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Painless Device to Measure Blood Sugar

Hong Kong scientists have invented a device that measures blood sugar painlessly and, for the first time, without pricking fingers. The device, about the size of a mobile phone emits a very weak form of infrared or nearinfrared beam which touches the skin and homes in on the bloodstream. The beam is said to be able to identify bits of glucose through the frequency or wavelength they transmit, and the amount of blood sugar present would then be displayed on the instrument within seconds.

“There are different types of cells in the blood vessel… red blood cells, white blood cells, other compounds, protein, glucose, cholesterol:’ Joanne Chung, professor and associate head of research at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Nursing, said in an interview. “But our model selects the one for glucose and tells you its levels.”

Said to be a breakthrough in the testing of blood sugar levels, in which diabetics would not have to prick their fingers up to several times a day, the device won a gold medal at the Geneva Invention Expo last April 2007 and will be available commercially in 2008. The team then hopes to be able to invent a similar instrument that could recognize other key elements such as blood cholesterol and lactic acid, particularly in the case of cancer patients.

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