Posted by: Leslie White | June 1, 2010

Nano-ink tattoos could continuously monitor glucose in diabetics

An article from Popular Science.

“One of the main problems diabetics – and their doctors – have is continuously monitoring glucose levels. Usually, that involves several tiny pricks of the finger throughout the day to test their blood-sugar levels. This gives the patient a snapshot of where their blood sugar is right then and there, but it’s often during brief periods when the blood sugar wanders outside of the normal range – right after a meal, for example – that diabetes can do its worst damage.

While there are methods of continuously monitoring glucose levels, they generally require injections into the bloodstream and are not approved for use over extended periods of time. So the MIT team went to work on something more permanent, using nanotubes wrapped in a glucose-sensitive polymer to create an “ink” that can be injected beneath the skin.

When the nano-ink is exposed to glucose it fluoresces in a way that can be detected with near-infrared light. A sensor worn on the body – something like a wristwatch – would provide the near-infrared and make sense of the fluorescing, giving the patient a simple readout of his or blood sugar in real time.”

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