April 11, 2008, Newsletter Issue #149: Low or Non-Invasive Blood Glucose Testing

Tip of the Week

Currently, testing your blood sugar requires a pricking your skin to obtain a drop of blood. Pricking is painful.

There are reports of minimally-invasive or non-invasive devices being developed in Europe. One device involves a needle being inserted under the skin for up to three days at a time, so that a monitor can check blood glucose levels.

Completely non-invasive devices are also being developed. The theory is that a device can use types of light (e.g. infra-red or lasers) to measure blood glucose levels without breaking the skin, like a pulse oximeter reads oxygen levels through the skin.

Currently, the devices being tested in Europe can read blood sugar without breaking the skin, however most need to be calibrated regularly, which requires a traditional finger-prick test.

In the United States, Cygnus Inc., a diabetes supply company in California, has created GlucoWatch G2 Biographer - a second-generation model of the non-invasive glucose monitoring device that was approved by the FDA, in March 2001, for use by people with diabetes. This device is worn on the forearm, and measures glucose via interstitial fluid.

Interstitial fluid (ISF) is the fluid that fills blisters when we damage our skin by burning and it can be extracted from the top layers of skin without the use of a lancet.

Though most insurance do not currently cover the use of this new device, the future holds great promise of increased availability of minimally-invasive, or non-invasive - blood glucose testing devices.

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