Tattoo Monitors Diabetes: Blood Glucose Monitor
Led by Dr Ali Yetise, a chemical engineer, the team used a colour-changing dye to pick up changes in blood glucose levels, with a view to helping people manage diabetes. They also experimented on picking up albumi, a marker of kidney disease, and used another dye to measure the pH level in blood.
Tattoo Monitors Diabetes: Blood Glucose Monitor
The dyes react to changes in the three biomarkers in the interstitial fluid. This fluid acts as a reservoir of nutrients including glucose. The level of glucose in interstitial fluid rises and falls in response to increases and decreases in blood glucose levels.
For someone who has a health condition that requires careful dietary monitoring, or even if you're just a data nerd and like the idea of tracking bodily changes with a cool-looking tattoo, it's an alluring concept.
There's also the question of how to make sure the tattoo indicators are as accurate as possible. In a medical situation, you'd want that colour-changing 'interface' to be as reliable as a blood test, and we're definitely not there yet.
Gerard CotÃ, Charles H. & Bettye Barclay Professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Michael Pishko, Stewart & Stevenson Professor II in biomedical engineering are working on a new less invasive way to monitor blood sugar levels that could alleviate the bothersome finger-pricks for patients.
This technology dramatically improves upon current diabetes monitoring in two ways. First, it would allow diabetics to check their glucose levels without having to draw blood. Second, and more important, it would provide reliable and consistent monitoring, especially when it is sometimes difficult: when the diabetic is sleeping.
This fancy little tattoo could make the world of difference to diabetics across the globe. All diabetics, whether they have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels with the aim of keeping as close to normal levels as possible. Currently, there are two mainstream techniques of testing blood glucose. Both methods have drawbacks that the tattoo option improves upon.Read: Technology lightens the burden of diabetes1. Glucometers
Most diabetics use a glucometer, a little device that measures blood glucose levels from a sample of blood placed onto a test strip inserted into the meter. The machine then displays the result and also keeps it recorded for future reference.
Some diabetics are scared of pricking their finger and can avoid testing their levels because of it. The long-term complications of poorly-managed blood glucose can seriously compromise other organs and bodily functions.Using a glucometer to measure the glucose levels in a sample of blood (Courtesy of Shutterstock)Read: Google lenses could replace finger-pricks for diabetics
Another method used to measure blood glucose is by using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The purpose of a CGM is to provide near-constant feedback, allowing for more consistent and stable glucose levels. The device works by having a sensor applied under the skin, an article by the University of Kansa Medical Centre explains. The sensor, a glucose oxidase platinum electrode, generates an electrical current in the presence of glucose. The sensor is connected to a device that measures the current and displays a blood glucose result every five minutes. Some of the devices can alert the user when levels are increasing or dropping.
Jiang and Yetisen said that once the bugs are worked out, the applications for biologically-sensitive ink are fairly broad. Ink could be incorporated into long-lasting tattoos for chronic conditions or into temporary designs for shorter-duration monitoring. Another possibility is invisible ink that reacts to a particular kind of light.
Diabetes affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and is among the leading causes of death and disability. People with diabetes must test their glucose levels several times a day, using devices with a tiny needle to draw blood from a fingertip. But the pain of this constant finger-pricking may drive patients to avoid checking their blood sugar levels, so researchers have been searching for less invasive ways to monitor glucose.
Now Bandodkar, along with Joseph Wang at UCSD and their colleagues, have developed a flexible device that sticks to skin like a rub-on tattoo and sends a mild electrical current over the skin to detect a person's blood sugar levels, without needles.
To see how well the tattoo picked up the spike in blood sugar levels expected after a meal, the researchers measured the participants' blood sugar before and after they consumed a carbohydrate-rich sandwich and soda in the lab. The device performed just as well at detecting this glucose spike as a traditional finger-stick monitor, the researchers said. [10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life]
The new device consists of electrodes made of silver and silver chloride ink, and a blood glucose sensor made of a glucose-sensitive enzyme and another type of ink. The researchers printed both the electrodes and the sensor onto temporary tattoo paper.
To check the blood sugar, the electrodes apply a very mild electrical current to the skin for 10 minutes. This draws the sodium ions in a person's body fluid to migrate toward the electrodes, and these ions bring along the glucose that is also present in the person's fluids. The sensor in the tattoo then measures the strength of the electrical charge produced by the glucose to determine a person's blood sugar levels.
The level of glucose in the fluid that the device draws is nearly a hundred times lower than the corresponding level in a person's blood, so the researchers had to develop a sensor that was highly sensitive, Bandodkar said.
Part of living with diabetes is the monitoring of blood glucose levels. It is an important part of managing the disease and something that hundreds of millions of people do worldwide. Traditionally, measuring blood glucose meant pricking a finger to get blood for the test, which can be painful. In some cases, the process could even discourage people from properly tracking their disease.
An alternative approach to the painful finger prick was the goal of researchers from the University of California in San Diego (UCSD), according to a recent press release from the American Chemical Society. The new device is a non-irritating, wearable technology that detects blood glucose levels just underneath the skin. The device was tested as a proof-of-concept on seven patients, and results were compared to traditional blood glucose measurements.
The new sensor is worn like a temporary tattoo, according to a recent study published by the team in Analytical Chemistry. The device depends on the reverse iontophoretic extraction of interstitial glucose through the epidermis that it resides on. After extracting the sample, the device tests it using an enzyme-based amperometric biosensor included in its design. In vitro analysis showed a linear response by the sensor when exposed to varying levels of blood glucose. Additionally, the sensor was relatively unaffected by other common electroactive species, which is important to prevent a false reading.
Developing alternatives to the invasive pin prick that diabetics must endure is a research focus that occupies many groups. Recently, another solution was presented that uses a laser to non-invasively measure blood glucose, also serving to eliminate the need for a finger prick.
[Image from UC San Diego]Diabetes tracking can be a scary and tedious task, but University of California at San Diego researchers have developed a needless glucose monitor tattoo sensor that measures insulin levels through sweat on the skin.
Abstract:The incidence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, and regular glucose monitoring is critical in order to manage diabetes. Currently, glucose in the body is measured by an invasive method of blood sugar testing. Blood glucose (BG) monitoring devices measure the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually drawn from pricking the fingertip, and placed on a disposable test strip. Therefore, there is a need for non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring, which is possible using a sweat sensor-based approach. As sweat sensors have garnered much interest in recent years, this study attempts to summarize recent developments in non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring using sweat sensors based on different approaches with an emphasis on the devices that can potentially be integrated into a wearable platform. Numerous research entities have been developing wearable sensors for continuous blood glucose monitoring, however, there are no commercially viable, non-invasive glucose monitors on the market at the moment. This review article provides the state-of-the-art in sweat glucose monitoring, particularly keeping in sight the prospect of its commercialization. The challenges relating to sweat collection, sweat sample degradation, person to person sweat amount variation, various detection methods, and their glucose detection sensitivity, and also the commercial viability are thoroughly covered.Keywords: biosensor; diabetes; hypoglycemia; sweat based sensing; wearable electronics; non-invasive glucose monitoring
In a proof-of-concept in vitro study, the tattoo applied a mild electrical current to the skin to measure blood glucose levels in response to food consumption in healthy volunteers, with an accuracy comparable to that of a commercial glucose meter.
Noninvasive blood glucose monitoring are a long-standing focus for the world of digital health. Just this year, San Francisco-based Sano received a $6 million investment from Fitbit for its mobile app and patch-like glucose sensor. Contact lenses have also been a focus, most recently with news of a smart, glucose-sensing research project described by a team of South Korean researchers. In 2017, researchers from Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley detailed a wrist-worn band embedded with flexible sensors and microprocessors that could potentially diagnose diabetes or other diseases.