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Disrupting Non-Communicable Diseases

by: Courtney Steininger

Today, people are living longer. Communicable diseases, such as influenza or malaria, are killing people at much lower rates, thus allowing people to live longer With longer lifespans, we have seen an increase in non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Just as there were many innovations that lead to the decline in communicable diseases, I predict that new technologies that allow people to better manage their non-communicable diseases will once again lead to a shift in population geographies that affect our global society.

Based on my personal knowledge of diabetes specifically, I believe that the first fully closed loop system for diabetes management will be one of these technologies that completely disrupts the current way of doing things. I also believe that this system will exist in some form in the not-so-distant future.

A fully closed loop system would monitor an individuals blood glucose levels and insulin levels, while automatically making adjustments without additional inputs from the user. This innovation would allow a person with diabetes to merely use this wearable technology without having to worry about their blood glucose levels, food intake, or the effects of exercise. It would likely improve the control that individuals with diabetes have over their blood glucose levels, as well as allow for less stress and more freedom.

There are clearly both benefits and detriments from this type of technology. It will further extend the lives of people with diabetes, allowing them to spend more time in the workforce. The increased control will allow people with diabetes to suffer from fewer complications, and therefore take off less time from work. Additionally, the increased freedom will allow people with diabetes to have more flexibility in their diets. The only downside of this is that people with diabetes may be less apt to control their weight, and could suffer from other health problems as a result.

About 371 million people globally have diabetes. While it may seem like a small improvement to those unfamiliar with diabetes, this type of technology could ultimately have a major economic impact in the health sector.

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