Mass. Institute of Technology researchers are working on technology that could make pinprick blood tests obsolete for Type I diabetes patients.
MIT Spectroscopy Laboratory graduate students Ishan Barman and Chae-Ryon Kong are developing a system that shines near-infrared light through about a half-millimeter of skin and uses body chemistry and Raman spectroscopy to measure the amount of glucose in the blood stream.
Raman spectroscopy identifies chemical compounds, in this case blood sugar, "based on the frequency of vibrations of the bonds holding [a] molecule together," according to MIT. Because the light only penetrates a half-millimeter, the research team developed an algorithm that correlates the glucose concentration in the interstitial fluid of the skin’s top layers to the amount of glucose in the blood.
Barman and Kong took the system a step further by enabling it to detect spikes in glucose levels caused by the recent ingestion of sugary foods, using a method called Dynamic Concentration Correction that incorporates glucose diffusion rates in the body with the device’s metrics.
The researchers based the system on the work of the late MIT professor and former director of the Spectroscopy Laboratory Michael Feld, who was listed amongst the authors of the article describing the research in the July 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry.
The National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Research Resources provided funding for the project.