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Micro Component Devices for Testing Diabetes

5/11/17      People with diabetes have traditionally self-monitored their glucose levels by pricking their finger and putting a drop of blood onto a glucose monitor. Although this is an easy way to test your levels, most diabetics want a less painful testing method. A blood sample has been the common approach to this, but glucose is present in many biological fluids, begging the question of what other bodily fluids can we use to self-test our glucose levels?

One of most successful ways has been using continuous glucose monitors that consist of a wearable sensor and a receiver. The sensor consists of a microneedle which sits just under the skin and records glucose levels at regular intervals and transmits these to the reader via Bluetooth or NFC technology. Sensors last an average of 6 days, and currently require regular calibration with blood based biosensors. Because of these limitations, researchers are looking into the potential for glucose testing in sweat, tears and saliva. These long-term monitoring solutions will enable the creation of an artificial pancreas- a device that can monitor glucose levels and administer controlled doses of insulin accordingly- leading to fully automated diabetes control. The first such device received regulatory approval in late 2016 and is expected for release soon. Both insulin pens and pumps are using new sensor and communication technologies to enable new features, developing new platforms to monitor insulin dosing and other vital information.
With almost 30 million people having diabetes, the focus on less invasive, more comfortable monitoring devices has been in the forefront of the medical industry. Exciting new advances are being tested as we speak!