A new system for identifying spikes in blood sugar levels has been developed by researchers at MIT in the US. The technology, which uses a near-infrared light shone through the skin, could signal the end of the pinprick blood test used by patients with type 1 diabetes . The light is used in association with body chemistry and Raman spectroscopy to calculate the quantity of glucose in the bloodstream.
The glucose-monitoring device scans a patient’s arm or finger with near-infrared light, without the need to draw blood, a daily routine for most sufferers of type 1 diabetes . It is hoped that the over one million people in the US who suffer from type 1 diabetes will benefit from the device.
The research, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry, showed how the scientists fired near-infrared light into the skin to a depth of about half a millimeter, reaching the interstitial fluid that surrounds skin cells, but not the actual blood itself. Although glucose is represented in the interstitial fluid, there can be a delay from the time it spikes in the bloodstream and the time it surges in the fluid.
The study found that Raman spectroscopy can identify glucose levels, based on the frequency of vibrations of the bonds that hold the molecules together. This spectroscopy machine, the size of a laptop computer, has been in development at MIT for the last 15 years.

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