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November 5, 2013 8:33 pm

Israel’s NightSense Medical Device Start-Up to Protect Diabetics From Hypoglycemia When Asleep

avatar by Joshua Levitt

The NightSense medical device for diabetics is built to resemble a watch. Photo: NightSense.

The NightSense medical device for diabetics is built to resemble a watch. Photo: NightSense.

Israeli medical device start-up NightSense has developed an application to alert sleeping diabetics if their blood sugar suddenly falls at night, a medical emergency called hypoglycemia, Israeli business daily Globes reported on Tuesday.

The company estimates that each day there are 200,000 severe hypoglycemic attacks, when insulin flushes sugar from the body faster than the patient can produce it, with 5 per cent of juvenile diabetes sufferers dying from it.

NightSense was developed by three Israelis — Gadi Kan-Tor, Yoav Kan-Tor and Shy Hefetz — who specialize in creating medical devices.  Kan-Tor, whose research and development experience is from the Israel Defense Force’s Satellite Unit, is a diabetic and served as a guinea pig for their product trials.

The product resembles a watch. It analyzes subtle changes in the movement of the patient’s hand that indicate changes in pulse and heart activity.

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“There are ten motions that are recognized by doctors as being affected by hypoglycemia. Not every patient will exhibit the same symptoms, nor will they exhibit them with the same intensity. Therefore, we customize the product for each individual patient, according to his or her ‘classic’ gestures when lying still,” Kan-Tor told Globes.

“We spoke to doctors and they told us that they prescribe lower insulin doses than the patient really needs, due to their fear of its negative effects during the night,” Kan-Tor said.

However, high daily blood-sugar levels causes damage to kidneys, eyes, and the extremities.

“The doctors said, ‘if you solve the night problem, we will be able to give the correct dosage,'” he said.

The company received $200,000 from the Tnufa fund, along with an additional investment from the founders and is currently seeking further funding. It plans to begin clinical trials in 2014.

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