Invasive measurement of blood glucose no longer necessary

February 4, 2016
Researchers have developed a method of measuring blood glucose using far infrared light. Credit: Yuji Matsuura

A group of researchers, led by Prof. Yuji Matsuura of Tohoku University's Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, has developed a method of measuring blood glucose using far infrared light, which is both harmless and non-invasive.

Diabetes patients traditionally monitor their daily levels by using a conventional meter which requires blood sampling from the finger tips. The discomfort of pain and risk of infection can sometimes be a source of great stress and concern.

To address that, other researchers have proposed and developed non-invasive methods for glucose measurement using near infrared light. This works on the premise that near infrared light of some specific wavelengths are selectively absorbed by glucose in the blood.

However, accurate and stable measurement using this method has proven difficult because the near infrared light is not only weakly absorbed by glucose, but also by water, protein and hemoglobin.

In contrast, far infrared light with wavelengths of around 10 micron is strongly absorbed by glucose, making it possible, in theory, for patients to get more sensitive and accurate measurements. However, the problem faced by researchers, is that far-infrared light penetrates only a few microns from the skin's surface, which makes the detection of blood glucose difficult.

Using a small prism, it is possible to irradiate the oral mucosa of inner lips. Credit:

Prof. Matsuura's team has thus developed a new measurement technique that consists of a small prism attached to the ends of flexible hollow-optical fibers to radiate far . By using this method, it is possible to irradiate the oral mucosa of inner lips that, unlike skin, have no thick horny layer.

Results from experiments show sensitively detected and accurately measured with a less than 20% margin of error, which Prof. Matsuura believes is good enough for clinical uses.

Diabetes is a serious problem that affects millions of people worldwide. By combining the new method with far infrared lasers that have recently been developed, Prof. Matsuura expects compact and low-cost blood glucose measurement systems to soon be widely used in clinical fields.

Explore further: Intense workouts best for exercising diabetics

Related Stories

Intense workouts best for exercising diabetics

February 1, 2016
REALLY working up a sweat while exercising by ramping up intensity has eliminated the need to eat and drink in order to stabilise blood sugars before exercise in Type 1 diabetics.

Recommended for you

Getting fat to 'talk' again could lower blood glucose and weight

August 22, 2017
Diabetes is a tough disease to manage. Oral medications, insulin shots, close monitoring of blood sugar, dietary changes and exercise can all factor into a person's treatment regimen. Now researchers are exploring a novel, ...

Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression

August 21, 2017
Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden describe a new method to study biochemical changes that occur in the pancreas during the development of diabetes. The method, recently published in Scientific Reports, is based ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Smart mat detects early warning signs of foot ulcers

August 16, 2017
While completing his residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the mid-2000s, Jon Bloom saw his fair share of foot amputations among patients with diabetes. The culprit: infected foot ulcers.

The best place to treat type 1 diabetes might be just under your skin

August 14, 2017
A group of U of T researchers have demonstrated that the space under our skin might be an optimal location to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D).

New measure of insulin-making cells could gauge diabetes progression, treatment

August 10, 2017
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new measurement for the volume and activity of beta cells, the source of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

SusejDog
not rated yet Feb 05, 2016
Results from experiments show blood glucose levels sensitively detected and accurately measured with a less than 20% margin of error, which Prof. Matsuura believes is good enough for clinical uses.
This is totally ridiculous. 20% is way too high a margin of error. 3% is probably the upper limit of what is acceptable.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.