Type II diabetes: New sweat test can measure blood sugar levels more easily

Monitoring blood sugar could become more painless and stress-free in the future
People with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly. Researchers have now found that blood sugar levels can be checked with the help of a sensor by analyzing the sweat of human skin. This new method could significantly improve the quality of life of those affected.

The scientists from Seoul National University in South Korea found that a newly developed sensor can effectively monitor blood sugar levels. All that is required is sweat on the patient's skin. The doctors published the results of their study in the scientific journal "Science Advances".

Newly developed sensor is very accurate
"To test the blood sugar level, we do not need a piece of clothing soaked in sweat, but only one millionth of a liter of sweat," the experts explain. Research showed that the sensor developed is very accurate and can serve patients with diabetes well.

Sensor can automatically inject medication with the help of a patch
In further tests on mice, the sensor was even connected to a kind of plaster with small needles, so that it could automatically inject drugs for diabetes. Painful blood sampling could be avoided in the future for patients with diabetes, the scientists from Seoul National University explain.

What is type 1 diabetes?
There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system and usually occurs in childhood or adolescence. The cause of the disease is often a malfunction of the immune system, which then causes insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to die. This increases the blood sugar level and those affected have to inject insulin.

What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is often triggered by the lifestyle of the patient. Existing obesity, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet favor the development of type 2 diabetes. With this form of the disease, the glucose level in the blood is too high. In some patients, insulin injections are also necessary.

Sensor enables easier measurement of blood sugar levels
Patients with these diseases need to have their blood sugar level checked medically. This is the only way to avoid damage to your body, which can even lead to death, explain the doctors. The newly developed sensor could help those affected to measure their blood sugar levels more easily. The sensor is so flexible that it can adapt to movements of the skin.

Some challenges had to be overcome during the development
However, the scientists had to overcome a number of challenges to make the sensor work reliably. There is less sugar in human sweat than in blood. For this reason, the sugar is more difficult to determine. Other chemicals in sweat, such as lactic acid, can also influence the results, the researchers add. For this reason, the developed patch has three sensors that measure the sugar content. Four sensors examine the acidity in sweat and a moisture sensor analyzes the amount of sweat.

Portable computer analyzes measured data
All of this information is then passed on to a portable computer. This carries out the analysis to determine the core values. Tests before and after meals showed reliable results of the patch, compared to the results of traditional blood glucose monitoring measures, say the experts from South Korea.

Further investigations should analyze long-term work of the system
The results show that the current system enables important new advances in the painless and stress-free treatment of diabetes, the researchers say. Further studies are now to clarify how well the patch works in the long term. (as)

Author and source information

Video: Sweat-Based Glucose Sensing and Transdermal Drug Delivery. Dae-Hyeong Kim. TEDxKFAS (December 2021).