Stephen W. Ponder, MD: Technologies in Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes Care


Dr. Ponder discusses the importance of both clinician and patient learning about new diabetic technologies, focusing on their utility and limitations in the care process.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Stephen W. Ponder, MD, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, discussed the use of technologies and devices in pediatric type 1 diabetes care and how clinicians can better understand its functionality.

Ponder recently presented a talk entitled, "What’s New in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Care?" at the 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics Virtual Meeting.

"I think it's important that pediatricians not be caught off guard, and they be aware of what's out there, and what's available to their patients, because they'll be coming in with all sorts of new technologies and devices these days," Ponder said.

He discussed living with type 1 diabetes himself for his entire life and now pursuing care in children with the same condition. He pointed to both the 100 year anniversary of insulin and the introduction of the first insulin pump in 1956.

Ponder noted that any device, whether an insulin pump or glucose sensor, is no better or worse at maintenance than the operator who is using the technology.

"I think it's important to take the message home, that know these devices have to be maintained, they have to be operated, they do not know the actions of the user that's wearing them," Ponder said.

Ponder discussed the human gap between the ideal outcome and the device's limitations to override the person's timing of an insulin dose or when they choose to eat, if the information is not given to the device.

He pointed to hybrid closed loop insulin pump devices and continuous glucose monitoring where the algorithm is able to regulate delivery, but stressed the need for patients and caretakers to have training on the devices to recognize deficiencies in their use.

Even further, he explained how age is not a limiting factor for the use of diabetic technologies, but it is necessary for both clinicians and patient's families to be a part of the equation and have the desire to use the technology.

"You can't compel somebody to use an insulin pump," Ponder said, "You can't compel somebody to wear a glucose sensor. It's a failed effort if they're not part of the equation."

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