Most people reading this are aware that when someone has diabetes, they need to test their blood glucose (blood sugar). Testing is usually recommended by ones medical team anywhere from a few times a day, up to 10 times per day. Usually people monitor their blood glucose with home monitoring devices. Diabetes Forecast provides a list of current meters available in the United States in 2014. They provide information on the prices of the meters and strips. As you can see from the list, there are many meters available that rely on pricking fingers or drawing blood from alternative sites. This blog focuses on six current areas of research in alternative technology that will hopefully avoid those prickly finger sticks!

thumbs up for news advancements ways to test blood glucose without pricking your fingerContact lens - Google Smart Contact Lens Project - You might have seen information on this device recently in the news. In fact, here at DiabetesCare.net there was a whole blog devoted to it. This device is worn as a contact lens but is a monitor that tests blood glucose with tears every second using wireless technology. It is in the prototype phase and it appears that there is a lot of work to be done before it is expected to be released for consumers.

Saliva - A testing device that uses saliva called the iQuickIt Saliva Analyzer is in the development stage. This device needs to go through clinical trials and testing to get US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. It uses a meter and instead of blood on a test strip, saliva is captured on a single use wick. Technique to use the analyzer involves the individual placing the wick in their mouth and then into the meter for their blood glucose reading. This device does appear to be totally non-invasive. Visit the iQuickIt Saliva Analyzer website for more details.
 
Acetone in the breath - Researchers in Israel are developing a testing device which is a single use capsule to measure the amount of acetone in an exhaled breath. When the acetone in the breath is mixed with a certain chemical compound a reaction happens which correlate to blood glucose amounts. More testing needs to be done. Visit the Positive ID website for additional information.

Earlobe - The Glucotrack is a device that clips to the earlobe for measuring blood glucose levels. It uses ultrasonic, electromagnetic and thermal technologies. A personal ear clip is attached to a small cable to a main unit (mu) that is about the size of a cell phone. The mu provides the blood glucose measurements. The mu can support 1-3 individual users and each user will require an individual ear clip. The ear clips need to be replaced every six months. The main unit has a memory capacity of 1000 readings per user, it will display results graphically or in a list. Audio results are also available and uses USB technology for downloading. The manufacturer expects this device to be on the market in a few European countries in 2014 and tells consumers to check the Integrity Applications website for availability.

Light through the skin - German researchers are devising a glucometer that uses infrared laser light to measure glucose through the skin. This device will send a pulse of light that is absorbed by the molecules of glucose which creates a sound that is correlated to blood glucose levels. According to the website, the need for test strips will be eliminated. The technology is being refined and the research team expects a shoe box size device to be ready in three years with a portable size meter available after that. For more information visit the Elte Sensoric GmbH website

Coil between the eyelid and eye - The Noviosense glucose sensor uses a small metal coil covered with a special gel that is placed between the lower eyelid and the eye. The gel makes contact between eye fluid and the coil. An enzyme on the coil generates a small current which is measured by the coil. The data is sent to a small device that the person holds in front of the eye which the blood glucose reading will be displayed. The sensor may also be connected into a system attached to a pump which would then deliver insulin providing a closed loop system. This would be especially beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes. Clinical trials are expected in 2014. For more information visit noviosense.com

As you can see research teams around the world are working on ways to test blood glucose using methods that do not use a blood sample and are pain-free. Hopefully many of these devices will be able to go through the testing needed for safety and reliability.

Three cheers for the research teams for making diabetes easier to manage!