SAPPORO – Researchers at Hokkaido University working with private-sector scientists have developed a device to measure the blood sugar level of diabetic patients via the use of an electronic beam, according to informed sources.
Doctors have already started clinical tests on the system, which does not involve drawing blood, at Seiwa Memorial Hospital in Sapporo.
Patients with serious cases of diabetes who require insulin treatment are required to measure their blood sugar level two to four times a day through blood samples.
“If diabetics can measure their blood sugar level without taking blood, it would substantially improve their quality of life,” said Mamoru Tamura, professor of bio-spectroscopy at the university’s Research Institute for Electronic Science and the principal developer of the device.
The system was developed by Tamura, scientists from Matsushita Electric Works Ltd. and other parties.
It is capable of measuring a patient’s blood sugar level simply by directing a light beam with a wavelength in the near-infrared spectrum to the skin of the patient’s arm.
Scientists have known that glucose in blood absorbs light in the near-infrared spectrum. The new device involves computing the blood sugar level by measuring the amount of near-infrared light lost when deflected by the skin.
Tamura said the infrared measuring system has an error margin within 15 percent, which he claimed meets standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to those involved in the project, the blood sugar electronic tester was developed as part of a project to create an artificial pancreas.
Tamura said the next challenge is to improve the accuracy of the device and make the system small enough to allow diabetic patients to carry them around and measure their blood sugar level whenever necessary.
“Diabetic patients don’t have any particular symptom when their blood sugar level changes. It would be a great help if their blood sugar level can be measured as easily as their body weight,” said Masataka Ishii, a physician at Seiwa Memorial Hospital.
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