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Rodent of the Week: A non-invasive way to check glucose

October 08, 2010

Fingertip pricks serve their purpose in helping people with diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels. But, come on, it would be nice to have a method that doesn't involve drawing blood. Researchers reported progress this week on a technology that would provide non-invasive, continuous blood glucose monitoring.

The technology uses microbeads coated with a fluorescent dye that are designed to bind with glucose molecules. The beads are injected into the body, and the sensing dye provides a continuous readout of glucose levels measured across the skin from the fluorescent intensity.

In a study published online, researchers in Japan tested the method by implanting the microbeads under the ear skin of mice whose glucose levels had been altered for the experiment. They compared the glucose levels provided by the microbeads to blood samples and found that the microbeads provided reliable glucose monitoring over the 30 days of the study. The health of the mice was not affected.

The study appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

-- Shari Roan / Los Angeles Times

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