Simple Urine Test Diagnosis Diabetes
Researchers created an inexpensive diabetes diagnosing and monitoring device that tests urine, instead of the usual blood drop.
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In Chinese, diabetes literally translates to "sugar urine disease," as patients with high enough blood sugar will unload some of that sugar, called glucose, in their urine. Now, a team of chemists has developed an inexpensive device, made partially of paper, to measure the sugar in the urine of diabetes patients in rural China, India and other developing nations.
Glucose levels, which can be checked using a blood glucose monitor, are important to diagnosing and monitoring diabetes. The researchers think that their inexpensive device would encourage rural clinics to perform more glucose tests, and patients might also prefer a urine test to pricking their fingers. The research team, which includes chemists from the U.S., the Netherlands and Brazil, published the results of urine tests they performed using their device in an April issue of the journal Analytic Chemistry.
To use the device, a clinician injects a small amount of the patient's urine into a container. The researchers created a small syringe that's easier for people who don't have specialized training to use. Staff in remote clinics might not have highly trained professionals, the scientists reasoned. [iPhones Transform into Medical Imaging Devices ]
A strip of paper is dipped into the container holding the urine, and the urine travels a short distance up the strip and onto a pad that contains the chemical glucose oxidase. Any glucose in the urine will react with the glucose oxidase, creating an electrical signal that is detected by an electrode underneath the pad. The researchers hooked up an amplifier to the electrode to see the signals. The more glucose there is in the urine, the stronger the signal the amplifier will show.
Another paper strip runs from the pad down to a jar of liquid. That lower jar, called the sink, pulls liquid through the whole system.
Besides glucose, other researchers could modify their paper-based setup to make a cheap detector for chemicals in food or in rivers and lakes, the chemists wrote.