Painless Biodegradable Glucose Monitoring Patch Helps Reduce Medical Waste

A new invention developed by researchers at Anna University may kill two birds with one stone for the diabetes community. And we’re talking about some pretty large metaphorical birds here.

The first thing the new glucose monitoring patch does is allow you to monitor your glucose levels (as well as your alcohol level, if that interests you) through your sweat instead of your blood. This eliminates painful finger-pricking and allows you to take quick and easy measurements without a lot of equipment.

You can even connect the patch to an app on your phone for easy viewing of your results. An alarm on the app can alert you if your alcohol level or your glucose level goes above the desired concentration.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Любовь Пихтовникова

The second—and possibly more important—thing that the patch can do is simply become worm food. It’s biodegradable, so when you’re done wearing it, you can toss it out without having it sit in a landfill for hundreds of years.

This is in contrast to the currently available disposable test strips, which are made of plastic and do not degrade much over time.

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Photo: Adobe Stock/Sergey Lavrentev

The patch is made from a cellulose derivative-based polymer. It’s flexible and transparent, making it non-invasive and easy to wear.

“The lowest detection limit found for glucose is 0.4 mM (millimolar) whereas for that of ethanol it was found to be 0.34 mM (millimolar),” the researchers wrote in their article.

“The cellulose material completely degrades within 15 days. It is a very easily available material at low cost,” says Preethi Ramadoss, lead researcher from Anna University. “The material is also antibacterial, hence it can be safely used on sensitive skin without causing any infections.”

Photo: Adobe Stock/ARVD73

That’s right, folks. Not only is this invention good for the planet and easy to use, it’s also slated to be very inexpensive, and it doesn’t come with any risk of transmitting blood-borne disease or opening the skin up to infections.

“The research also gives an optimized formula of using human blood serum instead of foetal bovine serum to grow fibroblast cells and determine cell proliferation,” says professor D. Arivuoli of the Crystal Growth Centre (UGC- National facility for Crystal Growth). “Normally researchers use 9% of foetal bovine serum in the medium. We got the same result using 5% human blood serum. We are planning to apply to patent for this research.”

We can’t wait to see these go on the market, and we’re so happy that it’s good for the planet too!

Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?

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