Many people with diabetes have multiple, painful injections each day to test their blood sugar. Now researchers are reporting ACS sensors developed a device capable of measuring glucose in sweat with the touch of a finger, then a custom algorithm provides an accurate estimate of blood sugar.
According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Although self-monitoring of blood sugar is an essential part of managing diabetes, the pain and inconvenience caused by having blood drawn from a finger can prevent people from getting tested as often as they should. Scientists have developed ways to measure glucose in sweat, but since sugar levels are much lower than in blood, they can vary depending on the rate of perspiration and the properties of a person’s skin. As a result, the glucose level in sweat usually does not accurately reflect the value in the blood. To get a more reliable estimate of blood sugar from sweat, Joseph Wang and his colleagues wanted to design a system that could collect sweat from a fingertip, measure glucose, and then correct for individual variability.
The researchers made a tactile sweat glucose sensor with a polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel on top of an electrochemical sensor, which was screen printed onto a strip of flexible plastic. When a volunteer placed their fingertip on the sensor surface for 1 minute, the hydrogel absorbed tiny amounts of sweat. Inside the sensor, the glucose in the sweat underwent an enzymatic reaction that resulted in a small electrical current that was detected by a hand-held device. The researchers also measured the volunteers’ blood sugar with a standard finger prick test, and they developed a personalized algorithm that could translate each person’s sweat blood sugar into blood sugar. In testing, the algorithm was over 95% accurate in predicting blood sugar before and after meals. To calibrate the device, a person with diabetes would only need a finger prick once or twice a month. But before the diagnosis of sweat can be used to manage diabetes, a large-scale study needs to be done, the researchers say.
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Material provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.