Given the increasing prevalence of diabetes, the FA device holds the potential to help address a leading and growing public health concern.
Some 24 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 57 million individuals have abnormal blood sugar levels that qualify as pre-diabetes, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, 4.1 million people over the age of 40 suffer from diabetic retinopathy, an eye-related complication of diabetes that is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults.
Twelve individuals in the study were known to have diabetic retinopathy, a disease in which blood vessels in the eye are damaged. The individuals with diabetic retinopathy in at least one eye had significantly greater FA activity than people with diabetes who do not have any visible eye disease.
"The abnormal readings indicated that it may be possible to use this method to monitor the severity of the disease," says Elner.
Petty, a biophysicist and imaging expert, explains that hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is known to induce cell death in diabetic tissue soon after the onset of disease but before symptoms can be detected clinically.
"Increased FA activity is the earliest indicator that cell death has occurred and tissue is beginning to break down," says Petty, professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the U-M Medical School. "FA serves as a 'spectral-biomarker' for metabolism gone awry, and we can use the results to detect and monitor disease."
Petty also observes that unlike glucose monitoring, elevation of FA levels reflects ongoing tissue damage. Th
|Contact: Betsy Nisbet|
University of Michigan Health System