What an amazing idea: creating a tattoo using fluorescing dye that changes intensity as a person’s glucose levels fluctuate. (Gerald Cote, the Texas A&M professor who leads the development effort, has a page up about the work his lab is doing on this.) Currently, people with diabetes check their blood sugar levels up to half a dozen times a day, a process which involves pricking a fingertip with a needle, putting a drop of blood onto a test strip, and then analyzing the strip with a handheld monitor. Suffice it to say that most diabetics hate the whole process; working out a reliable way to do the same thing noninvasively would be a terrific advance, and I can’t imagine that people with diabetes wouldn’t jump all over this. (Thanks to Cory for pointing this out.)


I saw this yesterday and was going to point to it and then had second thoughts. Glucowatch is already doing fully noninvasive glucose testing. We’re beginning to see some results on the stem cell/islet cell transplant front. Implantable pumps with sensors are close, too.

Point being that this technology may be shooting behind the treatment curve, not ahead of it. It may be outdated before it get’s ‘out of the barn’.

OTOH, if you’re going to get a tattoo, why not get one that *does* something (shades of Babel-17)?

• Posted by: Alwin on Sep 3, 2002, 1:23 PM

No, I have no idea where all those apostrophes came from… :-)

• Posted by: Alwin on Sep 3, 2002, 1:24 PM

I hadn’t heard of the Glucowatch (since it’s for the over-18 crowd only), but after reading its product literature, I don’t like that they say you should then do a finger stick to correlate any readings that will cause you to change a dose of insulin. The noninvasive monitoring is supposed to help you avoid fingersticks!

Is the thing reliable? What kind of experience do you have with it? Noninvasive monitoring is cool as hell, and will be a billion dollar industry in the coming years…

• Posted by: Jason on Sep 3, 2002, 7:08 PM

The Biographer was approved last week for kids ages 7-17, just FYI, and the G2 second-generation unit will go on sale this month. The newer one has a two-hour warmup period and then provides readings every ten minutes for 13 hours with the one calibration fingerstick. It’s indicated as an adjunct to regular glucose monitoring, not to totally replace fingersticks. (My company is involved in its marketing).

• Posted by: Heather on Sep 3, 2002, 8:35 PM

I’m interested in other uses for this type of technology as well as glucose monitoring, such as ovulation. For couples trying to conceive, this would perhaps be able to indicate ideal periods for conception.

It is pretty cool, too.

• Posted by: Liz Tracey on Sep 4, 2002, 12:13 PM
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