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Measuring glucose without needle pricks
Date:9/7/2012

Sticking yourself in the finger day after day: For many diabetics, this means of checking blood glucose is an everyday part of life. Especially for patients with Type-1 diabetes, who always have to keep a close eye on their levels, since their bodies are incapable of producing the insulin to break down the glucose in the blood. Several times a day, they have to place a tiny drop of blood on a test strip. It is the only way they can ascertain the blood glucose value, so they can inject the correct amount of insulin needed. And this pricking is not only a burdensome: it may also cause inflammation or cornification of the skin. And for pain-sensitive patients, the procedure is agony.

The daily sticking of the finger may soon become a thing of the past, thanks to a diagnostic system with Fraunhofer technology built-in. The underlying concept is a biosensor that is located on the patient's body. It is also able to measure glucose levels continuously using tissue fluids other than blood, such as in sweat or tears. The patient could dispense with the constant needle pricks. In the past, such bioelectric sensors were too big, too imprecise and consumed too much power. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS in Duisburg have recently achieved a major breakthrough: They have developed a biosensor in nano-form that circumvents these hurdles.

Diagnostic system in miniature

The principle of measurement involves an electrochemical reaction that is activated with the aid of an enzyme. Glucose oxidase converts glucose into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and other chemicals whose concentration can be measured with a potentiostat. This measurement is used for calculating the glucose level. The special feature of this biosensor: the chip, measuring just 0.5 x 2.0 millimeters, can fit more than just the nanopotentiostat itself. Indeed, Fraunhofer researchers have attached the entire diagnostic system to i
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Contact: Tom Zimmermann
tom.zimmermann@ims.fraunhofer.de
49-203-378-32942
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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