Robohub.org
 

Machine-learning method used for self-driving cars could improve lives of type-1 diabetes patients

by
17 June 2023



share this:

Artificial Pancreas System with Reinforcement Learning. Image credit: Harry Emerson

Scientists at the University of Bristol have shown that reinforcement learning, a type of machine learning in which a computer program learns to make decisions by trying different actions, significantly outperforms commercial blood glucose controllers in terms of safety and effectiveness. By using offline reinforcement learning, where the algorithm learns from patient records, the researchers improve on prior work, showing that good blood glucose control can be achieved by learning from the decisions of the patient rather than by trial and error.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most prevalent auto-immune conditions in the UK and is characterised by an insufficiency of the hormone insulin, which is responsible for blood glucose regulation.

Many factors affect a person’s blood glucose and therefore it can be a challenging and burdensome task to select the correct insulin dose for a given scenario. Current artificial pancreas devices provide automated insulin dosing but are limited by their simplistic decision-making algorithms.

However a new study, published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, shows offline reinforcement learning could represent an important milestone of care for people living with the condition. The largest improvement was in children, who experienced an additional one-and-a-half hours in the target glucose range per day.

Children represent a particularly important group as they are often unable to manage their diabetes without assistance and an improvement of this size would result in markedly better long-term health outcomes.

Lead author Harry Emerson from Bristol’s Department of Engineering Mathematics, explained: “My research explores whether reinforcement learning could be used to develop safer and more effective insulin dosing strategies.

“These machine learning driven algorithms have demonstrated superhuman performance in playing chess and piloting self-driving cars, and therefore could feasibly learn to perform highly personalised insulin dosing from pre-collected blood glucose data.

“This particular piece of work focuses specifically on offline reinforcement learning, in which the algorithm learns to act by observing examples of good and bad blood glucose control.

“Prior reinforcement learning methods in this area predominantly utilise a process of trial-and-error to identify good actions, which could expose a real-world patient to unsafe insulin doses.”

Due to the high risk associated with incorrect insulin dosing, experiments were performed using the FDA-approved UVA/Padova simulator, which creates a suite of virtual patients to test type 1 diabetes control algorithms. State-of-the-art offline reinforcement learning algorithms were evaluated against one of the most widely used artificial pancreas control algorithms. This comparison was conducted across 30 virtual patients (adults, adolescents and children) and considered 7,000 days of data, with performance being evaluated in accordance with current clinical guidelines. The simulator was also extended to consider realistic implementation challenges, such as measurement errors, incorrect patient information and limited quantities of available data.

This work provides a basis for continued reinforcement learning research in glucose control; demonstrating the potential of the approach to improve the health outcomes of people with type 1 diabetes, while highlighting the method’s shortcomings and areas of necessary future development.

The researchers’ ultimate goal is to deploy reinforcement learning in real-world artificial pancreas systems. These devices operate with limited patient oversight and consequently will require significant evidence of safety and effectiveness to achieve regulatory approval.

Harry added: ”This research demonstrates machine learning’s potential to learn effective insulin dosing strategies from the pre-collected type 1 diabetes data. The explored method outperforms one of the most widely used commercial artificial pancreas algorithms and demonstrates an ability to leverage a person’s habits and schedule to respond more quickly to dangerous events.”




University of Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK.
University of Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK.





Related posts :



Open Robotics Launches the Open Source Robotics Alliance

The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) is pleased to announce the creation of the Open Source Robotics Alliance (OSRA), a new initiative to strengthen the governance of our open-source robotics so...

Robot Talk Episode 77 – Patricia Shaw

In the latest episode of the Robot Talk podcast, Claire chatted to Patricia Shaw from Aberystwyth University all about home assistance robots, and robot learning and development.
18 March 2024, by

Robot Talk Episode 64 – Rav Chunilal

In the latest episode of the Robot Talk podcast, Claire chatted to Rav Chunilal from Sellafield all about robotics and AI for nuclear decommissioning.
31 December 2023, by

AI holidays 2023

Thanks to those that sent and suggested AI and robotics-themed holiday videos, images, and stories. Here’s a sample to get you into the spirit this season....
31 December 2023, by and

Faced with dwindling bee colonies, scientists are arming queens with robots and smart hives

By Farshad Arvin, Martin Stefanec, and Tomas Krajnik Be it the news or the dwindling number of creatures hitting your windscreens, it will not have evaded you that the insect world in bad shape. ...
31 December 2023, by

Robot Talk Episode 63 – Ayse Kucukyilmaz

In the latest episode of the Robot Talk podcast, Claire chatted to Ayse Kucukyilmaz from the University of Nottingham about collaboration, conflict and failure in human-robot interactions.
31 December 2023, by





Robohub is supported by:




Would you like to learn how to tell impactful stories about your robot or AI system?


scicomm
training the next generation of science communicators in robotics & AI


©2024 - Association for the Understanding of Artificial Intelligence


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association