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New device holds promise of making blood glucose testing easier for patients with diabetes
Date:3/15/2011

TEMPE, Ariz People with diabetes could be helped by a new type of self-monitoring blood glucose sensor being developed by Arizona State University engineers and clinicians at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

More than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes. The disease is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It contributes to a higher risk for heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, lower extremity amputations and other chronic conditions.

Many people with diabetes suffer due to the difficulty of managing their blood glucose levels. It's recommended that they monitor their own glucose levels, but current monitoring devices typically require patients to perform the painful task of pricking their finger to draw blood for a test sample and many patients must do it several times each day.

The new sensor would enable people to draw tear fluid from their eyes to get a glucose-level test sample.

Glucose in tear fluid may give an indication of glucose levels in the blood as accurately as a test using a blood sample, the researchers say.

"The problem with current self-monitoring blood glucose technologies is not so much the sensor. It's the painful finger prick that makes people reluctant to perform the test. This new technology might encourage patients to check their blood sugars more often, which could lead to better control of their diabetes by a simple touch to the eye," says bioengineer Jeffrey T. LaBelle.

LaBelle, the designer of the device technology, is a research professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

He is leading the ASU-Mayo research team along with Mayo Clinic physicians Curtiss B. Cook, an endocrinologist, and Dharmendra (Dave) Patel, chair of Mayo's Department of Surgical Ophthalmology.

The team reported on their early work on the sensor in the Journal of Diabetes Sci
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Contact: Joe Kullman
joe.kullman@asu.edu
480-965-8122
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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