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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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IBM’s Watson Matches Wits With Diabetes

IBM’s super computer Watson is moving further into medicine thanks to a new partnership with Northridge’s Medtronic Diabetes, a division of medical device company Medtronic of Dublin, Ireland. Last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, one of the biggest technology trade shows in the world, Medtronic Chief Executive Omar Ishrak and IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty debuted a prototype for a diabetes management app that has the ability to predict changes in blood sugar up to three hours prior to a low-sugar episode. The app utilizes Watson’s predictive technology to analyze data collected from Medtronic diabetes monitoring devices, allowing users with the disease to better manage glucose intake. Medtronic is one of the largest makers of insulin pumps and has worked in recent years to improve its blood glucose monitoring technology with wireless transmitters that send data via the Internet to a website for viewing by patients and doctors. At CES, both chief executives conducted a demonstration with 600 diabetic patients’ data, exhibiting how Watson detects indicators of irregular blood sugar hours in advance. Diabetes, a metabolic disorder where the body can’t manage how much sugar is in the bloodstream, affects almost 400 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Too much sugar can damage organs and tissues. Too little sugar can lead to loss of consciousness, coma or even death. “It’s really designed to be a personal assistant to help someone who is living with diabetes with all the daily decisions they are tasked with making,” said Pamela Reese, senior manager of public relations at Medtronic Diabetes. Pending regulatory review, the first version of the app is scheduled for release this summer. – Stephanie Henkel

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