Princeton researchers working on laser device to detect blood sugar

Finger-pricking may come to end if Princeton researchers can fine-tune their latest creation for consumer use: a laser that would help you read your own blood sugar by pointing it at your palm.

In a June article published in Biomedical Optics Express, the researchers described how the device could pass through skin cells, without causing damage, and absorb sugar molecules in the body. The rate of absorption could then enable the measurement of blood sugar levels, they explained.

According to Sabbir Liakat, lead study author, the device is about 84 percent accurate. Current glucose monitors must produce readings that are within 20 percent of the patient's actual blood sugar levels.

"It works now but we are still trying to improve it," said Liakat, a graduate student in electrical engineering.

Size adjustments and testing needed

Initially, the system needed a complicated cooling system to function, but the team has fixed that problem and is now focusing on shrinking the size of the device.

Researchers used the laser the measure blood sugar levels in three healthy people before and after they ate 20 jellybeans. They conducted the measurements consistently over several weeks, and they also checked blood glucose levels with finger-prick tests.

Results showed that the laser measurements remained within the clinical requirements for accuracy.

"We are working hard to turn engineering solutions into useful tools for people to use in their daily lives," said Claire Gmachl, senior researcher of the project. "With this work we hope to improve the lives of many diabetes sufferers who depend on frequent blood glucose monitoring."

Source: Princeton University, Engineering School

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