Researchers have detected a new way to test an individual’s glucose levels without constantly pricking their fingers.

Academics from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have been testing an innovative electromagnetic (EM)-wave-based glucose sensor that sits beneath the surface of the skin.

The small sensor is as big as one-fifth of a cotton swab and calculates any alterations in glucose concentrations in interstitial fluid (ISF) – the liquid found in the spaces around cells.

The scientists noted: “Present work is an effort for the realisation of implantable electromagnetic-based sensor, which can be an alternate to enzyme-based or optical-based glucose sensor.

“’The proposed implantable sensor has not only overcome the disadvantages of the existing continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS), such as short lifespan, but has also enhanced the blood glucose prediction accuracy.”

Good blood glucose management is an important aspect of diabetes care treatment. The fasting blood glucose levels for people living with diabetes are 126 mg/dL or higher compared to 100 mg/dL in those without the condition.

For years now experts have been testing various different methods to measure blood sugar levels, including optical-based or enzyme-based glucose sensors.

According to the researchers, the new EM-wave-based glucose sensor should significantly boost the use of CGMs.

The authors said: “Our proposed sensor and system are indeed in the early stage of development.

“Despite that, the proof-of-concept in vivo results show promising correlation between blood sugar levels and sensor frequency response.”

They added: “For actual sensor implantation we must consider bio compatible packaging and foreign body reactions for long term applications. In addition, improved sensor interface system is under development.”

The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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