Apparently for the first time in the world, a recent research study on children
with type 1 (insulin-dependent, juvenile- onset) diabetes aimed at creating an
effective artificial pancreas to produce insulin was held not in a hospital but
in a hotel.
The clinical trial was conducted by specialists at the
Schneider Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) at the Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha
Hotel outside Jerusalem. The prospective, crossover study, in which the whole
group receive the treatment but at different times, was part of the three-day DREAM (Diabetes wireless Artificial pancreas consortium) Camp for Children with
It consisted of 18 kids aged 12 to 15 years; nine of them were
were connected to the artificial pancreas system on the first night of the camp,
while eight were connected on the second night. The benefit of being in a hotel
rather than a hospital ward was that the more pleasant, non-threatening
environment made the results more accurate.
The MD-Logic Artificial
Pancreas, developed at the SCMS’s Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes,
consists of an off-the-shelf subcutaneous glucose sensor that monitors glucose
levels, and an insulin pump. The sensor and pump are connected to a computer
that programs the information and stipulates the amount of insulin that should
be released to the body in order to maintain blood glucose balance.
innovation “closes the loop” between the sensor and the pump and relieves the
patients with diabetes from the daily burden of dealing with their diabetes and
has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of patients with
The Schneider team collaborated with colleagues at the
department of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at Kinderkrankenhaus auf der
Bult in Hannover, Germany, and the department of pediatric endocrinology,
diabetes and metabolism at University Children’s Hospital in Ljubljana,
Monitoring the night-time glucose levels is extremely important
since most cases of severe hypoglycemia occur then, and bloodsugar levels are
not within the desired range in many patients during sleep. The team of
engineers and medical staffers stayed both nights in a specially set up control
room, from where they were able to remotely supervise the trial and monitor the
children’s glucose levels.
Within the framework of the camp, social
activities with counselors and the Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes team
took place: the children enjoyed swimming in the pool, sports, watching movies
and other fun activities.
The experimental artificial pancreas is aimed
at providing a real solution for patients with type 1 diabetes, which usually
begins in early childhood. The research is being carried out at the Shaffer
Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Petah Tikva hospital’s National
Center of Childhood Diabetes. The project is headed by institute director Prof.
Moshe Phillip and Dr. Revital.
Following the successful trial, Phillip
said: “I am proud to head and be a part of the pioneering team working for a
number of years to find a technological solution that will significantly improve
the lives of millions of diabetics around the world. The MD-Logic Artificial
Pancreas and the DREAM Projects will enable patients to be relieved of the
continuous need to check glucose levels and inject insulin, while ensuring
long-term balance which significantly reduces the chance of complications from
diabetes. The entire staff in the Institute is excited to be part of this
important historic project.”
“This is a significant landmark in
research,” he added. “This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first time in
the world that such a trial project has been taken outside the hospital,
illustrating a normal life for youngsters with diabetes, while using an
automatic insulin delivery system during the night.” The overall success of the
research represents genuine good news to millions of patients with diabetes in
Israel and the world, he said.
About 5000 children and adolescents in
Israel have been diagnosed with childhood diabetes and thousands more youngsters
and adults in the country have other types of diabetes.
constant vigilance concerning nutrition and blood glucose levels and requires
that patients with diabetes inject insulin throughout the day in order to
compensate impaired function of the pancreas.
ISRAELI GAYS ‘COME OUT’
The number of Israeli lesbian, gay and bisexual teens who identify their
sexual leanings and “come out” to their family and friends has grown
dramatically in the past two decades, with the average age dropping from 25 in
1991 to 16 in 2010, according to Tel Aviv University researchers.
new study published in the journal Family Relations on the stress factors and
the mental health of sexual minorities, Dr. Guy Shilo of TAU’s Bob Shapell
School of Social Work reported that family support and acceptance is becoming
increasingly essential for LGB youth. “Family support is a crucial variable in
the mental health of young LGBs, higher than peer support,” wrote Shilo, noting
that it is difficult for LGB teens to separate themselves from unsupportive
families because they are still dependent on them for their
Shilo and his colleague Prof. Riki Savaya conducted a study of
461 self-identified LGB youth aged 16 to 23 to examine how stress related to
being part of a minority group was impacting their mental health. To determine
stress levels, the researchers questioned participants on how they felt about
their family, friends and peer support, as well as their connection to the LGB
community for emotional support. Participants were evaluated for mental distress
and feelings of well-being – the polar negative and positive of mental
While peer support certainly had an impact on the mental health
of participants, the researchers discovered that family support was more central
to their sense of well-being.
A lack of family support was found to
significantly heighten mental distress among the study participants, which can
lead to depression.
In addition, they found that family acceptance had
the strongest positive impact on self-acceptance of sexual
Adult LGBs who lack the support of their families, explained
Shilo, often react by leaving their families behind. They build separate lives
that can include “families of choice,” where peer groups – mainly from the LGB
community – form an alternative family structure and give each other the same
emotional support and sense of belonging that a family is meant to provide. But
this is not always a viable option at a younger age.
adolescents are open about their sexual orientation – and the younger they are,
the more important family connections tend to be, wrote Shilo, who works with
Beit Dror, a shelter for runaway LGB youth in central Tel Aviv supported by the
municipality and the Welfare and Social Services Ministry and the Israel Gay
The average 16-year-old is still in school and
depends on family for financial support, food and shelter. “They can’t just get
up and go.”
The tendency of LGBs to come out earlier in life derives from
social and cultural progress, concluded Shilo. Most adult LGBs knew they were
homosexual or bisexual at the age of nine or 10, he maintained. “The increasing
respect and recognition of the rights of sexual minorities have provided the
encouragement to ‘come out’ at an earlier age,” he wrote.