Published on January 20th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
New biochip and saliva almost as accurate at measuring glucose than using blood
Being a diabetic means having to learn to be a human pincushion in order to be able to measure your levels of glucose but no matter how many times you do it those pricks can hurt so being able to find another more reliable, and less painful, way to measure glucose levels is a major part of diabetes reseach.
The problem is, according to researchers, that glucose levels are 100 times more concentrated in blood than in salvia which means that diabetes sufferers still have to deal with the pinpricks, but that may be changing if the news from Brown University moves beyond just the research stage.
It seems that by using the power of nanotechnology the engineers at the University have managed to design a biochip that can measure glucose in salvia almost as accurately as the methods that measure it in the blood.
To do this, the engineers etched a complicated array of thousands of plasmonic interferometers (no, this is not an episode of Farscape) onto a fingernail-size biochip. This means they were essentially using nano-scale slits and grooves to capture and then scatter incoming photons; they then observed the resulting interplay of light waves and changes in intensity to detect the concentration of a specific chemical–in this case glucose.
By combining nanotechnology with surface plasmonics, the team has built a sensor capable of measuring more than just glucose levels. The researchers, who have published their proof-of-concept in Nano Letters, say the device should be able to simultaneously detect a wide range of chemicals or substances, including anthrax, using just one chip.
Here’s hoping that this actually makes its way out of the lab and into peoples hands.