Archives for category: Pediatrics

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Diabetes is a chronic disease of the body’s inability to control blood sugar leading to, among other issues, amputations, vision loss, cardiovascular problems and nerve damage. Those with Type I diabetes often are born with the disease, and are diagnosed because of uncontrolled glucose levels and the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, which is a hormone that helps to pull sugar out of the bloodstream and convert it to usable energy. The pancreas also produces the hormone glucagon, which works conversely of insulin and increases glucose levels in the body.

Those with type I diabetes must constantly monitor their body’s blood sugar and regulate it by sticking a needle into their body to deliver insulin. This old method is thankfully being upgraded according to a bionic pancreas whose effectiveness was confirmed in a study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, carried out by researchers at Boston University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

In two similar studies performed, adolescents and adults (over 21) were given a bihormonal (insulin and glucagon) pancreas to test which required only an iPhone and small subcutaneous device to deliver injections. Over 5 days, subjects were encouraged to eat and drink as normal while the device monitored their body’s response to meals. The device itself involved an iPhone which ran an algorithm which monitored glucose levels, and commanded the hardware interface to deliver specific levels of insulin or glucagon as needed through subcutaneous injection. Amazingly, this system updates every five minutes and adjusts hormone level as needed.

While this system is not for home sale yet, with such positive outcomes it will hopefully be on the consumer market soon.


The factors involved in developmental disorders such as autism are complicated and numerous. Some of the known and common characteristics that children have are decreased eye contact, delayed social and communicative skills and possible altered sensory response.

People, including children, can be unpredictable and impatient. This patience can be especially limited for those with delays in speech, communication, and interaction. Social interaction, like everything else, takes practice, and this is a great, simple device which allows the facilitation of those social skills which a child may be lacking.

The Keepon Pro is a simply designed robot that hides its more complex function. It is an interactive robot which can maintain eye contact, convey attention by turning and nodding, and express emotion by rocking side to side and bouncing up and down. This allows children with developmental disorders to, among other things, practice social interaction in a safe and predictable environment. Having handled one of these, I can say that it is a small simple device that reacts to the amount of pressure that you press it with, so there is definitely a feedback component.

At least one study  has shown that Keepon encourages children to be socially interactive and share their emotion and attention with others.

Full-size image (32 K)

Kozima H, Nakagawa C, Yasuda Y. Child-robot interaction: a pilot study in autism therapy. Progress in Brain Research. 2007; pp385-400.

I was told they were on sale for about $30-40 but sold out, so I am not sure of where they are for sale now and was not able to find the information on their site. You are able to download a 2D version on your iOS device.