A new diabetes testing technology developed by the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering could relieve pain for patients with type 2 diabetes. This needleless “tattoo” sensor measures blood sugar levels via sweat.
How does it work?
The “tattoo” works like a kid’s temporary tattoo. You place it on your arm, put some water on it to make it adhere, and remove the backing.
Inside the tattoo are two tiny electrodes that conduct a minimal and safe electrical current into the skin to detect blood glucose.
Better adherence to diabetes management
With new diabetes testing technologies like this, the aim is for people with diabetes to test more often and not put off testing—also called adherence to diabetes management. This way, diabetics can stay healthy and maintain proper blood sugar levels.
Denial is a big obstacle, and taking away the pain aspect of testing will hopefully make the process all the simpler. Some patients will not test unless they feel sick or unless absolutely necessary, putting them in great danger. Other reasons for not testing are the pain, the hassle, or the spectacle.
What’s next for this new diabetes testing technology?
The technology is still in development. Right now the “tattoo” has to be thrown away after using it once, so tweaks need to be made before it can benefit the millions of people with diabetes worldwide. Also, the cost needs to be made more manageable, which can be achieved with mass production of the device.
The new “tattoo” is in a clinical trial at UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute. The device would differ from Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre Flash in that the Abbott’s device has a filament that goes into the skin, while this “tattoo” sits on top of the skin.
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