Check Your Glucose Level Without the Prick

Check Your Glucose Level Without the Prick

By May Alelin Pagal

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (SAN DIEGO), CA, USA. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report of 2014, during the period of 2008–2009, an estimated 18,436 people younger than 20 years of age in the United States were newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes annually. This is the insulin-dependent type of diabetes, and these patients need to constantly monitor their glucose levels for them to survive. The most common method of checking glucose levels is to prick their fingers, release a drop of blood unto a device which reads their sugar levels, and then decide whether they have to pump themselves with insulin or not. This can be a bit messy, and not to mention annoyingly painful to some.

Nanoengineers from the University of California, San Diego had come up with a hassle-free noninvasive alternative. They created a clear patch, resembling a temporary tattoo, printed with two small electrodes and an enzyme that reacts with glucose. A mild electric current will be ran through these electrodes and applied to the skin for 10 minutes, forcing sodium ions, which carry glucose molecules, in the fluid between skin cells to “travel” to the surface of the skin and consequently react with the enzyme on the patch. This chemical reaction produces an electric charge which directly corresponds to the blood glucose levels of an individual. This will allow the user to have continuous glucose level monitoring.

Although this technology doesn’t come with a numerical readout wherein the patient can read his or her sugar level, another team of electrical and computer engineering researchers are already developing the other end of this anticipated wearable device; it may be a wearable wristband with display or other similar device.
While this is initially intended for Type 1 diabetes patients, this research is projected to also pave way for other similar applications. A few examples will be for measuring lactate, a metabolite analyzed in athletes to monitor their fitness, or in testing how well a medication is working by monitoring certain protein products in the intercellular fluid, the detection of alcohol or illegal drug consumption, or could even lead to new ways of delivering drugs through the skin.

Invention Check Your Glucose Level Soon Without the Prick
Organization UC San Diego
Researcher Amay Bandodkar & Team
Field(s) medicine, diabetes, sugar, glucose
Further Information

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