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Paving the Path for Portable Devices for Non-invasive Blood Glucose Monitoring

blood glucose monitoring
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Diabetes is a common illness for which there is now no treatment. To keep their blood glucose levels (BGLs) under control, people with diabetes must periodically check them and give themselves insulin. BGL readings nearly always require pricking the fingers in order to extract blood. Less intrusive options that make use of contemporary technologies are being actively investigated worldwide due to the discomfort of this treatment.

Infrared light measurement is one of the approaches that have been developed thus far to measure BGL; devices based on mid-infrared light have demonstrated reasonable performance. Nevertheless, it is expensive and challenging to incorporate the necessary sources, detectors, and optical components into portable systems.

On the other hand, cheap components can be used to easily produce and detect near-infrared light (NIR). NIR sensors are already widely used in smartphones and wearables to assess blood oxygen levels and heart rate. Sadly, glucose lacks distinctive absorption peaks in the near-infrared (NIR) range, making it challenging to differentiate it from other blood constituents like lipids and proteins.

In order to overcome this constraint, a group of researchers headed by Tomoya Nakazawa from Hamamatsu Photonics (Japan) have created a unique approach for estimating BGLs using NIR measurements. Their research was published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics and has the potential to completely change noninvasive blood glucose monitoring.

The main output of this work is a novel blood glucose level index, which was created by the research team using fundamental NIR formulations. The first step in their method is to separate the signals of oxyhemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxyhemoglobin (Hb) from NIR data.

The phase delay (asynchronicity) between the low-frequency and oscillating components of HbO2 and Hb signals is closely related to the amount of oxygen consumed during each cardiac cycle, serving as a gauge for metabolism, the researchers discovered after analyzing vast amounts of data on NIR measurements.

“This phase delay-based metabolic index, which has not been reported by other researchers, is a scientifically important discovery,” remarks Nakazawa.

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