Is it possible to perform real-time blood glucose monitoring using a wearable non-invasive device (similar to a fitness band measuring heart rate)? I'm aware that there are some devices in the market developed by medical companies but most of them require you to stick a needle in your body and it also requires you to switch needles and reapply it every few days.

How can blood glucose be measured in a non-invasive way?

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    $\begingroup$ Mark Arnold and other's have done work on using near infrared spectrophotometry to measure blood glucose non-invasively, but I'm not aware of any clinically approved methods available yet. $\endgroup$ – user137 Jan 6 '15 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ NIR spectrometers are relatively big and heavy and not cheap and this has been a hurdle in any wearable device, but perhaps there are MEMS type devices being developed. Luminous Medical, now out of business first proposed a monitor using NIR spectroscopy. But it was targeted for the hyperglycemia of the sick and injured (hospital use) rather than ambulatory diabetics. The cost of the technology is one of the factors that caused the company to fail. $\endgroup$ – docscience Jan 6 '15 at 1:57

If you browse the on-line patent data bases - either www.uspto.gov or www.freepatentsonline.com for "glucose monitor" you'll find there are at least half a dozen technologies that have been proposed including the most non-invasive technologies such as using light - similar to the pulse oximeters used in hospitals to measure the pulse and PaO2 through the skin to more invasive methods that periodically pump small samples of blood outside the body for chemical or optical analysis. But in terms of accuracy, the best way to measure BG is by some means that can analyze arterial blood in vivo.

Companies that are trying to develop these devices are shooting for accuracies better than 12 mg/dL, but that's very hard to do with the noninvasive methods. There is a very new technology that uses a contact lens as the sensor, measuring from the iris and transmitting to remote electronics for processing, but that's still probably year's away. I believe the best products that are available today may be those developed by Dexcom in San Diego, CA. See their website here: http://www.dexcom.com/

The journal Science just published its year end Breakthroughs and that includes an article that shows hope in restoring the B cells in the pancreas for type I diabetics see http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6216/1444.full . This of course is the best solution - a cure. I hold hope scientists are less than 5 years away from that goal.


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