Diabetes: A Simulation Model for Human-Environment Interaction in Health and Disease

L. Mehl-Madrona (Canada, USA)


Modelling, simulation, diabetes, insulin, diet, and stresss


Human disease is too often considered in isolation from the environment, both natural and social. This computer simulation effort aims to reproduce the effects of interactions with the natural environment (food, climate, geography, activity) and the social environment (stress, support, beliefs, and values) on diabetes control. The current version of the model accepts 11 different food types in differing amounts and at different times, leaks glucose into the blood stream from each compartment of the digestive system (stomach antrum, body, and pylorus; duodenum; jejunum; ilium; and large intestine) in accordance with amounts consumed and type of food, and responds to environmental stress levels and activity levels. It reproduces typical excursions in serum glucose and insulin levels over the course of a day. It iterates every minute and shows the interaction of variables in regulating glucose control. Efforts are underway currently to include climate and other environmental variables in the simulation which may be useful for physicians, students, and people with diabetes for understanding the complex interactions that exist in this and any disease.

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