Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tech to Help Diabetics and Doctors

The University of Vermont is developing a meter to help diabetics measure the amount of glucose in an exhaled sample of their breath. This will enable patients to do frequent and painless monitoring and avoid collecting blood samples.

The meter consists of a mouth piece for the patient to use to exhale, a one-way valve that prevents backflow of the vapor, a pre-chilled collecting cartridge to condense the vapor and expose it to a biochemical assay for glucose, and a digital display. A second cartridge with a different biochemical assay can be used to measure levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate which is a biomarker for ketoacidosis.

In developing the device, it might be developed and be similar in form to a traditional handheld glucose meter. The device might also take the shape of a pen with the mouthpiece at one end and a cartridge at the opposite end. Kits could be marketed that include the meter and one or both types of cartridges with additional cartridges sold separately.

In another venture to help clinicians, the Joslin Diabetes Center and Epocrates Inc. are helping clinicians use a handheld so that they can keep current on information and opinions from experts in the field. The new Epocrates diabetes mobile resource center is able to provide an intelligent and editorially independent summary of the most important clinical news and research in diabetes.

The mobile resource center’s content includes scientific articles, research findings, and breaking news. Comments are provided by Richard Jackson MD., Director of Medical Affairs Healthcare Services at the Joslin Diabetes Center where he identifies the clinical significance of the information. He presents recommendations from various governing bodies clearly and distills it in a way that clinicians can digest and apply the information to their practices.