Artificial Intelligence Might Be Part Of The Next Diabetes Treatment Plan

No one wants to be diagnosed with a condition like diabetes. It’s basically a life sentence. It’s not the worst-case scenario, but it certainly puts added pressure on people to exercise more frequently and eat right. Doing either of those things in combination and consistently enough that they make a difference can be a struggle for anyone who isn’t accustomed to the burden. No one wants to prick a finger for the rest of their days, either.

But treatment plans are changing. Might artificial intelligence be the next big driver of diabetes treatment? It works through wearable devices, which are becoming an increasingly popular alternative for diabetics.

Many media reports have suggested that the pace of AI advancement has once again slowed to a crawl, much like it did thirty years ago. But that’s nonsense. The biggest companies we know — like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and even Facebook — are still funneling an insane amount of resources into making the AI better. 

A new system that would help diabetics detect low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) non-invasively is currently under development by a team of researchers who published the results of a new program in Scientific Reports

It’s not perfect yet. Scientists working out of the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom have managed to show an 82 percent success rate. That means that their computer can diagnose hypoglycemia about four out of five times. 

Lead author Leandro Pecchia said, “Our innovation consisted in using [AI] for automatic detecting [of] hypoglycemia via few ECG beats. This is relevant because ECG can be detected in any circumstance, including sleeping.”

Scientists watched healthy participants around the clock for two weeks to see how often they could accurately record glucose readings through their newly created AI program. They did this not by testing blood, but by measuring heart rhythm. 

Diabetes is a growing public health concern, prompting state governments to sign new measures into law that recognize the epidemic. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed a new law to place price caps on diabetic medications. Senator Andy Manar, who sponsored the new bill, said it was the “biggest step that we can take under Illinois law.”

But of course more needs to be done, especially when diagnosing those who may be suffering from diabetes. Those who are not covered by health insurance are far less likely to visit the doctor and may not realize they have the condition.

Pritzker said, “Diabetes affects people from all walks of life. It doesn’t discriminate between those who can afford medication at unconscionable cost and those who cannot.”