Holland-based company DiagnOptics has developed a new device that may be able to identify diabetes risk simply by shining a fluorescent light on a patch of skin below the elbow.
The traditional method of checking a diabetes patient’s blood sugar control is blood tests, but this can only reveal how well the process is going recently. The DiagnOptics tool illuminates advanced glycation end products (AGEs) — blood-vessel-damaging sugar byproducts caused by the body’s inability to burn sugar efficiently — which provides a more “long-term memory” of blood sugar control, according to according to Helen L. Lutgers from the Gronigen University Medical Center, Netherlands.
The DiagnOptics page says the AGE Reader can perform its duty quickly, easily and non-invasively by using a spectrometer to detect the light emitted by the fluorescent AGEs. Through the course of a three- to five-year study, an AGE Reader detected a 35 percent increase in autofluorescence in diabetes patients, and a more marked increase in patients with renal failure. It was also able to make a “strong and independent prediction of 3-year survival in hemodialysis patients,” the web site says.
A study of type 2 diabetes patients — published in the December issue of Diabetes Care — found that the subjects had much more fluorescent skin than people who did not have diabetes, reported Lutgers and colleagues, two of whom are DiagnOptics co-founders. They added that the more severe the complications from diabetes, the more fluorescent the patient’s skin.
“With this tool, doctors could easily check people with diabetes in an outpatient clinic setting to see whether they may already be developing dangerous complications,” Lutgers said in a statement. “The sooner complications are detected, the better the chance of preventing progression of damage.”
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