A Neural-Network-Based Approach to Personalize Insulin Bolus Calculation Using Continuous Glucose Monitoring

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2018 Mar;12(2):265-272. doi: 10.1177/1932296818759558.


Background: In type 1 diabetes (T1D) therapy, the calculation of the meal insulin bolus is performed according to a standard formula (SF) exploiting carbohydrate intake, carbohydrate-to-insulin ratio, correction factor, insulin on board, and target glucose. Recently, some approaches were proposed to account for preprandial glucose rate of change (ROC) in the SF, including those by Scheiner and by Pettus and Edelman. Here, the aim is to develop a new approach, based on neural networks (NN), to optimize and personalize the bolus calculation using continuous glucose monitoring information and some easily accessible patient parameters.

Method: The UVa/Padova T1D Simulator was used to simulate data of 100 virtual adults in a single-meal noise-free scenario with different conditions in terms of meal amount and preprandial blood glucose and ROC values. An NN was trained to learn the optimal insulin dose using the SF parameters, ROC, body weight, insulin pump basal infusion rate and insulin sensitivity as features. The performance of the NN for meal bolus calculation was assessed by blood glucose risk index (BGRI) and compared to the methods by Scheiner and by Pettus and Edelman.

Results: The NN approach brings to a small but statistically significant ( P < .001) reduction of BGRI value, equal to 0.37, 0.23, and 0.20 versus SF, Scheiner, and Pettus and Edelman, respectively.

Conclusion: This preliminary study showed the potentiality of using NNs for the personalization and optimization of the meal insulin bolus calculation. Future work will deal with more realistic scenarios including technological and physiological/behavioral sources of variability.

Keywords: bolus calculator; machine learning; neural network; nonadjunctive use; type 1 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / methods*
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin