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Diabetes and heart attack diagnosis now made simple with twin magic

Good things come in small packages. So are the twin electroneedles, which is targeted at diabetics and high-risk cardiac patients to confirm heart attack episodes. The two arrays of micron-sized needles operate similarly by penetrating painlessly into the skin.

Good thing come in small packages. So are the twin electroneedles, which is targeted at diabetics and also said to benefit high-risk cardiac patients by confirming heart attacks. The two arrays of micron-sized needles operate similarly by penetrating painlessly into the skin. Arranged in varying numbers on a small patch, the needles can measure molecules inside the body, eliminating the need to withdraw blood from a patient.

One device is Electro Needles, micron-sized electrodes capable of measuring molecules such as glucose. The other is μPosts, micron-sized posts that have the potential of painlessly measuring protein markers released during a heart attack, using optical measurements. What makes it extra special is that the needles play a dual role and complement each other.

The tiny medical gadgets are expected to be constructed of cheap throw-away plastic which would not only make glucose testing simple and painless, but would significantly cut down the time in diagnosis. Because the analysis is done inside the body, the need to withdraw body fluid is eliminated and the small needle does not cause pain.

This is not all. The tips of each of the ElectroNeedles and μPosts could be coated with a biologically active layer capable of measuring concentrations of specific lipids, proteins, antibodies, toxins, viruses, and carbohydrates and measurement can be made in a few seconds.

This new diagnostic tool is expected to revolutionize the medical field by giving the physician a greater understanding of the health of the patient in a shorter amount of time than standard laboratory analysis used today in medicine.

Today if someone goes to an em ergency room with chest pains the doctor assesses the patient's condition based on their symptoms. In order to accurately diagnose a patient the doctor has to take a blood sample, which is processed not before 6 hours for confirmation of heart attack. With a μPost test a doctor would know within a couple of minutes of a patient's arrival at the emergency room if the patient has had a heart attack.

These needles have still a long way to go in terms of being tested for efficiency and safety to go before they are marketed.

Medindia on Diabetes: All of us know someone suffering from diabetes. It is, apart from being one of the most prevalent diseases in the world, also a disease that opens up a Pandora's box of many complications.

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