Northwestern University in Boston has developed a tattoo that can monitor your blood sugar without constant needle pricks—a huge advancement for the 26 million Americans with diabetes.
The miniature tattoo—only a few millimeters in size—is made up of nanosensors: tiny polymer beads containing a yellow-orange dye that lights up when glucose levels are high and becomes darker as glucose levels drop.
While traditional tattoos permanently stain the deeper layers of the skin, the diabetes tattoo is applied to more superficial skin layers, so its application is less painful and it wears off over time.
The tattoo would be applied once a week and patients will use a handheld device to scan the tattoo several times a day for color changes to guide their insulin use.
The team tracked glucose levels in tattooed mice with diabetes, confirming these results with blood tests they took at the same time. If upcoming clinical trials in humans pan out, the tattoos could be on the market in a decade.
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