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On the horizon: better glucose testing.

Scientists are working to develop more convenient and less painful ways for people with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels. Potential noninvasive methods include: (1) shining a beam of light onto the skin or through body tissues; (2) measuring the energy rays (infrared radiation) emitted by the body; (3) applying radio waves to the fingertips; (4) using ultrasound; and (5) checking the thickness (also called the viscosity) of fluids in tissues underneath the skin.

One research team--consisting of physicists, electrical and computer engineers, chemists, and physicians at three universities--is developing a new glucose monitor worn like a skinpatch. The noninvasive method utilizes a light beam to continuously measure glucose levels in fluids just underneath the skin.

An experimental handheld device designed to measure blood glucose levels is based on the body's heat emissions. Testing is under way at the University of Connecticut Health Center. To achieve the reading, the device is placed in the ear, like an ear thermometer, for 10 seconds.

Cygnus, Inc.'s GlucoWatch G2[R] Biographer is approved to detect glucose level trends in people with diabetes. The prescription device, which looks like a wrist watch, pulls fluid from the skin using a low electric current and then measures the glucose in the fluid. It must be used with conventional glucose monitoring of blood samples, however.

The first patent for a blood glucose meter was issued in 1971.
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Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Medical Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:232
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