A Tattoo to Monitor Blood Sugar Levels May Not be Far Off

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EmaxHealth Health News

By Deborah Mitchell for EmaxHealth.com

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing a new continuous glucose monitoring technology that will allow those with Type 1 diabetes check blood sugar levels using a glucose “tattoo.” The device has the potential to free people with diabetes from having to perform numerous finger pricks each day.

The glucose tattoo is made from a fluorescent nanoparticle ink injected under the skin that will reflect infrared light in response to glucose through the skin to a watch-sized monitor worn over the skin. The tattoo itself would only be a few millimeters in size and would not go as deep as a regular tattoo. The ink would likely last about six months before needing to be refreshed.

The nano ink particles are tiny spheres that consist of three parts: the glucose detecting molecule, a color-changing dye, and another molecule that mimics glucose. The three parts continuously move and when they approach the surface, the glucose detecting molecule either grabs a molecule of glucose or the mimicking molecule. If glucose levels are at a health level, the color is orange. If the detecting molecule mostly latches onto glucose (glucose levels too high) the ink appears yellow. If glucose levels are low, the ink turns purple.

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