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Researchers developed a Graphene-based Wristband that automatically check your blood sugar and administer medication

cjmagowan  —  3 years ago ( Mar 24, 2016 )    |    Health, Science


Some says it’s a disorder while others says it’s a disease but diabetic patients can attest how devastating and life threatening it is having this kind of medical condition and if left untreated could result into a life changing situation and even death. Blood glucose level is what medical practitioners used to measure the severity of the condition and its monitoring techniques could somewhat cause discomfort on the subject.

For years scientists have worked on ways how to combat the effects of diabetes and finding out ways to make is monitoring less invasive. Currently, insulin dependent patients requires them to inject insulin dose their skin with a syringe or pen. Monitoring blood glucose levels is rather even more invasive as they are seemingly more painful either through a needle prick or blood extraction, unless you are used to these kind of procedures which most diabetic patients will get used to it somehow, you’d wish not having the condition in the first place.

There are two types of diabetes, Type-I or insulin dependent diabetes is a form of disorder in which the pancreas is unable to produce the hormone insulin to maintain the human blood glucose levels, Type-II diabetes or the less severe and more common diabetes is a condition which the pancreas can still function normally but is missing with an activator to produce insulin thus requiring a drug such as Metformin to stimulatethe pancreas to produce insulin.

Development and research dedicated for diabetes are on going but as Type-II diabetes are more common, researchers developed a new device designed by Seoul National University assistant professor Dae-Hyeong Kim and his team of researchers from South Korea, Massachusetts and Texas in a form of graphene-based wristband or patch that can be worn by patients and from there, monitoring of blood glucose levels and administering of medication could be achieved.

As Graphene alone can’t do anything for that matter, the team used a minute amount of Gold which then gave researchers the effect they wanted. The device is currently in prototype stage and is equipped with sensors that can measure the mechanical strain, temperature and the chemical composition from sweat, the data collected is then beamed up wirelessly to a compatible mobile device with a compatible app. When discrepancies are detected by the sensors, the app then computes the amount of medication that needs to be administered to the patient which in this case is metformin.

The prototype device is equipped with an array of microneedles that (in theory) could deliver metformin to the patient. The technology is currently at its infant stage and is without issues. For one, the array is activated when the temperature reaches 41 degrees Celsius, causing it to engage unintentionally at this point. Though the sudden activation is somewhat unobtrusive, the mechanism is currently not suitable for tropical environments, also the system still can’t deliver the exact dosage of metformin to an adult patient and researchers are currently working to resolve these known issues before we could call ita go for consumers.

However as development continues and hopefully an eventual market availability, soon diabetic patients won’t need to worry about their regular monitoring procedures and even the administering of medication will become less painful than what we have in practice today.