Recently our diabetes education staff at St. Anthony’s Medical Center had the pleasure of hearing about the newest glucose monitoring technology straight from the inventor himself—Dr. Zhi Xu, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UMSL, presented his non-invasive glucose monitor. Remember, we wrote about Dr. Xu before here!
Dr. Xu’s meter is the first non-invasive monitor that measures blood glucose optically (using a light source). The technology in the meter makes it possible to measure blood glucose painlessly by analyzing data from the blood using “the finger pulse method,” a measurement of the blood between heartbeats—all within 1 second. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds; the methodology behind the measurement includes a complex formula that makes it possible to measure the amount of glucose in the blood while eliminating interference (anything besides the glucose; like your skin, fingernail, and other components of the blood).
Dr. Xu and his staff have created a few prototypes thus far and are working toward the final model, which they will submit to the FDA for trial and ultimately clearance (hopefully!) to be on the market. Each model they create gets smaller and Dr. Xu envisions the final version to be the size of a cell phone–and cordless, of course.
This type of meter will be the first of its kind. It’s very accurate and will improve the lives of many people, especially those who check blood glucose frequently and/or aim for superior control. The pain factor of course makes this invention very important, but it will also save huge amounts of waste from testing supplies and will save patients money in the long run. Imagine this: if a person tests their blood glucose 4-6 times per day, that’s a savings of 1,460 to 2,010 test strips per year! At one dollar a strip, that could be $2,000. Not to mention, a savings from our nation’s landfills.
According to the World Diabetes Foundation, as of 2010 there were an astonishing 285 million people living with diabetes. This equates to 6.4% of the world’s population. By the year 2030, the prevalence is expected to grow to 438 million (7.8% of the adult population). A painless glucose meter will only improve the health and quality of life of people living with diabetes by allowing them to increase frequency of testing for improved glycemic control.
This presentation was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed meeting Dr. Xu and his staff. The future holds amazing things thanks to their work! How would your life change if you didn’t have to stick your finger to check your blood sugar? Let us know by making a comment below.
Photo courtesy of UMSL.