Good blood glucose control is essential for patients with diabetes to avoid serious complications of the disease. However, achieving and maintaining good blood glucose control is difficult. Patients are highly individual in their responses to treatment and to life events that affect blood glucose levels. Large volumes of blood glucose data may be collected automatically, but automated analysis is lacking. Patients do not always know when problems are impending; problems occurring while patients are asleep are especially dangerous. Machine learning models that predict blood glucose levels would enable or facilitate new applications of direct benefit to patients, including: alerts to immediately notify patients of impending problems; decision support systems recommending actions to prevent problems; and educational simulations showing the effects of different treatment choices or lifestyle options on blood glucose levels.
The task of blood glucose prediction is approached as a time series forecasting problem. Blood glucose is predicted based on a patient's prior blood glucose levels, insulin data, meal data, exercise data, sleep patterns and work schedules. Batch and incremental time series regression models, including support vector machines and neural networks, are being investigated. To account for individual patient differences, separate models are trained for each patient. Additionally, transfer learning may enable data from multiple patients to aid in building models for patients with limited historical data. Models are sought that are robust in the face of imperfect data, including missing life events, inaccurately recorded life events, and noisy glucose sensors.
This work aims to improve the overall health and wellbeing of patients with diabetes. In addition, it forms the cornerstone of the new SmartHealth Lab at Ohio University, which is dedicated to attracting tomorrow's researchers and to promoting interdisciplinary work in smart health and wellbeing.