Florida 6th grade student presents poster on artificial pancreas experiment among PhDs at INFORMS Healthcare Conference in Nashville

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Ashley Smith
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NASHVILLE, TN, July 16, 2015 – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), the leading professional association in analytics and operations research, is hosting its third Healthcare Conference with a far reaching series of presentations about the growing importance of analytics in healthcare. INFORMS Healthcare 2015 takes place July 29-31 at the Omni Nashville Hotel. It will feature 450 talks that span academia and business, helping decision makers better understand the value of analytics as a competitive driver in healthcare.

The conference will feature a special guest. Sixth grader Sean Berkan Subasi of Freedom 7 Elementary School in Cocoa Beach, Florida will present a poster on his science fair experiment examining the use of an artificial pancreas to treat diabetics. Sean conducted three types of experiments to evaluate the performance of an artificial pancreatic device. Sean became interested in diabetes because several of his grade school classmates are diabetic. His parents are Prof. Ersoy Surbasi of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, who will attend the conference, and Prof. Munevver Mine Subasi of the Florida Institute of Technology.

Watch a video of Sean at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5f0i6Zo1NY.

“The key lesson I learned,” says Sean, “was the value of applying math, science, and engineering in medicine to help people with chronic diseases so that they could avoid having other health related complications and live a stress-free life like everyone else."

The poster session will take place on Wednesday, July 29 from 2-3:30 PM ET at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

A summary of Sean’s experiments/poster is below:

Researchers investigate developing devices that automatically administer the right amount of insulin needed to manage high glucose levels; however, such devices are not available to diabetics yet. The most developed diabetic treatment is a pump that, other than requiring manual input, is fully automatic. The idea of developing a fully automatic artificial pancreatic device is promising and is an area of active research. 

The goal of Sean’s project is to develop an “Artificial Pancreas Model” mimicking an artificial pancreas device (auto-correcting insulin pump) that can be used by people with Type 1 diabetes, and explore the challenges of getting such a device to work. Sean developed an automated system that uses the acid-base chemical reaction to simulate an auto-correcting device in which the right amount of a basic solution (representing insulin) is added to an acidic solution (representing high blood glucose level) until the chemical reaction stops – the mixed solution is neutralized (representing normal glucose level in blood).

He conducted three types of experiments to evaluate the performance of the artificial pancreas device that he developed:

(1) the pump is turned off manually;

(2) the pump stops automatically; and

(3) the model is tested on solutions with different amounts of baking soda solution (substituting for insulin) and vinegar (high-glucose level) mixed together, and then normalized to the different mixed solutions, one at a time (each one representing a different person). 

Experiments 1 and 2 showed that an automated pump can more accurately detect the right amount of insulin (baking soda) needed to manage the high glucose levels than a manual pump. The results of Experiment 3 presented the possibility of calibrating an automated pump based on the personalized settings of patients with different insulin needs.

Additional information about the conference is at http://meetings2.informs.org/wordpress/healthcare2015/.

Contact at INFORMS Conference in Nashville: Jeff Cohen, INFORMS Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, 443-228-6488, jeff.cohen@informs.org.

About INFORMS

INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in analytics and operations research (O.R.). INFORMS advances research, and develops and promotes best practices in analytics and O.R. through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development. INFORMS helps business, government, and other organization professionals make better decisions to drive value to their organizations and society. Our certification program (CAP®), highly cited publications, educational meetings and conferences, continuing education, industry and process-focused networking communities, competitions, and recognition provide professionals with the knowledge and connections they need to achieve ever greater value for their organizations. Further information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is at www.informs.org or @informs.

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