Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Diabetes Monitoring Breakthrough

A new product in the world of diabetes testing is currently under development in Arizona. For years diabetics have pricked their finger to get a small blood sample to measure their glucose levels, but scientists have found a new process. Under development is a monitoring device that can use secretions from the tear ducts to measure blood glucose levels. So far, the preliminary tests look to be very comparable in accuracy with the finger prick methods, but it is much more comfortable since there is not the initial pain of the needle pricking the finger. The goal of the current testing procedures, is to make sure that this method, and the new monitoring devices, are consistently getting accurate readings.

The article expresses the fact that there are many diabetics who do not test their blood glucose levels because of how uncomfortable it is to prick their finger multiple times a day. With the experimental monitoring devices, they can get a reading right off the surface of the eye. Though this still may be a little uncomfortable to touch something to one's eye, it takes away the fear of the needle having to pierce the skin. The new method looks to improve the rate at which diabetics test themselves, in order to keep more from serious medical problems. In the following clip from the article, you can see how costly diabetes is on our national economy:

"A study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association reported that in 2007 the national economic burden related to diabetes was more than $170 billion -- including about $116 billion in additional health care costs and $58 billion in lost productivity from workers debilitated by the disease."

If diabetics are more likely to test themselves with the new method, it is logical to think that the overall cost of diabetic care, and the amount of revenue lost as diabetics are unable to go to work due to medical reasons will definitely decrease. As the research is developed, more donors will begin to back the cost of the research in hopes of grabbing a piece of the sales after it is approved by the FDA. I highly doubt that this research would be dropped or abandoned, because the amount of possible profit for a less invasive method of glucose testing is great.

Study Guide Questions:

1. From where will the new device measure glucose levels?

2. In 2007, how much was the national economic burden to diabetes?

3. What is the main concern with the current tests involving the new technology?

Diabetic Dog Game

Experience what it is like to have diabetes by taking care of your own online dog.


Arizona State University. "New device holds promise of making blood glucose testing easier for patients with diabetes." ScienceDaily 16 March 2011. 20 March 2011­/releases/2011/03/110315163219.htm.

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