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September 10, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: Dashboard glucose alarm for diabetics — 'Driving with low blood sugar can be even more dangerous than driving drunk'

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Ranit Mishori's story in yesterday's Washington Post Health section has the details; it follows.

    Device helps Keep Diabetic Drivers Under Control

    You might have a Global Positioning System device in your car's dashboard, showing you where to go. You might have a data screen, showing what gas mileage you're getting. Now, if you're a diabetic, particularly one with an extra sensitivity to insulin, you might soon have a device that monitors your blood sugar and warns if you're in danger of blacking out.

    Created by Medtronic Diabetes, the device shown above was unveiled in June. It's aimed at a subset of diabetics, mostly Type 1, whose blood sugar levels fall unusually quickly, resulting in dizziness, confusion, possible seizures or worse.

    Driving with low blood sugar can be even more dangerous than driving drunk, says Daniel Cox, director of the Center for Behavioral Medicine Research at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, "because you can go unconscious, which is not likely to happen with intoxication."

    The dashboard device connects wirelessly to the driver's glucose monitor, a sensor worn on the body that checks blood sugar levels every few minutes. If the reading drops to a dangerous point, a verbal warning is issued through the car's audio system. Then it's up to the driver to take appropriate action: Stop the car, eat a snack and wait — sometimes up to 30 minutes — for the reading to go back to normal.

    September 10, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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