Diabetes patients may be able to avoid having to draw blood to measure their glucose levels following the creation of a new laser-based innovation in the US.
Developed by Princeton University engineers, the specialised laser can be pointed directly at a person’s palm, upon which point it passes through the skin cells without causing damage, and is partially absorbed by the sugar molecules in the patient’s body.
The researchers were then able to use the amount of absorption to accurately measure blood sugar levels. Current glucose monitors are required to produce a blood sugar reading within 20 percent of the patient’s actual level – the early version of the laser system met this standard with an 84 percent accuracy rating.
It is now hoped that a smaller, portable version of the device can be developed to make the technology accessible to as many patients as possible.
Senior researcher Claire Gmachl, professor of electrical engineering at Princeton, said: “We are working hard to turn engineering solutions into useful tools for people to use in their daily lives. With this work we hope to improve the lives of many diabetes sufferers.”
With recent research from Diabetes UK showing that more than 700 people a day are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the UK, new solutions such as this will be widely welcomed.