Numerous Non-Invasive Glucose Monitors under Development

February 9th, 2011

Diabetics are still awaiting a reliable, non-invasive means of blood glucose monitoring - one that doesn't require breaking the skin or confirmation with a traditional monitoring method. The latest continuous glucose monitoring technology involves small sensors implanted in the skin that must be calibrated several times a day, and replaced every few days to a week to avoid infection. Because the blood sugar testers are implanted into the skin, the body sees the sensors as foreign objects, and frequently forms scar tissue around them.

The FDA approved one non-invasive monitor in the 2002 - the GlucoWatch Biographer. Worn on the wrist like a watch, the device used a small electric current to draw fluid through the skin, and a sensor to analyze the fluid's blood glucose levels. But at least half of the diabetics that used the product complained of skin irritation and sores, and the product was discontinued in 2007.

Despite the GlucoWatch disappointment, diabetics should not give up hope of being able to avoid multiple daily finger pricks to keep track of their blood sugar. Numerous non-invasive blood glucose monitors using different technologies are currently in development, including:

1) GlucoTrack - Integrity Application's GlucoTrack employs three different technologies: ultrasonic, conductivity and heat capacity. The device contains a main unit, a transmitter, a receiver and processor, and a sensor-containing ear clip. The main unit can support and store blood sugar readings for up to three users.

2) Symphony - Developed by Echo Therapeutics, Symphony is a biochemical sensor-based transdermal continuous glucose monitoring system with a wireless handheld device that reads the sensor's measurements.

3) Multisensor Glucose Monitoring System - Developed by Solianis Monitoring, this system delivers continuous information on glucose variations using impedance spectroscopy - a technology that uses frequencies to measure the effect of changes in blood glucose levels.

4) Portable blood glucose meter - Grove Instruments is working on miniaturizing a prototype blood glucose monitor which delivers a reading using Optical Bridge technology. The user simply inserts his or her finger into a port to obtain an optically assessed blood sugar test reading in less than 25 seconds.

5) Glucose Monitor Tattoo - Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing a continuous glucose monitoring "tattoo" in which florescent nanoparticle ink is injected under the skin. The ink fluoresces in response to glucose when an infrared light is shone on it, telling a small monitor how much it detected.

6) Electronic thumb-pad sensor - Texas' Baylor University researchers are testing an electronic thumb-pad sensor which detects blood glucose by measuring changes when electromagnetic energy waves pass through the skin.

7) I-SugarX - Freedom Meditech is pioneering the I-SugarX, an ophthalmic medical device which monitors changes in the eye to determine glucose levels. The user gazes into a handheld device which shines a light on the eye for less than a second, and then displays a digital blood glucose reading.

8) Near infrared optical spectroscopy - Inlight Solutions is developing devices that use near infrared optical spectroscopy and multi-variate analysis to measure blood glucose levels. The technology employs a light source, an optical detector, and a spectrometer.

9) LighTouch Technology - Uses a glucose test technology that projects a specific color of light onto a patient's finger, and analyses the different colored light that is "re-projected" back from the finger to measure blood glucose levels.

Handling Fruit Can Result in Inaccurate Blood Glucose Test

February 15th, 2011

Japanese researchers are warning diabetics of the risk of "pseudohypergylcemia" when testing blood sugar after eating or handling fruit. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care demonstrated how fruit sugars can stay on the hands even after the fingers are swabbed with alcohol, causing an artificially high blood glucose test reading.

Researchers from the Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine in Tokyo measured the blood sugar levels of ten non-diabetic volunteers, using a standard glucose monitor to test blood samples taken from a fingertip. They then asked the volunteers to peel oranges, grapes and kiwi fruit.

After the volunteers peeled the fruit, the researchers measured their blood glucose levels three more times - before they washed their hands, after they swabbed their hands with alcohol wipes, and after they washed their hands under running water.

Blood glucose levels taken before the volunteers handled the fruit were normal (an average 90 milligrams per deciliter (90 mg/dl). Glucose test results after they handled the fruit and before they cleaned their hands showed high blood sugar levels - around 360 mg/dl after peeling a grape, 180 mg/dl after peeling a kiwi, and 170 mg/dl after peeling an orange.

Even after they swabbed their hands with alcohol (the recommended practice for a diabetic before testing blood sugar), their blood sugar readings were higher than normal. Surprisingly, the volunteers were still receiving inaccurate blood sugar readings after swabbing five times. It was only after washing their hands under running water that their blood glucose readings returned to normal.

Diabetics rely on accurate blood glucose test results to determine how much diabetes medication to take. A diabetic who handled or ate fruit before conducting their blood sugar test could get an incorrect reading and give themselves an unneeded insulin injection, resulting in low blood sugar.

The take away message for diabetics - don't rely on alcohol swabs alone to clean your hands, and always wash them with soap and water before testing blood sugar. In the words of the study authors, "To avoid overestimation of blood glucose using portable monitors, their hands should be washed before monitoring capillary blood glucose, especially after fruit has been handled."

New Blood Glucose Meter Simplifies Diabetes Control

May 9th, 2011

Canadian pharmacies are now selling a blood glucose meter that promises to change the experience of blood sugar testing for diabetics. The Accu Chek Mobile has been available overseas since last year, but is only now available in Canada. This all-in-one meter boasts a unique testing system that will simplify the time consuming and sometimes frustrating process of checking blood sugar levels.

No Individual Strips

Unlike conventional blood glucose meters, the Accu Chek Mobile does not use an individual test strip. Instead there is a ribbon of testing material, placed in the machine like a cassette. The cassette winds itself and the display tells you how many tests remain. This method means fewer wasted strips and faster testing times, and is more convenient for people with poor eyesight or shaky hands. Each roll allows 50 tests and is easy to replace.

Lance Drum

Along with the new blood testing strip system, the Accu Chek Mobile also eliminates the need for individual lances, using a drum with 6 lances instead. Again, this is a change that will benefit those with coordination difficulties and eyesight issues, as well as anyone who wants a faster blood glucose test time. Replacement FastClix lances, as well as the replacement test strip cassettes, are available in Canadian pharmacies and through mail order Canadian pharmacies.

The Accu Chek Mobile blood glucose meter is especially useful for diabetics who require blood testing many times a day. It makes testing faster and more convenient by removing many of the steps necessary for other meters: there is no coding involved, no fumbling with individual strips or lancets, and it allows for alternate site testing to give your fingers a break. It is convenient for travelling as it does not require extra supplies and everything you need is in the meter itself, and there is no need to find a garbage disposal for every used test strip. In most areas the cassettes and lances are approved as household waste, so there is no need for a sharps bin.

This blood glucose meter is relatively new to the market in Canada, and is not yet available in the US. Supplies may be harder to find, but are available through an online Canadian pharmacy. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have any questions, and check to see if the Accu Chek Mobile is eligible for coverage under your health plan.

Diabetics Advised Against Lowering Their Blood Sugar Too Much

May 18th, 2011

Researchers in England are saying that diabetes patients not only receive no advantage, but could actually experience a disadvantage, from lowering their blood sugar below 7 or 7.5 percent hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c is a form of hemoglobin used to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over a period of two to three months.

After reviewing the results of several studies, the researchers are advising type 2 diabetics and their healthcare providers to avoid overly aggressive treatment requiring a lot of intervention or diabetes medication. To view a WebMD video on the possible health risks of lowering your blood sugar too much on >CLICK HERE<.

Software Allows Cars to Monitor Driver's Blood Sugar Levels

May 26th, 2011

The Ford Motor Company is working with Medtronic Inc, a leading manufacturer of blood glucose monitors, to expand Ford's onboard Sync communication system to provide blood sugar monitoring for diabetic drivers. The prototype software monitors blood sugar, displays readouts on the dashboard, and warns the driver if his or her blood glucose is approaching dangerously high or low levels.

The driver can also request blood sugar updates using voice commands. The system can also be used to monitor the blood sugar levels of the vehicle's passenger, such as a diabetic child.

The blood sugar monitoring software uses a Bluetooth connection on the driver's phone to transmit information to the dashboard from a continuous glucose monitor worn on the body. If the driver's blood glucose levels dip to the point where it could cause symptoms like lightheadedness, disorientation, loss of coordination and blurry vision, a robotic voice alerts the driver.

The driver can then take some glucose tablets or diabetes medication, and will be instructed to recheck their blood sugar in 30 minutes. Ultimately, says Medtronic spokesman Brian Henry, the company would like to develop technology that would enable an insulin pump to automatically adjust and administer the correct insulin dosage in response to a low blood sugar reading from the in-car glucose monitoring system.

Ford's voice-activated Sync communication system was developed in partnership with Microsoft Corporation, and has been available since 2008 on most models. Sync provides services like traffic and direction information, voice activated assistance with music and phone calls, and blind spot detection and warnings.

With diabetes at epidemic proportions and the number of American seniors expected to double in less than 50 years, both Ford and GM see in-car health monitoring as an important feature in future automobiles. Ford is also working on other features such as a car seat with sensors that detect electrical impulses from the driver's heart and can warn of a pending heart attack.

"The car is more than just a car," says Ford's chief technology officer Paul Mascarenas, "People spend almost an entire week a year on the road, and that's expected to increase. The car is a private space for conducting personal business. We see health and wellness as a core area."

Ford says the continuous glucose monitoring system is advancing quickly, and hopes to make the feature available to America's approximately 26 million diabetics in three to five years.

Software Allows Cars to Monitor Driver's Blood Sugar Levels

May 26th, 2011

The Ford Motor Company is working with Medtronic Inc, a leading manufacturer of blood glucose monitors, to expand Ford's onboard Sync communication system to provide blood sugar monitoring for diabetic drivers. The prototype software monitors blood sugar, displays readouts on the dashboard, and warns the driver if his or her blood glucose is approaching dangerously high or low levels.

The driver can also request blood sugar updates using voice commands. The system can also be used to monitor the blood sugar levels of the vehicle's passenger, such as a diabetic child.

The blood sugar monitoring software uses a Bluetooth connection on the driver's phone to transmit information to the dashboard from a continuous glucose monitor worn on the body. If the driver's blood glucose levels dip to the point where it could cause symptoms like lightheadedness, disorientation, loss of coordination and blurry vision, a robotic voice alerts the driver.

The driver can then take some glucose tablets or diabetes medication, and will be instructed to recheck their blood sugar in 30 minutes. Ultimately, says Medtronic spokesman Brian Henry, the company would like to develop technology that would enable an insulin pump to automatically adjust and administer the correct insulin dosage in response to a low blood sugar reading from the in-car glucose monitoring system.

Ford's voice-activated Sync communication system was developed in partnership with Microsoft Corporation, and has been available since 2008 on most models. Sync provides services like traffic and direction information, voice activated assistance with music and phone calls, and blind spot detection and warnings.

With diabetes at epidemic proportions and the number of American seniors expected to double in less than 50 years, both Ford and GM see in-car health monitoring as an important feature in future automobiles. Ford is also working on other features such as a car seat with sensors that detect electrical impulses from the driver's heart and can warn of a pending heart attack.

"The car is more than just a car," says Ford's chief technology officer Paul Mascarenas, "People spend almost an entire week a year on the road, and that's expected to increase. The car is a private space for conducting personal business. We see health and wellness as a core area."

Ford says the continuous glucose monitoring system is advancing quickly, and hopes to make the feature available to America's approximately 26 million diabetics in three to five years.

Is HbA1c Glucose Monitoring About to Become Old News?

June 1st, 2011

The gold standard hemoglobin HbA1c glucose monitoring test may soon lose ground to an alternative test recently developed in Tokyo. The new glycated albumin (GA) assay test measures blood sugar over 17 days, as opposed to over 3 months for HbA1c testing. This enables the GA to give a more accurate picture of diabetes control in patients with rapid changes in blood sugar levels.

HbA1c testing, which averages blood glucose levels over three months, has long been the most widespread and trusted form of blood sugar monitoring in diabetes. While it has proved a valuable tool in both diagnosing and monitoring diabetes, recent studies have questioned its effectiveness in children, and in diabetics with kidney failure.A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics advised physicians that HbA1c results can be misleading in children, possibly because of changing hormone levels. The researchers discovered the 8-hour fasting plasma glucose test provided more accurate results, and recommended the glucose tolerance test remain the "gold standard" to detect diabetes in children.

Another study of diabetics with advanced kidney failure discovered that HbA1c testing did not always give accurate results. "Most organs don't function properly in severe kidney failure," explained lead investigator Dr. Barry Freedman from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, "For example, most dialysis patients have anemia with fewer red blood cells than they should, which has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of the HbA1c reading."

This is because blood sugar reacts with the hemoglobin in red blood cells to give HbA1c values. The results are accurate with red blood cells with a normal life span, but the red blood cells in dialysis patients have a shorter life span, resulting in lower HbA1c values.

"Dialysis patients and their doctors get a false sense of security," warns Freedman," because their lower HbA1c actually relates to shorter red cell survival, yet suggests diabetes control is better than it really is." The researchers determined that the newer glycated albumin assay test proved much more accurate in diabetic patients with impaired kidney function.

The new test's ability to monitor frequent changes in blood sugar levels should also prove beneficial in the treatment of gestational diabetes, unstable plasma glucose levels and conditions that cause changes in or shorten the lifespan of hemoglobin.

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure, and almost 50 percent of dialysis patients are diabetics. Accurate blood sugar monitoring is essential in the management of diabetes, including determining when to implement insulin therapy and the dosages and effectiveness of diabetes medication such as insulin injections.

The new GA test, developed by the Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, is available in Japan, China and South Korea, but is not yet FDA approved in the United States. Freedman is recommending that doctors of diabetic dialysis patients monitor their blood sugar levels with multiple daily readings until the GA test is available in the US.

For more information on the GA test, visit Asahi Kasei Pharma.

Choosing the Best Blood Sugar Meter

July 21st, 2011

About.com diabetes guide Gary Gilles has written an informative guide to finding the best blood sugar meter. The guide covers important features and new developments in blood glucose meters, such as audible meters, meters that can communicate with an insulin pump, and glucose meters that also test blood ketones. >CLICK HERE< to read the blood sugar meter guide on About.com.

Intensive Glucose Lowering Treatment Can be Risky

July 28th, 2011

glucose monitor

According to a HealthDay News article, intensive glucose-lowering treatment for people with type 2 diabetes doesn't reduce the risk of cardiovascular-related death, and doctors need to be cautious about prescribing this type of treatment.

Patients with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Intensive glucose-lowering treatment is widely used for these patients even though previous research hasn't shown any clear benefits, researchers pointed out in a report published in a recent online edition of the British Medical Journal.

Catherine Cornu, a research physician at the Clinical Investigation Centre, Louis Pradel Hospital in Bron, France, and colleagues reviewed 13 studies that included a total of 34,533 diabetes patients -- 18,315 who underwent intensive glucose-lowering treatment and 16,218 who received standard treatment.

To read the full article on HealthDay News, >CLICK HERE.<

FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System Discontinued in the US

September 8th, 2011

Abbott Diabetes Care is alerting its diabetic customers that it has been forced to discontinue its FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System in the US. The FreeStyle Navigator System will still be available in seven other national markets.

The discontinuation results from supply interruptions that affected the company's ability to provide American customers with new system kits or replacement components. Abbott stresses that there were no safety issues with the continuous glucose monitoring system.

Abbott plans to help its FreeStyle Navigator customers transition to the three remaining continuous glucose monitoring systems on the market. To read the discontinuation notice on the Abbott Diabetes Care website, and get information on how Abbott plans to help its customers with the transition to other monitoring systems, >Click Here.<

Successful Pilot Study for Implanted Continuous Glucose Monitor

September 13th, 2011

Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc (SMSI) is developing a new approach to glucose monitoring that promises to be a long-awaited improvement over present methods, which typically require several finger prick blood tests a day. This inconvenient and uncomfortable method of collecting blood samples results in many diabetics not testing their blood sugar as often as they should.

The new glucose monitoring method involves a small sensor that is implanted under the skin. The sensor automatically monitors glucose levels every few minutes, and transmits the information wirelessly to a small wrist-watch-like external reader. The sensor will also warn the wearer of an impending episode of low or high blood sugar.

The sensor would be of obvious benefit to insulin dependent diabetics whose diabetes is not well controlled or whose blood sugar levels swing unpredictably. It would also be ideal for children with diabetes.

Sensors for Medicine and Science will be presenting the results of a successful pilot study of the glucose monitor at the next meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. "Based on the promising results obtained," says CEO Tim Goodnow, PhD, "We plan to initiate more clinical trials in the very near future."

The company also hopes to collaborate on artificial pancreas research, with many questions to be answered.

Successful Pilot Study for Implanted Continuous Glucose Monitor

September 13th, 2011

Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc (SMSI) is developing a new approach to glucose monitoring that promises to be a long-awaited improvement over present methods, which typically require several finger prick blood tests a day. This inconvenient and uncomfortable method of collecting blood samples results in many diabetics not testing their blood sugar as often as they should.

The new glucose monitoring method involves a small sensor that is implanted under the skin. The sensor automatically monitors glucose levels every few minutes, and transmits the information wirelessly to a small wrist-watch-like external reader. The sensor will also warn the wearer of an impending episode of low or high blood sugar.

The sensor would be of obvious benefit to insulin dependent diabetics whose diabetes is not well controlled or whose blood sugar levels swing unpredictably. It would also be ideal for children with diabetes.

Sensors for Medicine and Science will be presenting the results of a successful pilot study of the glucose monitor at the next meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. "Based on the promising results obtained," says CEO Tim Goodnow, PhD, "We plan to initiate more clinical trials in the very near future."

The company also hopes to collaborate on artificial pancreas research, with many questions to be answered.