Nightscout Helps Monitor Type 1 Diabetes Anywhere
The Nightscout Project is an example of what passionate individuals can do when they are tired of waiting for the medical community to find answers. In fact, the mantra of the DIY group involved with the Nightscout Project is “We are not waiting.”
Nightscout is a CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) in the cloud (network of servers) project that allows children with type 1 diabetes, their parents, and others involved in the welfare of people with this form of diabetes, to remotely monitor sugar levels via a variety of common tech devices. The effort was initiated by John Costik, an engineer, whose young son Evan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and now dedicated volunteers help keep the project rolling.
Basically, here’s how it works. The person with type 1 diabetes to be monitored must have a Dexcom (aka Platinum) continuous glucose monitoring receiver. The Nightscout system allows you to attach any web-connected device (e.g., iPhone, tablet, iPad, PC, iMac, or Kindle) to the Dexcom, which can then send the glucose readings to the cloud.
Then, anxious parents and other loved ones can keep a close eye on the glucose levels of their children wherever they are; for example, while they are in school, at a friend’s house, out playing, or away at camp. Nightscout offers peace of mind.
What do you need?
The minimum number of items you need to make Nightscout work for you are listed here. Information on how to perform the necessary installations, plus optional devices you may want to consider, can be found on the Nightscout website.
- A Dexcom G4 (Platinum) receiver. This device provides continuous glucose monitoring data wirelessly
- An Android smartphone capable of supporting USB OTG (on-the-go). The sole purpose of the smartphone is to send data from the receiver to the cloud
- USB OTG cable so you can connect your smartphone to the receiver
- A micro-USB to USB male cable that allows you to connect your receiver to the OTG cable
- Access to WiFi
- Free software and databases that allow you to store and read the data. All the information is provided on the Nightscout website, including how to do the setup. According to the Nightscout Project, the instructions on how to install and synchronize all the components are easy to follow, and you do not need to be a computer nerd to succeed.
Once everything is installed and synchronized, parents can check their personal website from any internet-ready device to see their child’s glucose readings.
What does Nightscout cost?
The initial setup cost is about $100. If you choose to add optional items that will customize your system, the cost will be more.
Monthly operating costs can be completely free if you stay with the minimum setup. However, if you opt for an additional iPhone or other equipment, for example, you will incur the costs associated with their use.
Parents of children with type 1 diabetes may get some peace of mind by using this CGM in the cloud tool. Interested individuals should check out the Nightscout Facebook page as well as the Nightscout website and also discuss the idea with their child’s doctor.