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Monday, September 30, 2013

Jerry the Diabetic Teddy Bear

For young children with type I diabetes, days are filled with constant monitoring, finger pricking and insulin injections.

But one inventor is aiming to bring these children a bit of comfort during these activities, as well as to teach them the importance of staying healthy, he created a teddy called Jerry the Bear, who also has diabetes.

Aaron Horowitz, CEO of tech startup Sproutel, grew up with a condition called human growth hormone deficiency, which also required frequent injections to treat.

After visiting children with type I diabetes in hospitals, Horowitz said he realized that their feelings of loneliness mirrored his own.

Many of the children had stuffed animals, and projected their medical condition onto their inanimate friends, Horowitz said. In people with Type I diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce the hormone insulin. The children would prick their companions' fingers to test their blood sugar, and cut syringes out of paper to give them insulin injections. 

Children can feed Jerry, regulate his insulin with injections and prick his fingers to monitor his blood sugar. A large, colorful screen in the center of Jerry's chest provides not only a medical readout, but a space for children to play games.

Horowitz made Jerry's condition into a game. Children must monitor Jerry's health very closely, because - as they will learn through storybook sequences and touch pad games - the bear is training for the Olympics, and won't let his disease stand in the way.

Read the full article at LiveScience




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