Painful, inconvenient injections may soon be a thing of the past for diabetics thanks to the development of a new insulin patch. The innovative smart-technology delivery system may also help to prevent diabetes-related hair loss.
Insulin patch tests
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed an insulin patch for diabetics that uses smart technology.
Their study, reported on the Futurity website, explains how the small patch (pictured), which is covered in ‘microneedles’, successfully delivered insulin to mice when their blood sugar levels exceeded a certain threshold. This, in turn, then lowered their blood glucose for up to nine hours. However, as mice are less sensitive to insulin it is believed the patch could have a longer-lasting blood sugar-stabilising effect on humans.
Zhen Gu, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and at North Carolina State University, says: “We have designed a patch for diabetes that works fast, is easy to use, and is made from non-toxic, bio-compatible materials… The whole system can be personalised to account for a diabetic’s weight and sensitivity to insulin, so we could make the smart patch even smarter.”
The professor also confirmed that the team’s aim is ‘to develop a smart insulin patch that patients would only have to change every few days’.
Insulin and hair loss
The cutting-edge smart patch is clearly promising for helping people with diabetes to manage their condition, but it could also help to prevent the thinning hair associated with it.
Belgravia senior trichologist, Leonora Doclis, explains, “The act of injecting insulin is unlikely to cause hair loss, however, hair loss can happen while you try to balance your insulin levels. Diabetes and an insulin imbalance – whether too much or too little – can lead to hair loss conditions.”
Hair loss in diabetics is generally caused by a temporary condition known as Telogen Effluvium which causes thinning hair from all over the scalp and can last up to 12 months. On-going issues with managing insulin levels can lead to a more severe version of this condition, known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium, which lasts a minimum of 12 months. Both of these hair loss conditions can also then spark genetic hair loss in those with a genetic predisposition.
As this patch is programmed to release insulin only when needed, it helps to ensure levels remain stable which, in turn, could help to prevent any hair loss-triggering imbalances.
Treating hair loss from diabetes
There are effective hair loss treatments for the two main conditions responsible for shedding in diabetics.
Treatment for Telogen Effluvium is based around topical applications of minoxidil – a treatment that is licensed for the treatment of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss but which has also produced significant regrowth for Belgravia clients with other hair loss conditions. High strength minoxidil has also been seen to produce significant regrowth results when used as a Chronic Telogen Effluvium treatment.
Anyone concerned about hair loss sparked by their diabetes, or any other medical condition, should consult a hair loss specialist for a professional diagnosis and personalised treatment recommendations. They will also be able to advise as to whether you are showing any signs of hereditary hair loss which may have been triggered simultaneously, and devise a bespoke regrowth plan to combat hair loss from both conditions.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.