Diabetes is a serious metabolic disease characterised by the presence of high glucose levels in the blood. It is either due to insufficient production of insulin or the failure of body cells to respond to insulin. Recently we have reported fast-mimicking diet that reverses diabetes. There are two types Type-1 and Type-2, and it is the fastest growing health crisis. The world health organisation estimates the number of diabetics will raise from 171M in 2000 to a whopping 366M in 2030. However, the majority of the cases are Type-2 diabetes, which is considered a silent killer, leading to heart attacks, amputations, and kidney failure. The patients need to continually undergo blood tests to monitor their sugar levels to prevent any further complications.
In case of Type-1 diabetes patients, they need to check the blood sugar levels at least four times a day, and Type-2 diabetes patients needed to monitor blood glucose levels twice a day. Whatever may be the case, the current method to check blood glucose levels involves the painful finger prick tests. And to carry out the tests twice or four times a day only adds to the misery of the patients. Now the scientists at Bath University, have developed a sticky patch (needleless method) that measures the sugar levels from the sweat without the need to pierce the skin. Moreover, it can be worn on the wrist like a watch and can take blood sugar levels at every 15 minutes. Let’s see in detail how the skin patch functions:
How does the Adhesive skin patch function?
-The Sticky patch is packed with electrical sensors taps into the glucose in the skin
-In contrary to the traditional method of skin piercing, this new patch draws in the glucose from fluids between cells across hair follicles, which are assessed individually using little electric current.
-In this way, the glucose is collected in tiny reservoirs, and the skin patch can take readings at an interval of ten to fifteen minutes.
-Further, the results are bound to be more accurate, as the patch operates in a very small area eliminating the variability of intra-skin and inter-skin.
-The design of the array and sensors means that calibration with a blood sample is not required.
-Scientists tested the functionality of the skin patch in pigs where it accurately tracked the blood glucose levels across a range similar to human diabetic patients.
-They then tested it on two human volunteers where it effectively tracked blood sugar variations throughout the day.
The scientists are now planning to improve the design of the patch that facilitates it to function for full 24 hours. Further, they would carry clinical trials on large populations, which if proved useful will replace the current painful finger prickle -tests. One day this patch could be linked to a smartphone app wherein it is thought to alert the patients if the blood sugar levels exceed the permissible limits.
The Research study is published in the journal Nature.