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Research

 
History of Virtual Diabetes Technology Center

We are finding that continuous glucose monitoring technology makes us more successful in diabetes management. In some respects, continuous glucose monitoring technology development may be the second greatest tool in diabetes care since discovery of insulin. Great strides have been made integrating glucose sensing into insulin therapy for patients with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes that requires insulin. Moreover, we find that continuous glucose monitoring can be very empowering for patients with type 2 diabetes, including those who do not use insulin for treatment. 

Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite, a specialist in diabetes and metabolism, have worked with patients who made great changes in management of type 2 diabetes using glucose monitoring to guide their real-life real-time decisions. We feel that continuous glucose monitoring makes invisible disease visible and manageable.  In a sense, “what is measured, gets managed”. Nobody can do 288 fingerstick glucose measurements to check their glucose levels over 24 hours – continuous glucose monitor measures glucose 288 times without fingerstick, and makes that information accessible on demand. But what shall one do with that information?

We discovered that it is hard to find information about changes in glucose levels, unless one gets a medical school textbook. What happens to glucose if a person with diabetes eats carbohydrates, how is that different in person with diabetes? How long does the meal effect on glucose last? To answer these questions, we decided to create a visual tool available to people with diabetes, their loved ones, and their diabetes teams. This tool does not replace your diabetes educator, but gives you a 6-minute overview about the glucose changes throughout a day. To create this tool Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite (Dr. K.) asked for help from Christina Lorenzo, MS, then student in the Department of Biomedical Visualization. Working with Dr. K., Christina created and refined the visual tool that explains Glucose Changes throughout a day. To refine this tool we tested this tool on doctors, nurses, medical assistants, dietitians, psychologists, nurse practitioners, clinic coordinators and research assistants. Christina Lorenzo graduated from University of Illinois with distinction, and for her research earned the prestigious Vesalius awa​rd.

These events started our Diabetes Technology Initiative. Our mission is to facilitate finding diabetes management resources, create and test new resources, inform and integrate use of those resources in medical practice.

Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite has a special interest to explore the best use of continuous glucose monitoring to help patients with type 2 diabetes, particularly those who are not treated with insulin, and those who just started insulin treatment and want to change their diabetes management by making changes in their lifestyle and food. We started by inviting our patients to share their stories, to tell how continuous glucose monitoring help their lives. 

More information is coming about the research studies at Rush that involve diabetes technology.  

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Christina Lorenzo, MS


Rasa Kazlauskaite, MD