Diabetes: This May Someday Replace Needle Prick
FRIDAY, July 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new type of sensor for people with diabetes is being developed to measure sugar levels in the body using saliva instead of blood, researchers report.
Scientists at Brown University in Providence, R.I., created the sensor and successfully tested it using artificial saliva. It uses light, metal and a special enzyme that changes color when exposed to blood sugar.
"Everybody knows that diabetics have to prick their fingers to draw blood to check their blood sugar and then respond to that information. And they have to do that multiple times a day," said study co-author Tayhas Palmore, a professor of engineering, chemistry and medical science at Brown.
"We're looking for another possibility, and realized that saliva is another bodily fluid that could be measured," Palmore said.
This idea is a welcome one, said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "People are always trying to come up with new ideas of how to measure blood sugar without pricking the fingers."
Recently Diagnosed With Diabetes? Understanding Your Condition
By Abby Norman, HealthGuide, Pen Bay Medical Center
Do you know someone who has diabetes? It might be a family member, a friend or your next door neighbor. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 29.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes in the last few years – millions more are at risk for developing it.
Diabetes is a condition where your body can't properly use the sugar you get from the foods you eat. When we eat, our body breaks down the food into many different parts. One of those parts is "glucose" or sugar which we use for energy. People who are not diabetic are able to use this sugar as energy without a problem. Someone who has diabetes cannot convert the sugar to energy and this depends on whether they have Type I or Type II diabetes.
If you currently have Type I diabetes, there's a good chance you've had it most of your life since childhood. It used to be called Juvenile Diabetes years ago, but now, adults as well as children are diagnosed with Type I diabetes. With Type I diabetes, your body does not make a hormone called insulin made by an organ called the pancreas. After you've eaten something, the pancreas tells your body how to handle the sugar in your body. As you can imagine, if you don't have insulin, your body will be confused about what to do with that sugar. When someone who is diabetic talks about having "high blood sugar" or "low blood sugar" they are talking about how much sugar is absorbed into their bloodstream after they've eaten. If your body does not make any insulin, you will have lots of sugar in your bloodstream that doesn't know where it's supposed to go and can make you very sick. That's why people who have Type I diabetes are called "insulin-dependent." In order to survive, they need to take shots or use a pump that will put insulin into their bodies so that they don't have too much sugar in their blood.