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Breathalyzer Monitors Blood Glucose in Diabetics

Innovative device identifies acetone in patients’ breath (November 13)

A new hand-held, noninvasive monitoring device that uses nanotechnology to detect acetone has been shown to correlate with blood glucose levels in the breath of diabetics. The findings are being presented at the 2013 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, held Nov. 10–14 in San Antonio, Texas.

Current technology, such as the blood glucose meter, is invasive and causes discomfort to patients, often resulting in low compliance, according to the AAPS.

The new multilayer technology, created by scientists at Western New England University, uses nanometer-thick films consisting of two polymers that react with acetone. This cross-links the polymers and alters the physicochemical nature of the film, which provides a quantification of the acetone and thus the blood glucose levels.

“Breathalyzers are a growing field of study because of their potential to have a significant positive impact on patients’ quality of life and compliance with diabetes monitoring. What makes our technology different is that it only accounts for acetone and doesn’t react with other components in the breath,” said lead investigator Ronny Priefer, PhD.

Other common shortcomings of current breathalyzer technology are inconsistent results due to the natural humidity of a person's breath, high temperature requirements, and the lack of selectivity.

Priefer plans to perform controlled testing with patients in late 2014 or early 2015. This testing would compare readings from the new breathalyzer, finger pricking, and actual glucose levels from drawn blood. Priefer wants patients to test the breathalyzer in an uncontrolled setting in about 2 years.

Source: AAPS; November 13, 2013.

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