By Janet Fang
Posting in Design
This new strip would be ideal for measuring sugar levels in some rural parts of China and India, where type 2 diabetes is looming. And it uses urine... no more finger pricks.
Scientists have developed a new, inexpensive paper-based device designed for diabetes testing in rural areas of developing countries.
Like clinical tests for type 2 diabetes, the new glucose monitor measures sugar levels -- but it uses urine rather than blood obtained from a pin-prick to the finger.
And even though urine test strips for diabetes are on the market and seem inexpensive, their cost are still be prohibitive in areas such as rural China and India where the disease is looming, American Chemistry Society explains in its Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast.
The device, developed by Jan Lankelma of VU University in The Netherlands and colleagues, consists of: 3 electrodes, a buffer solution, a piece of paper, and a plastic dish.
- The sample is injected onto the paper (or nitrocellulose) with a slightly modified medical syringe.
- The solution moves along the paper by gravity and capillary action (like the way water climbs).
- An enzyme called glucose oxidase, which is already on the paper, reacts with glucose.
- This produces hydrogen peroxide, which is detected by the electrodes.
The device also could be adapted for diagnosing other conditions, analyzing food, or monitoring the environment.
The findings were published in ACS' Analytical Chemistry.
Image from Lankelma et al.
Jul 11, 2012
Sugar doesn't spill into the urine until blood levels are quite elevated, well past the levels considered desirable for diabetics to maintain. This technology may be a marginal improvement for those who otherwise would be unable to monitor at all, but is significantly inadequate for anyone desiring to keep sugar levels in an optimal range. It's a bit embarrassing that China can't do better. Machines and strips are so expensive in the West mostly because the makers build in planned obsolescence and monopolize production of the strips, which is where the profit is. Adequate blood readings shouldn't be all that costly if older machine and strip methods were mass produced and sold at cost.
We used urine samples back in the 50's. They were so inaccurate that they hardly had any relationship with the real world. They were a collection of sugars from whenever the last bathroom break was!
This device will test urine sugar, how it will represent blood level for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diabetes?