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Wearable device for the early detection of common diabetes-related neurological condition
Date:7/28/2014

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2014A group of researchers in Taiwan has developed a new optical technology that may be able to detect an early complication of diabetes sooner, when it is more easily treated. If the device proves safe and effective in clinical trials, it may pave the way for the early detection and more effective treatment of this complication, called diabetic autonomic neuropathy, which is common among people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The condition progressively affects the autonomic nerves controlling vital organs like the heart and gastrointestinal system. This can lead to problems like fainting, incontinence, nausea, heart arrhythmias and an increased risk of bacterial infection.

Described in a paper published today in The Optical Society (OSA)'s journal Applied Optics, the new technology is a small, wearable device called a pupillometer that can hang on a pair of eyeglasses and only weighs 78 grams, slightly heavier than Google Glass. Developed by a team at National Taiwan University Hospital, Hsin Chu branch and National Chiao-Tung University, the device is designed to be worn for a half hour or so in the doctor's office, during which time it would monitor a person's pupils. By carefully measuring five parameters associated with the pupils, doctors may then be able to detect the earliest signs of diabetic autonomic neuropathy.

Detecting someone's asymptomatic diabetic autonomic neuropathy early and treating it properly may lead to far better health outcomes for them. Currently the condition is often not detected until moderate nerve damage and organ dysfunction are present.

Currently doctors rely on observing changes in digestive speed, heart rate and blood pressure to detect diabetic autonomic neuropathy, but this limits their ability to make a diagnosis early on, said Mang Ou-Yang, who led the research with colleagues at National Chiao-Tu
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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
The Optical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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