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article imageDiabetes monitoring breathalyzer developed

By Tim Sandle     Nov 22, 2016 in Health
A new hand-held breathalyzer that allows individuals to easily assess their blood glucose levels has been developed. The device informs the user bout diabetes risk and it differs from a medical device we reported on earlier this month.
The hand-held unit has been developed at Western New England University, from a research group headed up by Dr. Ronny Priefer and Dr. Michael Rust. The new device offers an alternative to standard blood tests, traditionally carried out using finger-stick testing. This test is generally not popular and many people avoid performing the test due to a dislike of using needles and therefore many cases go undiagnosed (or where treatments are not properly administered).
Patients with type one diabetes require regular injections of insulin
Patients with type one diabetes require regular injections of insulin
Sajjad Hussain, AFP
This device is a different one to a device profiled on Digital Journal earlier this month. The alternative device was developed by Oxford University researchers led by Dr. Robert Peverall.
If glucose levels are not monitored and levels drop below the safe threshold (hypoglycaemia) then serious complications can arise. These include seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. Conversely, if glucose levels are too high this can lead to greater susceptibility to infections, a high risk of cardiovascular disease, and associated nerve and kidney damage.
The device, approximately the size of small book, works by patients blowing into a breathalyzer to detect the acetone levels in their breath. The presence of acetone (ketoacidosis) is connected with variable levels of blood glucose. In diabetic ketoacidosis, the lack of insulin means a person cannot absorb glucose in the blood stream. This causes a cascade of metabolic failures that ends in a high concentration of ketones like acetoacetic acid in the blood. If high levels of blood glucose are confirmed, a patient can determine if they need to take insulin.
Ketoacidosis is most common in untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus, when the liver breaks down fat and proteins in response to a perceived need for respiratory substrate. The new device uses nanometer-thick films consisting of two polymers that react with acetone. This cross links the polymers and alters the physicochemical nature of the film, and this allows for quantification of the acetone and thus an assessment of the blood-glucose levels.
The new device has been presented to the 2016 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, which was held in Denver, Colorado, U.S. this month.
In communication with Digital Journal, Dr. Priefer said: “We believe this technology will be a great improvement in the lives of people with diabetes.”
The researcher added: “It is a non-invasive medical device for detecting and monitoring diabetes by connecting one’s acetone levels with their blood glucose. We believe it is a necessary alternative to the finger-stick approach for people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”
It hoped the device can be commercialized by the end of 2017.
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