Hope or Hooey? Two Non-Invasive Blood Glucose Meters On the Horizon

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By: Linda von Wartburg

Two new meters that purport to measure your blood glucose without a fingerstick are currently in the works–again.  The road to a non-invasive meter is one that many have traveled before, but no one, thus far, has ever reached the market. 

As a matter of fact, we’ve been hopefully reporting on such devices since the failed “Dream Beam” was being touted in 1993.  The long trail of failed predecessors doesn’t faze these new contenders, however, as both of them optimistically expect their meters to be available within a couple of years.

The NRI (Near-Infrared) Meter uses a weak form of infrared light that penetrates the skin when a finger is placed over the sensor; the meter analyzes glucose concentrations by measuring the amount of light reflected back onto the sensor by glucose molecules. Developed by a Hong Kong team after four years of work, the prototype won a gold medal at the Geneva Invention Expo in April. Blood sugar readings appears within ten seconds, and they’ve allegedly proven to be at least 85 percent accurate in clinical tests.

The second non-invasive meter, the UFIT from Biosign Technologies of Canada, uses a completely different technology to measure glucose.  Worn on the wrist, it inflates like a blood pressure cuff in order to sense blood sugar by means of sound waves emanating from the pulse. In order to read the result, the meter must be plugged into the web, where the algorithms that produce the reading are accessed. The UFIT has already been approved in several countries as a blood pressure and heart rhythm monitor, and the company hopes to market it as a comprehensive testing device. Recent tests have indicated that the meter’s blood glucose readings are not significantly different from those produced by lab analysis.

Sources:  Biosign Press Release
NIR Press Releasegoo

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