Diabetes Without the Finger Pricks?

The Diabetic Life

While many of you reading this may not be familiar with the life of a diabetic, it often includes many finger pricks a day to determine if blood sugar levels are in a normal range.  These often follow meals and snacks.  A not-so-pleasant daily habit in the name of this auto-immune disease.  Finger pricks draw just a dab of blood to test for blood sugar levels.  Even diabetics with pumps need to perform finger pricks from time to time to confirm their blood sugar levels.  Image courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

Monitoring blood sugar levels in this disease is crucial to its management.  In a normal metabolism, the pancreas secretes insulin, a hormone, which enters the bloodstream and stimulates liver, muscle, and fat cells within our bodies to pick up the glucose from our blood stream.  Glucose provides energy to these organs/organ systems, among others.  For those with diabetes, the pancreas does not adequately create/supply insulin.  This causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of being distributed to the cells for energy.  

With the injection of insulin into the bloodstream this can be corrected, so diabetics must follow a strict regime of insulin therapy and counting carbohydrates in meals.  No need to get into all the types of insulin or dietary restrictions, but needless to say it is a lot to monitor.  Poorly managed blood glucose levels can lead to further health complications and diseases.

Emerging Research

An article I read a little while ago hi-lighted some new research regarding a tattoo with dyes in it to indicate blood sugar levels.  Injecting a dye into the skin that changes colors to reflect blood glucose levels sounds like an interesting and innovative option.  This would allow diabetics to simply look at a dot on their skin to determine glucose levels in the blood, no more pesky finger pricks!  At least not as often...  Testing is very promising in mice thus far.  Following another round of testing in diabetic mice, hopefully the results will be auspicious enough for scientists to move on to human subjects.  

Being the science nerd that I am, I love hearing about research that has the potential to make such a positive impact.  I hope this research project pans out!