Medical

Non-invasive device monitors diabetes using microwaves

Non-invasive device monitors d...
The researchers believe that with the right investment, the microwave device could make it to market within five years
The researchers believe that with the right investment, the microwave device could make it to market within five years
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The researchers believe that with the right investment, the microwave device could make it to market within five years
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The researchers believe that with the right investment, the microwave device could make it to market within five years

For diabetics, keeping track of blood sugar can be a drag, with Type 1 sufferers having to monitor their levels as much as six times a day. A new device might make life significantly easier, providing a non-invasive solution for tracking glucose levels, without the need to extract blood.

Diabetes affects hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and its prevalence has been rising steadily over the decades. If not kept in check, the condition can lead to blindness, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and more.

The disease is characterized by increased blood sugar levels, caused by either a lack of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas, or an inability to properly make use of produced insulin. Keeping track of the disease can be pretty laborious, requiring the regular extraction of blood to keep track of glucose levels.

The new sensor, developed by researchers at the UK's Cardiff University, could make life a lot easier for diabetics. Rather than requiring them to prick their skin to get a blood sample, it simply sticks to the body via adhesives, and uses microwave emissions to keep tabs of glucose levels in the blood. The data is collected by the device, and sent back to the user's phone or computer for feedback.

Sticking a machine that emits microwaves to your arm or the side of your body might not seem like the best idea in the world, but the researchers claim that it's entirely safe. According to the team, the levels used are around 1,000 times less than those produced by the average smartphone.

The device has already been used in clinical trials with some 50 patients, and could be available to customers in the not too distant future. The team believes that with the right investment, it could arrive on shelves in as little as five years.

Source: Cardiff University

7 comments
zr2s10
This would be incredible. My dad is a Type I diabetic, and I always felt bad for him having to prick his fingers and give himself shots every day. He uses the stick on pods for his insulin now, and it really opened up what he can eat safely. He used to always skip dessert, and could only buy sugar-free candy. If you combined one of these glucose meters with a pod for automated insulin dispensing, it would really make things easier for him.
Wombat56
It would be nice to know just how the microwaves can measure blood sugar levels, but the original article doesn't say so either.
byrneheart
What else can be measured this way and will desk top sets be on doctors desks soon?
Devon Nullz
Errr, it's called a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or CGM. They've been around for years. I've worn one for about 8 years now.
John Banister
It would be nice to know the size of the device in the photo. Is that cell phone sized or thumb drive sized or what?
Adrien
There have been a few attempts using microwaves, I'd be keen to know more about the actual clinical trials (were they done on diabetics for example)? Nothing useful on the University of Cardiff web page about it. Dr John Smith (ex CTO of LIfescan) book "hunting the deceitful turkey" should maybe be mandatory reading for anyone considering investing in any non-invasive glucose projects. As for testing "up to 6 times a day" that is a bit of a joke. Many type 1s test 20 times/day, and if you count CGM wearers, every 5min (Dexcom and Medtronic) or every 1min (Abbot Freestyle Libre). For me the currently most interesting product in this space is the Senseonics.
unklmurray
I'm a drug induced type 2,diabetic......I didn't have a problem until they gave me ''Prednisone'' in the Hospital the first time they inserted a ''Breathing Tube ''down my throat {C.O.P.D.} when I got off the steroids I was no longer diabetic,until the next time I was intubated [more Prednisone ] and needed more insulin that happened so many times I have to keep stabbing myself 2+ times a day,as bad as my fingertips hurt I feel sorry for other Diabetics especially type 1 Diabetics this machine will be very welcome and can't get available soon enough!!.......LOL :-)