AiS Challenge Team Interim


Team Number: 040

School Name: Lovington High School

Area of Science: Biomedical Engineering

Project Title: Can Diabetes be Controlled by Mathmatics?



For our project we hope to create a program to aid diabetics in monitoring and stabilizing their blood sugar level. We will do this by calculating the interaction between intake of glucose (through food) and insulin levels and inserting the results into mathematical formulas.


Every year there is around 800,000 new cases of diabetes. Currently in the United States there over 5.5 million cases treated, and doctors estimate that there are thousands more people who have the disease and are unaware of it. Diabetes can be a life threatening disease if left untreated. It can result in blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and nerve damage. Diabetics must control their condition by proper diet and exercise, and at times insulin injections.

All of the carbohydrates and proteins that a person eats are broken down into glucose throughout the digestion process, and especially in the small intestine. From here, this glucose then enters the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to rise. Cells for energy need this glucose, and even though it is in the blood stream, it is not actually in the cells themselves. Glucose requires another chemical, insulin, to enter into the cells. Insulin acts as a receptor on the surface of cells, allowing the glucose to enter and be used as energy.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. It is a long, folded chain of amino acids. From the pancreas it diffuses into the bloodstream where it can be utilized. Rising blood sugar triggers the pancreas to release more insulin.

Diabetes occurs when there is an insufficient amount or type of insulin produced, causing high blood sugar (glucose in the blood stream, but not being able to be used). There are two types of diabetes mellitus, referred to type one and type two.

Only 5- 10% of diabetics have type one, however it is the most serious type. It is often referred to juvenile diabetes because most cases appear before the age of thirty. It occurs when there is very little or no insulin produced by the pancreases. This is due to beta cells within the pancreas being destroyed. There is some evidence that suggest that it is triggered by a virus or poor nutrition, that changes the pancreatic cells in a way that prompts the immune system to attack the beta cells. Because there is a lack of insulin being produced, blood sugar rises without being able to be used as energy. This results in cell's being unable to perform other tasks.

Type two diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, accounts from 90% of the known cases of diabetes. In type two diabetes, the pancreas continues to produce insulin, but the body develops a resistance to its effects. The cause of type two diabetes is not completely known, although there are links to obesity and genetics.


From this we intend to break down and name various processes that the body uses to metabolize glucose. Each of these processes has a mathematical model that will simulate the breakdown and usage of glucose in the blood stream. After the mathematical processes have been determined we intend to write a program using MATLAB or C++ to graphically simulate the metabolism.

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