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New Nanoparticle Tattoos Can Monitor Glucose Levels in Diabetics

Posted By Sarah Parsons On June 2, 2010 @ 12:00 pm In Design,Design for Health | 7 Comments

tattoo, diabetes, glucose, nano-ink, tattoo monitors glucose, popular science, MIT [1]

For some people, staying healthy could require getting some ink. Researchers at MIT [2]recently created a new type of tattoo [3] designed for folks living with diabetes. Once injected, the nanoparticle ink [4] can consistently measure glucose levels in the bloodstream, alerting patients if their blood sugar levels fall outside the normal range.

tattoo, diabetes, glucose, nano-ink, tattoo monitors glucose, popular science, MIT [5]

We’ve seen similar tattoo technology from a different lab covered before on Ecouterre [4], and now we’re excited to see that MIT is getting in on the action – tattoos such as these [4] offer a huge advance in glucose-level monitoring. Typically, diabetics need to prick their fingers several times a day in order to monitor blood sugar levels. Not only is this method a nuisance, it’s not entirely effective: By not consistently tracking glucose, diabetics can miss the moment when blood sugar levels start to change, like after eating. While some constant monitors exist, they’re not approved for long-term use.

To create the blood sugar-reading ink [3], scientists used nanotubes wrapped in a glucose-sensitive polymer. After the ink is injected beneath the surface of the skin, the nano-ink seeks out glucose [6] and fluoresces when it detects it. A separate device kind of like a wristwatch provides near-infrared to read the fluorescing (kind of like a secret decoder ring), and allows users to track rising and falling glucose levels.

While all this is pretty fascinating, it gets better: Wearers aren’t stuck with the same tattoo for life. The nano-ink [3] starts to disappear after about six months, when patients will need to be re-injected with the ink.

Via Popular Science [3]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/new-nanoparticle-tattoos-can-constantly-monitor-glucose-levels-in-diabetics/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/06/02/new-nanoparticle-tattoos-can-constantly-monitor-glucose-levels-in-diabetics/tattoo-2/

[2] MIT : http://web.mit.edu/

[3] new type of tattoo: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-06/nano-ink-tattoos-could-continuously-monitor-glucose-diabetics

[4] nanoparticle ink: http://www.ecouterre.com/17409/prescription-tattoos-could-monitor-blood-glucose-levels-in-diabetics/

[5] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/06/02/new-nanoparticle-tattoos-can-constantly-monitor-glucose-levels-in-diabetics/tattoo/

[6] glucose: http://inhabitat.com/2010/05/18/first-glucose-biofuel-cell-paves-way-for-body-powered-electronics/

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