Categories: Health & Fitness

Blood sugar: measuring electromagnetic waves under the skin to put an end to blood tests

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Fasting blood sugar is a key indicator of diabetes, and often requires regular measurement, via a blood test or a finger prick.

Researching non-invasive alternatives for measuring blood glucose levels, scientists at the National University of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea, report that they have developed a new approach.

This involves measuring blood glucose via a sensor using electromagnetic waves, inserted under the skin. We are talking about the subcutaneous route. The biosensor, which is about one-fifth the size of a cotillion swab (17 mm exactly), manages to measure minute changes in dielectric permittivity: the response of the medium to an electric field. Specifically, the sensor measures changes in glucose concentration in interstitial fluid, which is the fluid that fills the spaces between cells. The data is then visible via a smartphone application. The device has been successfully tested on pigs as well as on Beagle breed dogs.

[Notre] current work is an effort to achieve an implantable electromagnetic sensor, which may be an alternative to an enzyme-based or optical-based glucose sensor”, wrote the researchers in conclusion of their study, published in the journal Scientific Reports (Source 1). Enzyme-based (Freestyle) or optical-based glucose sensors are already on the market, but do not give complete satisfaction in terms of lifespan, portability and precision. The Freestyle Libre sensor can thus only be worn for 14 days, where this 3-in-1 sensor claims an unlimited lifespan or almost. This new biosensor can also measure body temperatureand to include an electronic chip type system.

The proposed implantable sensor [ici] not only overcame the drawbacks of existing continuous glucose monitoring systems, such as short lifespan, but also improved the accuracy of blood glucose prediction”say the scientists.

It remains for the team to refine its innovation by considering biocompatible packaging, to limit the body’s reactions to a foreign body.

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