The number of people with diabetes worldwide will increase to at least 300 million by 2025, according to the WHO. With this in mind, scientists have developed a prototype laser-based system which allows sufferers of diabetes to check their blood sugar levels.
According to the researchers from the Princeton University's Engineering School, the system helps monitor blood sugar levels without piercing the fingers.
AdvertisementIt works by directing a laser beam at the patient's palm and measuring the amount of absorption and scattering when the laser interacts with dermal interstitial fluid, which is strongly correlated with blood sugar levels.
At the core of the system is a relatively new quantum cascade laser which is particularly adept at producing mid-infrared frequencies.
This frequency range is key as near-infrared frequencies, though more commonly found in existing medical devices, tend to interact with various acids and chemicals in the skin, making them less suitable for detecting changes in glucose levels.
Though significantly larger and less accurate than existing commercial glucometers, the sensor was able to achieve an 84% level of accuracy, researchers added. The team acknowledges that there is substantial development work remaining in order to make the sensor portable. However, their research provides an interesting initial proof of concept.
The researchers have conducted early pilot testing of the technology, the results of which were published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express.