Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Biology 101

We are studying enzymes this week in high school biology. Labs? William is his own lab. He called to me while he was reading that the chapter dealt a great deal with enzymes used to detect glucose levels in blood and urine. In the book, they show how basic test strips can be used in testing.

So what about the CGM? Continuous glucose monitors also use enzymes, glucose oxidase. Our reading in Biology Matters, a text by Singapore Math, said that enzymes are catalysts to reactions, breaking down the substrate but leaving the original enzyme unchanged. So why, we wondered, does the CGM sensor wear out in a week or two? What is happening to those enzymes?

A little Googling, and I found the explanation on Diabetes Forecast:

All day, every day, the immune system is on the hunt for foreign agents in the body to destroy. Normally, that’s a good thing, as it wipes out viruses, unhealthy bacteria, and even cancer cells. But it’s bad news for a glucose sensor that the body sees as an invader. The super-secret ingredients in CGM sensors are the coatings that help persuade the immune system to leave the sensor alone. “The key to the intellectual property is tricking the body,” says Pacelli. “Ultimately, the body wins.”

So the enzymes are under attack by the body, ultimately getting through the coatings. If you want to understand more about how a CGM works, go to Diabetes Forecast

It is rewarding and amazing when what we are studying helps us to understand real world applications. Now on to more prep for Thanksgiving which will be a special kind of biology and diabetes lab. Loads of carbs and insulin to balance!

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