In the U.S., more than 34 million children and adults collectively have been diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, most people suffering from this disease have to suffer through multiple, painful finger jabs to measure their blood glucose. Even though measuring blood glucose is crucial to diabetes management, the pain and inconvenience caused by it make people refrain from testing themselves as often as required.
Now researchers have successfully developed a device that can help patients measure their glucose through sweat with only a touch to the fingertips. Then, a personalized algorithm will provide a perfect estimate of the blood glucose levels. This is a massive development for Self Monitoring Blood Glucose Device Market as all patients who have diabetes will want to get rid of the continuous pain they need to bear through. This device will facilitate them in doing so.
Previously, ways have been developed to measure glucose in sweat. However, they were not very accurate as sugar levels are much lower in blood, and so they can vary with a person’s sweat rate and skin properties. Thus, the glucose level in sweat was never the best way to reflect the value in blood. So, researchers aimed to obtain a more reliable estimate by devising a system that could collect sweat from its own fingertip. This would lead to glucose measurement and subsequent assessment of individual variability.
The researchers constructed a touch-based sweat glucose sensor. The sensor had a polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel above an electrochemical sensor which was screen-printed into an elastic-plastic strip. The team tested their device by requesting a volunteer to place their fingertip on the sensor surface for 1 min. It noted that the hydrogel absorbed tiny amounts of sweat. Inside the sensor, glucose present in sweat went through an enzymatic reaction that leads to a small electrical current. The handheld device was successfully able to detect this current.
The researchers also assessed volunteers’ blood sugar with a standard finger-prick test. This helped them develop a personalized algorithm that can translate each person’s sweat glucose in terms of their blood glucose levels. The tests revealed that the algorithm was 95% accurate in assessing the blood glucose levels taken before and after meals. Although this device is of great benefit to diabetic patients, there is still a need for a large-scale study to validate the results of the device before bringing it out in the market.
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