New device monitors glucose levels without the need for a needle

Technology and medicine have been working side by side when it comes to measuring people’s glucose, which is very important to prevent and manage certain diseases, such as diabetes. However, this measurement is usually done by a needle method. In a new study, researchers at Penn State University (USA) have developed a device capable of measuring in a much less invasive way.

They built the device first with laser-induced graphene, a material that consists of layers of carbon. It appeared to be an ideal framework for the detection device, but the material was not absolutely sensitive to glucose, so the researchers needed to choose some other material that could complement and fill this need. They chose a nickel alloy, capable of detecting low concentrations of glucose in sweat, right on the surface of the skin.

Sweat exhibits extremely low glucose concentrations compared to blood, but researchers indicate a strong correlation between sweat and blood glucose levels. Although the concentration of glucose in sweat is about 100 times lower, the team’s device is sensitive enough to accurately measure these levels and reflect the concentration seen in the blood.

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In one test, researchers glued a patch to the skin to secure the reusable device to a person’s arm about one to three hours after a meal. The person in question performed a brief physical activity, just enough to produce sweat, before each measurement. A few minutes after collecting the sweat, the researchers found that the detected glucose concentration dropped from the first measurement to the next. They even compared the device’s glucose measurements to those of a regular monitor.

The idea now is to improve the prototype for future applications. Those responsible for the study also intend to refine and expand this platform for a more comfortable monitoring of other biomarkers that can be found in sweat. The full study can be accessed on here.

Source: Laboratory Equipment

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