Patients with diabetes are forced to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels. The procedure is performed using a blood sample taken from a fingertip. This necessary measure is certainly one of the most unpleasant and painful parts of the daily life of people with diabetes.
To make life easier for patients, scientists from the UK have created a special patch that attaches to the skin and controls blood glucose levels. According to experts, constant injections will become a relic of the past with the appearance of such a product on the market.
Specialists from the University of Bath have developed a device based on graphene (this material is now used in many, even the most unexpected developments). According to a press release, the non-invasive patch can measure glucose levels through the skin without requiring fingertip blood tests.
The device includes a set of tiny sensors that use a small electrical current to measure glucose levels in the interstitial fluid. In other words, the patch itself does not pierce the skin.
Let us explain that such a liquid is part of the internal environment of the body, it is similar in composition to plasma. And it is located right between the cells in the hair follicles on the body. The patch accurately measures the level of glucose that is extracted from this fluid using the current. If necessary, such a test can be performed every 10-15 minutes for several hours.
As the authors of the project say, the specific structure of the array allows you to work without calibration. They used graphene as one of the components because it has important advantages: in particular, it is a conductive and flexible material. It is also inexpensive and environmentally friendly.
Laboratory tests have shown the high efficiency of using the patch for monitoring changes in blood glucose levels. The tests were carried out with the participation of healthy people. The developers also tested the device by attaching it to the skin of a pig, where it has been shown to accurately track glucose levels in the range seen in diabetic patients.
Today, experts hope to optimize the number of sensors in the patch as well as demonstrate its functionality over a 24-hour wear period. They also intend to conduct a number of clinical trials using the new development.
Experts hope that after commercialization, an inexpensive wearable device will be able to transfer readings directly to an application installed on a smartphone or smart watch. (To do this, however, will have to solve a number of technical issues, for example, how to power the sensors and transfer data.)
An effective and non-invasive way to control blood glucose levels can help diabetics, as well as those at high risk of developing the disease. It is known that today the condition, which doctors call prediabetes, is diagnosed in a large number of people, and for them control of blood sugar is also very important.
The research results are presented in the scientific publication Nature Nanotechnology.
By the way, people with diabetes need to monitor not only the level of glucose in the blood, but also the condition of the legs: and this will help them "smart socks". Also, the authors of the project "Vesti.Nauka" (nauka.vesti.ru) talked about the curious discovery of scientists. It turns out that high blood sugar may not be the root cause of diabetes. In addition, experts have established that diabetes cannot be divided into two types, this disease has many more.Read about the most important research in diabetes care in our dedicated section.