Futuristic Skin Patch May Help Control Diabetes with Its Tiny Computer Brain

Source: Hui Won Yun, Seoul National University
Source: Hui Won Yun, Seoul National University

Managing diabetes can become a cumbersome process that drastically changes the way sufferers live their lives. Medical science is constantly working in the background to make people living with diabetes lives easier.

Diabetes causes people to micromanage their diets, constantly monitor glucose levels and prick their skin with needles. No one should have to further complicate his or life any more than it already is in today’s society.

There is a solution to this problem in the works. Researchers are developing a patch that does all the work for diabetes sufferers. The patch has the ability to monitor glucose levels and automatically release medicine when needed. How cool is that? In result, treatment is dramatically less invasive and time consuming.

In a report by MIT Technology Review in the Nature Nanotechnology journal, the patch is described as having the ability to detect temperature, pH, humidity and glucose. It does this by using tiny sensors inside the patch. The patch is Graphene-based and uses human sweat to take its measurements. When it senses that glucose levels are too high in the sweat, it administers medication to the patient. It’s like having a tiny nurse living on your arm. The good news is the microneedles inside the patch make injections completely painless. No more pin pricks! The medications inside the patch are insulin and metformin which are commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Ars Technica has also reported on the new patch. They believe the patch is a potential alternative to other diabetes monitoring devices. Current monitoring devices depend on blood samples instead of sweat.

Source: Hui Won Yun, Seoul National University
Source: Hui Won Yun, Seoul National University

The patch is designed to be comfortable and easy to use. Additionally, the material is flexible. The patch also has the ability to transmit wireless messages to a smartphone so the patient can receive live data readings.

As exciting as all this sounds, the patch is still a long way off from becoming available to the public. It must undergo strenuous testing in order to make sure it performs appropriately under all conditions. The obvious problem is the need for the patient to sweat. Cold weather conditions will result in much less sweat. Nevertheless, the technology is revolutionary in nature.

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If MIT is working on it, it must be something special. If you are suffering from diabetes, you may see the first closed-loop epidermal system that can both monitor glucose levels and deliver meds during your lifetime.




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