Medical

Non-invasive machine sees through skin to measure blood glucose

Non-invasive machine sees thro...
A new sensor from MIT can detect blood glucose levels in diabetic patients without the need for finger pricks
A new sensor from MIT can detect blood glucose levels in diabetic patients without the need for finger pricks
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A new sensor from MIT can detect blood glucose levels in diabetic patients without the need for finger pricks
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A new sensor from MIT can detect blood glucose levels in diabetic patients without the need for finger pricks

To manage diabetes, people with the disease may need to prick their fingers and test their blood glucose levels several times a day. But now researchers at MIT may have developed a less invasive method, using infrared light to take glucose readings from fluid just below the surface of the skin.

The new system is built around a technique known as Raman spectroscopy, which involves shining near-infrared light on the skin. The idea is that the light will scatter off different molecules in different ways, revealing the chemical composition of the tissue. And now, after decades of work on the technique, the MIT team has developed a way to apply it to measuring glucose in the interstitial fluid, the stuff that surrounds cells.

In the new process, near-infrared light is shone onto the skin from a 60-degree angle, while a receiving fiber is placed flat against the skin. This means that the light bounces off molecules in the tissue and hits the fiber, producing a stronger glucose Raman signal while filtering out reflected signals from the skin surface.

When the team tested the technique in live pigs, they found that it produced accurate glucose readings for up to an hour, after 10 to 15 minutes of calibration. The accuracy of these signals was backed up by comparing them to measurements made from blood samples taken from those same pigs.

The researchers say that this is a major improvement over their past work, where glucose levels had to be indirectly calculated by comparing Raman signals with a reference measurement from blood. This also required regular calibration, which could be thrown off as the patient moved around or ate or drank.

“This is the first time that we directly observed the glucose signal from the tissue in a transdermal way, without going through a lot of advanced computation and signal extraction,” says Peter So, senior author of the study.

Currently the device is about the size of a desktop printer, and the team says that it should be less invasive to stick your finger in this kind of machine a few times a day, instead of pricking it with a needle.

“You might have a device at home or a device in your office that you could put your finger on once in a while, or you might have a probe that you hold to your skin,” says So. “That’s what we’re thinking about in the shorter term.”

Longer term, the researchers hope to adapt the technique into a smaller wearable device.

There are no shortage of non-invasive glucose-monitoring methods in development. Others include a wearable device that uses microwaves, tiny biosensors that monitor glucose levels in sweat or tears, laser-based systems that scan fingertips, and wearable patches that monitor glucose in sweat and release drugs into the bloodstream as required.

The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Source: MIT

7 comments
Type1
I would so like to be an Alpha or Beta tester for these devices.
Ruben Minor
I’d like to have my son who is Type1 included in the beta test when available. He’s 13 type 1 Oct 2018
Timothy Cochran
Lifeplus is already doing this, and will beat MIT to market. https://www.lifeplusinc.net
IvanWashington
i had read about work on a similar pulse glucometer 2 decades back but never heard anything more of it until this article. there must have been lots of hurdles to overcome.
Badger
The technology already exists and is in general use you simply apply a " sensor" to your arm it measures your glucose at set times and sends the data to your phone where an app records the data and also notifies you if you need to inject insulin. Its called freestyle libra sensor Here
is a link to their website https://www.freestylelibre.com.au/glucose-monitoring-system. So sadly MIT is quite a few years behind everyone else.
Peter Jasko
Badger , i believe that your comment is incorrect. The Freestyle from my understanding still uses a tiny cannular or needle to read the fluids under the skin or finger pricking. My understanding this one in this article is completely noninvasive. I believe the difficulty is getting consistent blood glucose readings without the cannular and even then not always accurate.
Sz.
Peter Jasko, half correct: the Freestyle sensor (attached to the arm for up to 10 days) does have a needle, but at least no more fingerpricks for every measurement.