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Correct Blood Sugar Levels with the Push of a Button

Scientists in Switzerland created a push-button implant that could change the way we self-treat diabetes.

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There’s a lot of research and development focused on improving the lives of people with diabetes by making management more convenient. A recent Interesting Engineering article discussed the latest development, a push-button device that releases engineered human cells. The self-sufficient system was created by a team of scientists at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

It employs piezoelectric medical technology, which allows for certain materials to produce an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress. In other words, a user can simply push an implanted button with the same force as typing on a keyboard and initiate the implant to restore normal sugar levels. The push-button creates electricity that stimulates the cell to release a specific amount of insulin with doses that correlate to how many times the button is pushed.  The concept was proven in a mouse model with type 1 diabetes, and will very likely have human applications soon. A video with more information can be seen here.

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