Twin Cities Doctor Uses Technology, Personal Experience to Help Type 1 Diabetes Patients

February 28, 2018 04:16 PM

Endocrinologist Jennifer McVean with University of Minnesota Health works to help her young patients find balance.

Patients like 7-year-old Logan Kearns, who has Type 1 Diabetes. Together the two of them meticulously examine his eating and exercise schedule, identifying the times when his blood sugar is high and low.


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"I can tell when I'm low," Logan said. "My legs are shaky."

Dr. McVean knows about all the worries. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 30 years ago, and that's one of the reasons she relates to her patients so well.

"People with Type 1 Diabetes never get a peaceful night of sleep," she said. "There's that fear of hypoglycemia. They are always saying, 'What happens if my blood sugar gets low in the middle of the night? Will I wake up?'"

Fortunately, research and technology are helping. For instance, new, high-tech pumps can do a lot of thinking for patients. They continually sense and monitor blood sugar levels. Some of the newer ones even come with their own apps and Bluetooth.

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"I can't tell you what a life-changer this has been for my patients and their families," McVean said.

McVean is also part of a team of University of Minnesota researchers working to predict and prevent Type 1 Diabetes with a blood test before it occurs in certain patients. The research is in clinical trials right now.


Ellen Galles

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