization – is lower, averaging at 6% of patients who are treated with anti-diabetic agents and 11% of those using insulin.
With Diabetes Type-1, the site continues, “the body is not producing insulin, while in Diabetes Type 2 the cells are not responding properly to the insulin, and/or there is not enough insulin being produced.”
There are 360-million diabetics worldwide, out of which 90 million are insulin users, the site points out. According to research, more than 80 percent of insulin users suffer from hypoglycemic events.
Hypoglycemic symptoms may include, for example, hunger, sweating, palpitations, lethargy, disorientation and blurry vision. A diabetic would know how to recognize the need for a quick sugar fix during the day; when asleep, however, chances of an acute medical emergency increase.
Rather than monitoring blood sugar, Night-sense is programmed to sense changes in hand movement indicative of a diminished level of glucose.
Globes, a prestigious Israeli business daily, discussed this new development in a recent issue.
Gadi Kan-Tor, who developed the product together with Yoav Kan-Tor and Shy Hefetz, himself suffers from diabetes and takes insulin.
According to the Globes feature, an estimated 200,000 severe hypoglycemic attacks happen daily. One in every 20 juvenile diabetes sufferers will die from hypoglycemia, which occurs with the injection of more insulin than needed.
“There are 10 motions that are recognized by doctors as being affected by hypoglycemia,” Gadi Kan-Tor, Night-Sense’s CEO, explained in the Globes story. “Not every patient will exhibit the same symptoms, nor will they exhibit them with the same intensity. Therefore, we customize the product for each individual patient, according to his or her ‘classic’ gestures when lying still.”
Regarding the new invention, balancing is a challenging task; while it is vital that the device could be relied upon to awaken a soundly sleeping patient in danger, too many false alarms would prevent a good night’s sleep.
Hypoglycemic episodes occur two to three times a year, on average, among insulin-dependent diabetics, the article said. Prescribing the right medication could be tricky, as too little insulin causes dangerous increases in blood-sugar levels, while too much causes low blood sugar.
A number of doctors have told Kan-Tor that they tend to “prescribe lower insulin doses than the patient really needs, due to their fear of its negative effects during the night,” the Globes feature said. Therefore, the patient’s daily blood-sugar levels are often higher than ideal, which could result in damage to various organs and limbs.
“The doctors said: If you solve the night problem, we will be able to five the correct dosage,” Kan-Tor told Globes, adding that the invasive blood monitors currently on the market are expensive and uncomfortable.
Night-Sense plans to conduct clinical trials within a few months, Globes said.
Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer for United with Israel
Date: Nov. 13, 2013