Diabetics Could Get Finger Prick Relief From Microwave Test

Diabetics who must use finger pricking to self-test blood glucose levels may soon be able to monitor themselves with a discrete device that uses microwaves, according to scientists at Cardiff University.

In order to monitor blood glucose, people with diabetes currently must prick a finger with a small device before testing their blood on a chemically coated piece of paper. Researchers believe their tiny device, which can adhere out of sight to a person’s arm, can test glucose levels through the skin using microwaves - thereby removing the need for bleeding and testing supplies that come with expiration dates.

"Patients are very keen on this," said Professor Stephen Luzio, lead author of the study. "One of the big problems with patients measuring their glucose is they don't like pricking their finger, so there's a lot of interest."

Non-Invasive monitoring

Since 2008, scientists have been working on the device they hope will be a less invasive way of testing glucose levels. Patients only need to give a blood sample the first time the device is calibrated. Afterwards, blood glucose levels are sent to a mobile app, computer and even the patient’s doctor for effective monitoring.

Researchers have conducted trials with diabetic patients already and plan to do more later this year. They hope to have the product available to the public in five years, and claim the usage of microwaves won’t harm patients.

"The monitor uses microwaves and is very safe," said Professor Adrian Porch. "The levels of microwaves are very, very low. If you think about a mobile phone then they are about a thousand times less than that."

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