Deep RL for Blood Glucose Control: Lessons, Challenges, and OpportunitiesDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • TL;DR: We develop a deep reinforcement learning algorithm to control blood glucose in people with diabetes.
  • Abstract: Individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) lack the ability to produce the insulin their bodies need. As a result, they must continually make decisions about how much insulin to self-administer in order to adequately control their blood glucose levels. Longitudinal data streams captured from wearables, like continuous glucose monitors, can help these individuals manage their health, but currently the majority of the decision burden remains on the user. To relieve this burden, researchers are working on closed-loop solutions that combine a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump with a control algorithm in an `artificial pancreas.' Such systems aim to estimate and deliver the appropriate amount of insulin. Here, we develop reinforcement learning (RL) techniques for automated blood glucose control. Through a series of experiments, we compare the performance of different deep RL approaches to non-RL approaches. We highlight the flexibility of RL approaches, demonstrating how they can adapt to new individuals with little additional data. On over 21k hours of simulated data across 30 patients, RL approaches outperform baseline control algorithms (increasing time spent in normal glucose range from 71% to 75%) without requiring meal announcements. Moreover, these approaches are adept at leveraging latent behavioral patterns (increasing time in range from 58% to 70%). This work demonstrates the potential of deep RL for controlling complex physiological systems with minimal expert knowledge.
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  • Keywords: Deep Reinforcement Learning, Diabetes, Artificial Pancreas, Control
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