Findings from Lancaster University study offers insight into the potential of different forms of applications in monitoring diabetes.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels forms an important part of the management of diabetes and the prevention of hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose levels) and hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels).

Glucose monitoring methods available at present include either needle-prick meters or continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and therefore, researchers at Lancaster University wanted to look at how non-invasive glucose measurements could greatly improve the self-management of diabetes.

In a study recently published in Diabetology researchers said: “A wide range of non-invasive sensing techniques have been reported, though achieving a level of precision comparable to invasive meters remains a challenge.

“Optical sensors, which utilise the interactions between glucose and light, offer the potential for non-invasive continuous sensing, allowing real-time monitoring of glucose levels, and a range of different optical sensing technologies have been proposed.

“This review aims to discuss the current progress behind the most reported optical glucose sensing methods, theory and current limitations of optical sensing methods and the future technology development required to achieve an accurate optical-based glucose monitoring device.” 

For people living with diabetes maintaining the blood glucose concentration between 4–6mmol/L is vital as both hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia can have a detrimental effect on the body and can therefore reduce the risk of additional complications.

Researchers said: “Diabetes is a condition associated with poor glucose regulation and insulin resistance, broadly distinguished into two categories. Type 1 diabetes is where β-cells do not produce insulin, and type 2 where the β-cells produce sufficient insulin but the skeletal muscle and other tissues become resistant to insulin.”

“Accurate tests for glucose can be carried out in hospitals using a blood test, where HbA1c is the main diagnostic measure for diabetes. However, many patients (especially with type 1 diabetes) must monitor their blood sugar levels several times a day and so a user-friendly glucose meter that can be operated by the patient and give near-instantaneous results is vital.”

“This review aims to discuss the most reported optical sensing techniques, addressing the theory behind each technique and the current progress in each area.”

Researchers concluded: “There are a wide range of non-invasive glucose sensing techniques currently under development, of which a substantial number use optical techniques.

“Such techniques will likely improve upon the current challenges and further progress towards an ideal non-invasive optical glucose sensor which can provide real-time continuous monitoring for people with diabetes.”

Read the report in Diabetology 
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