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May 6, 2021

New device can measure glucose in sweat with the touch of a fingertip

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, information science

Many people with diabetes endure multiple, painful finger pricks each day to measure their blood glucose. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Sensors have developed a device that can measure glucose in sweat with the touch of a fingertip, and then a personalized algorithm provides an accurate estimate of blood glucose levels.

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes. Although self-monitoring of blood glucose is a critical part of diabetes management, the pain and inconvenience caused by finger-stick blood sampling can keep people from testing as often as they should.

The researchers made a touch-based sweat glucose sensor with a polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel on top of an electrochemical sensor, which was screen-printed onto a flexible plastic strip. When a volunteer placed their fingertip on the sensor surface for 1 minute, the hydrogel absorbed tiny amounts of sweat. Inside the sensor, glucose in the sweat underwent an enzymatic reaction that resulted in a small electrical current that was detected by a hand-held device.

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