Device to free diabetics from pinpricks?

September 9th, 2012 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Sep 9 (IANS) A non-invasive approach could free diabetics from the pain of several pinpricks.

A tiny bio-sensor engineered by Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS, Germany, is able to monitor glucose levels continuously using tissue fluids, such as in sweat or tears, which can be radioed to a mobile device.

In the past, such bio-electric sensors were too big, too imprecise and consumed too much power.

Patients with Type-1 diabetes need to keep a close watch on their levels, since their bodies are incapable of producing the insulin to break down the glucose in the blood, according to a Fraunhofer statement.

Testing a drop of blood several times daily on a strip, is the only way they can ascertain the blood glucose value, so they can inject the correct amount of insulin needed. And this pricking may also cause inflammation or cornification of the skin. And for pain-sensitive patients, the procedure is agony.

The bio-sensor transmits the data via a wireless interface, for example to a mobile receiver. Thus, the patient can keep a steady eye on his or her glucose level.

“In the past, you used to need a circuit board the size of a half-sheet of paper,” explained Tom Zimmermann, business unit manager at Fraunhofer Institute IMS.

“You also had to have a driver. But even these things are no longer necessary with our new sensor.”

Besides, the sensor consumes substantially less power, which increases the durability of the system - allowing the patient to wear the sensor for weeks, or even months.

The sensor is able to send and receive data packages, but it can also be supplied with power through radio frequency.

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