Frequently Asked Questions
Why do they call it “Artificial Pancreas” Treatment?
During our treatment the uniquely-designed and programmed pump is mimicking the pancreas of a healthy person when they eat carbohydrates (e.g. sugar) – sending pulses of insulin to the liver. These pulses trigger the liver to produce at least 33 different enzymes which are necessary for the cells in the body to metabolize carbohydrates.
When these cells metabolize carbohydrates they produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the chemical energy a cell requires to perform its function in the body.
For most people with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) their liver is not properly receiving the oscillations of insulin from the pancreas and therefore, is not producing and secreting the enzymes required for proper metabolism. The core problem of diabetes is improper cellular metabolism – high blood sugar is a symptom of this core problem.
Using a standard insulin pump that many people with diabetes use today, even if it is programmed to deliver insulin in pulses, will not achieve the results described above. This is because, with these pumps, the insulin is delivered under the skin, and by the time the insulin is received by the liver, any pulse is sufficiently blunted. The required insulin concentration and oscillation threshold is not achieved. Many of the required metabolic enzymes are therefore not produced.
With the APT therapy, the pulses are delivered intravenously and within 4 seconds the liver will experience the appropriate oscillations. Thus, the liver will be activated to produce and excrete the required metabolic enzymes. The cells throughout the body will be fed and begin to function properly.
How do you know the cells are properly metabolizing carbohydrates?
In the clinic, we use a metabolic measurement system that was originally designed for sports medicine and cardiology departments. This machine (on a wheeled cart fitted with separate tubes for multiple patients) measures the volume of carbon dioxide breathed out (expired) while the patient is at rest and is used to monitor the treatment and provide information for dosing.
When a person with diabetes is first measured before starting the treatment, their carbon dioxide output is low relative to a healthy person. This is because they are not metabolizing carbohydrates.
When they finish sessions of Artificial Pancreas Treatment the carbon dioxide expiration numbers will be almost three times higher indicating that they are achieving complete carbohydrate metabolism. The higher the carbon dioxide numbers the better the cells are metabolizing sugar and more cellular energy is being created in the cells.
Why is it so important to metabolize carbohydrates?
When the cells are able to metabolize carbohydrates, the mitochondria in the cells are able to create at least ten times more ATP (adenosine triphosphate) than they do when the cells are metabolizing lipids (fat). ATP is the main energy source for the majority of cellular functions. When the cells have more ATP, they are able to begin to perform the functions for which they were designed. Also, when the cells are metabolizing carbohydrates, they do not need the extra oxygen that fat metabolism requires, and this need for extra oxygen is counter-productive.
When the cells are not able to metabolize carbohydrates (even though the glucose is in the blood and tissue right next to the cells) they are often unable to effectively perform their functions. Thus, depending on genetic predisposition and which cells are more susceptible, the associated complications of diabetes result (nerve, kidney, heart, vision, blood pressure, etc.)
How long is an APT Office visit?
Typically, in one clinic visit, the patient receives three one-hour sessions with a break between sessions. At the end of the last session, the patient rests for 10-15 minutes before leaving the clinic to be sure all blood sugar levels are stabilized. Therefore, the total time in the clinic will be approximately 4 hours depending on the patient.
How long do I go between treatments?
When the patient first starts the treatment, we recommend two treatments on two consecutive days in order to more quickly reawaken the liver to produce the enzymes needed for proper metabolism and to be able to maintain better storage of glycogen. Then the patient will typically return from 1 to 4 times a month based on the body’s ability to maintain its carbon dioxide output levels. This is an indication of the liver’s ability to “maintain its charge” between sessions.
At a minimum, the patient should continue the therapy until all of the serious complications of diabetes have stopped and, when possible, have reversed. At that point, you may be able to reduce the frequency of your visits or stop for blocks of time until and unless the side-effects return.
Every patient’s body responds a little differently and the time before the side-effects return will vary.
Ultimately, we hope that someday there will be breakthroughs in finding a cure for diabetes or new more-effective medications. In the meantime, the goal of the APT therapy is to maintain as healthy a body as possible.
How should I expect to feel?
During the Therapy
During the therapy you should expect to feel normal with an increased feeling of well-being. In some cases, it may take several sessions for this feeling of well-being.
Patients often feel a resurgence of blood flow throughout the body where it has been lacking before.
Some patients sleep during the treatment, some remain even more active than normal, it depends upon how ill the patient is before beginning treatments.
Right after the Therapy
Because the body may also be producing its own insulin, some patients may feel hunger for carbohydrates. If they do, they should take carbohydrates and check their blood sugar.
Most patients report a very sound night’s sleep as APT reestablishes the circadian rhythm of blood pressures.
After On-Going Therapy
Patients report feeling progressively better with each therapy session. They will very often begin to feel their feet if they haven’t been able to for several years. Their eyesight will get clearer and colors will seem more vivid, if this had been a problem in the past. Their skin color will improve due to proper metabolism. They will even see wounds beginning to heal and old scars improve.
Patients report a general sense of well-being after 3-5 treatments.
Patients will continue to feel better with more energy in all areas of their body. Thus report having less daily fatigue, will usually regain any lost sexual function, and reduce their diabetes related depression. If they had any wounds these wounds will all be well on their way to healing or totally healed. Patients with neuropathy should be feeling their feet again and when there were problems, eyesight should be improving with no further laser treatments. Other expected improvements are listed in later sections below.
Do I continue to see my current doctor?
The Artificial Pancreas Treatment does not cure diabetes. APT only stops or retards the complications of diabetes from getting worse and, in most cases, reverses these complications. Individuals receiving the APT treatment should continue to see their current doctor and follow his/her recommendations between therapy sessions. When not at the clinic, the patient should continue to take their medications including insulin, if the patient was on insulin, and continue to control their blood sugar. Our experience is that the amount of medication required, or the amount of insulin administered, will be reduced the longer that the patient is on the APT therapy.
Does insurance cover this treatment?
Most insurance carriers are providing coverage, including Medicare.
Our goal is to help as many patients as possible to improve their health, and we have developed several programs. Patients who are not covered by insurance are either using medical credit cards or making cash payments until they obtain insurance. We are willing to work on a patient-by-patient basis.