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Using Artificial Intelligence to Better Manage Diabetes

Photo: Courtesy of Luke Chesser

New technology is giving us deeper insights into our own health than ever before. Noosheen Hashemi, founder of January AI, talks about how her company is using that health information to help people living with diabetes manage the disease.

Noosheen Hashemi

Founder, January AI

What led you to create January AI?

After a few experiences with family members and friends, I became passionate about prevention and whole-person health. Continuous monitoring devices like Apple Watch and Fitbit that measure heart rate, and Abbott FreeStyle Libre and Dexcom that measure blood glucose provide opportunities to look at trends over time and, with the help of artificial intelligence, dial lifestyle to optimize it to the best of our abilities. 

Figuring out what to eat, when and how much to exercise, and how to get the most restful sleep are vital to healthspan, especially for those with diabetes and prediabetes.

Can you discuss the importance of nutritional support for people living with diabetes and the prediabetic community?

Studies show that people can have a wide range of responses to many foods and this is due to a variety of factors unique to every person. January AI helps consumers stay in control of their health by offering a personalized roadmap. By using predictive machine learning capabilities, we provide helpful nutritional information before people with prediabetes and diabetes select what foods to eat. 

The January AI Season of Me program gives users personalized insights on how diet, exercise, and sleep affect their blood sugar in real time, allowing people to incorporate these new findings in a way that is meaningful to them. 

January AI is the first precision health company that accurately predicts users’ blood sugar response to over 16 million foods — including groceries, recipes, and restaurant menus.  Why stress the body and use it to figure out what and how much you should eat, when you can use AI to tell you the same thing?

With rates of diabetes rising nationwide, what can people do to better understand their glycemic responses in order to manage and even prevent the development of diabetes?

It’s estimated that 34 million people have diabetes and 88 million have prediabetes in the United States today. With half of the U.S. population having metabolic disease or being on their way to developing it, we need to realize that one-size-fits-all solutions are not working. 

The Diabetes Prevention Program, or DPP, was created in 2002, well before popular continuous glucose monitors, smart phones, and watches hit the market. The best DPP programs, and there are at least 1,800 out there, can help half of the participants lose 5 percent of their weight. 

We can dramatically improve outcomes with personalized solutions. We can help people make small changes in their daily lives that make the biggest impact. With machine learning, we build models for each person and we can learn across populations.

How does metabolic health relate to diabetes? What should our readers know about the “diabetic spectrum”?

In the United States, unhealthy food is all around us, and we’re in an epidemic of metabolic disease. Metabolic health factors, such as blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference directly relate to a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, impair the body’s ability to metabolize glucose. 

So knowing the impact of food on blood glucose level before you eat — critical information that January AI provides with precision medicine and AI — is key. That information allows you to know exactly what foods can and will impact your blood glucose level. January AI helps people across the metabolic health spectrum build better habits. 

The Diabetic spectrum includes type 1, type 2,  gestational diabetes, and prediabetes. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, actively understanding how diet and activity affect your glucose levels can positively affect your health. 

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