July 28, 2010
No More Finger Sticks: Implantable Blood Glucose Monitor Is Great News For Diabetics
A new implantable blood glucose monitor that is in the works is good news for diabetics who have to do finger sticks four times a day. According to the Great Beyond,
[r]esearchers have developed an implantable sensor that can monitor blood-sugar levels and send the data wirelessly to an external receiver. The team has used the device in pigs for over a year, and is hoping it will work successfully in humans with diabetes. Diabetics have to routinely measure their blood glucose by pricking their fingers and reading the levels with a small meter, in order to keep the blood sugar in check.
'Four finger sticks per day to measure glucose levels is the current standard of care, but blood glucose can go on significant excursions between sticks,' says David Gough, an author of the study from the University of California in San Diego. 'In contrast, the long-term implanted glucose monitor would provide continuous monitoring day and night.'
The sensor could aid diabetes patients to adjust the timing and dosage of insulin, as well as minimizing the risk of potentially life-threatening hypoglycaemia—low blood sugar—resulting from too high a dose of insulin or the insulin absorbing too fast. It could also help type-2 diabetes patients to balance their diet and exercise plans.
July 25, 2010
Britain Plans to Decentralize Health Care
Britain's new coalition government is proposing "the most radical reorganization of the National Health Service, as the system is called, since its inception in 1948." The NY Times reports that
[p]ractical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.
The plan would also shrink the bureaucratic apparatus, in keeping with the government’s goal to effect $30 billion in “efficiency savings” in the health budget by 2014 and to reduce administrative costs by 45 percent. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost because layers of bureaucracy would be abolished.
In a document, or white paper, outlining the plan, the government admitted that the changes would “cause significant disruption and loss of jobs.” But it said: “The current architecture of the health system has developed piecemeal, involves duplication and is unwieldy. Liberating the N.H.S., and putting power in the hands of patients and clinicians, means we will be able to effect a radical simplification, and remove layers of management.”