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I've Got Glucose Monitoring Under My Skin

Implanted device could allow measures with wave of arm

FRIDAY, July 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An experimental under-the-skin sensor that's smaller than a dime and paper thin could be used to monitor a diabetic's blood sugar levels simply by waving an arm.

The sensor, described in a report in the July 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry, might also be used to monitor environmental toxins and deadly agents such as ricin.

"The vision of our work is a passive sensor of virtually unlimited lifetime that could be placed in the tissue of the skin," study author Craig Grimes, a professor of electrical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, said in a prepared statement.

The sensor has no internal power supply and no connections outside the body. The inexpensive device is designed to continually monitor blood sugar levels.

"Whenever a reading is needed, a person can wave their hand or arm in front of reader that will automatically detect the sensor," Grimes said. This would prevent the diabetic from having to draw blood.

This sensor, based on the same technology used in plastic security tags in stores to prevent shoplifting, still needs fine-tuning before it can be tested in animals.

More information

The U.S. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse has more about noninvasive blood sugar monitors.

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, June 28, 2004
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