I attended a health camp over the weekend and was moved by the lectures from some of the experienced and knowledgeable physicians and professors. One of the diabetic experts reinforced the fact that diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases and is spreading at alarming rate, especially in South Asian population. Glucose monitor are and will become more and more important to manage glucose levels.
There is a big push to develop alternative technologies than current needle pricking options. We covered two of them, a breath glucose analyzer and implantable sensor in recent post and would like talk about one more that is being developed in collaboration with University of Tokyo and the BEANS Research Institute.
To be honest, I was attracted by the photograph in the article that showed a mouse with a colored ear and realized that some researchers are working on a fluorescent hydrogel beads to monitor glucose level in the body. Is it pretty neat? More fascinating fact is this hydrogel glows with different intensity depending upon the glucose concentration in your blood. Have fun with this you tube video:
How does this hydrogel work?
According to an article in...
magazine of University of Tokoyo, the hydrogel:
- chosen is a soft polyacrylamide substance with the texture of gelatin
- is chemically bound to an anthracene derivative containing boronic acid
- fluoresces when it binds to glucose in the blood.
Scientists were successful in making beads out of hydrogel, which were implanted in thin skinned ear of mouse and observed changes in light intensity with glucose concentration.
Scientists acknowledged that “We also succeeded in measuring peripheral blood glucose concentrations by observing the changing fluorescence of the beads through the skin.”
I think the research is very interesting and should trigger practical ways of exploiting the hydrogel in developing a device that can be used by diabetic patients and relieving them from pain of needle pricks.