What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an illness that develops in people from all ranges of ages due to high blood sugar levels. Those who have this disease lack insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas which turns the glucose from food into energy for your body. Therefore in order to decrease their blood sugar levels, diabetics must take daily insulin shots.
You may have already heard about the different types of diabetes before. In type 1 diabetes, a persons body doesn’t have any insulin because their immune system attacks their pancreas and kills the cells that make it. Type 1 diabetes can develop in anyone, but it is most commonly found in children and adolescents. In type 2 diabetes, a persons body cannot properly use the insulin that is released. It develops mostly in adults but can also be found in children.
What is it?
I’ve always wondered how diabetics, especially young ones, can with stand the pain of insulin injections everyday. But scientists and researchers have just recently created a prototype solution to this problem. The new invention is a swallowable pill that can inject the body from the inside.
How does it work?
In order to make each pill as safe as possible, the researchers made the capsule out of a biodegradable polyester and with a lightweight stainless steel cap, which is designed to orient the pill to the bottom of the stomach where it can rest cap down. There, the needle, composed of dried insulin which was held in place with a disc of sugar, sticks itself into the lining of the stomach. Once the acid in the stomach dissolves the sugar, the insulin is injected and after that the needle too starts to dissolve. Then finally, the rest of the pill passes through the digestive system. Now many may wonder if the injection of the needle from inside the stomach would hurt, but thankfully the answer is no. The pill is designed to orient itself to the 4mm-6mm wall of the stomach where there are no pain receptors, making the injection completely painless.
The prototype of the pill was tested on pigs to assure it’s safety and success and although it worked and there was no sign of damage to the animal, there was still one slight problem. The pill didn’t work when the animals had food or drink in their stomachs, mainly because the food would clog the pill making it difficult for the needle to spring out. Researchers have now fixed this problem by adding a silicone outer layer, but more issues still continue to rise, such as daily pricking leading to swelling in the stomach.
I find this invention to be quite revolutionary and helpful to the advancement of medicine, and to those who cringe at the sight of a needle. And once perfected, this device can be used for all kinds of diseases and immunizations, making the lives of many much better.