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Worldwide Medical Insurance News: Could airport X-rays damage diabetes monitoring devices?

X-ray or full-body scanners could impact the utility of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) or insulin pump devices, an editorial in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics has stated.

This peer reviewed journal suggested that people who use these tools could present letters from physicians in order to avoid their medical tools being exposed to any imaging equipment in airports.

As a result, diabetics relocating abroad may like to speak to their international healthcare practitioner about this issue.

University of Colorado researchers Andrew Cornish and H Chase pointed out the motor of CGM or insulin delivery tools could experience an electromagnetic malfunction when it goes through security scanners in airports.

However, they admitted the amount of research that has been published into the damage this could cause is somewhat limited.

Senior editor of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics and University of Washington Medical Center professor of medicine Doctor Irl Hirsch called for there to be a greater amount of research in this area.

He pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people all over the world use these tools to control their insulin levels.

On an average day, a massive number of people could subject these devices to machines that could cause malfunctioning, the doctor added.

The professor explained that he provides diabetic travellers with a standard letter, which reads: "This patient's insulin infusion pump should not be exposed to magnetic X-ray equipment, including a full body scanner. Please ensure that this device be hand-checked by TSA [Transport Security Administration] personnel."

Dr Hirsch suggested that education on the issue is particularly important, noting that diabetes care providers are responsible to promote awareness of the problem in their patients.

"It should also be realised that changes in insulin delivery may be more critical for younger children who may be more sensitive to insulin and receiving a lower total daily insulin dose," he added.

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