Researchers at IISC have come up with two new methods to diagnose diabetes at an early stage. These methods will help doctors in detecting the disease without many complications. Here’s more.
About 40 million people in India have diabetes, and this number is expected to increase to 70 million by 2025.
Diabetes is often called a “silent epidemic” since there are no early symptoms of the disease as such, and it is diagnosed after reaching a more serious stage.
But thanks to a research team of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, this might change soon. The team has developed two new methods to test glucose levels in blood in a much simpler and faster way, as compared to the existing methods.
Photo: Oskar Annermarken/Flickr
Currently, the hospitals use chemical-based methods which are not just time consuming and complicated but also costlier. One of the methods uses a device called ‘field effect transistor’ which is based on electrical signals. And the other method uses ‘Bragg grating’ which is a device used for a wide range of applications like measuring pulse in humans. The Bragg grating reflects one particular wavelength and allows other wavelengths to pass though.
As for how these devices work, here’s more. (Geek Alert: Read at your own risk)
Both these methods use a layer of carbon atoms held together by chemical bonds, which is called functional graphene. Graphene and water share a unique relationship – graphene repels water and at the same time, spreads over it (meaning, graphene oxide is both hydrophobic as well as hydrophilic in nature). This makes it possible for graphene to get attached to the glass fibre.
Utilising this property, the team made a field-effect transistor of graphene functionalised with APBA (Aminophenylboronic acid) molecules. These molecules have the specific quality of getting attached to glucose molecules. Thus, when the device comes in contact with blood, the glucose molecules in the blood get attached to the APBA molecules. This changes the reflected wavelength by the grating. The change can then be measured, thereby pointing out the exact concentration of glucose in the blood. The device can detect glycolated haemoglobin too.
Many patients seek medical intervention at a very late stage. The later the diagnosis, the more complicated it becomes.
Gradually it starts affecting organs like heart, eyes, brain, etc. Often, patients come to know about the disease only after having suffered a heart attack.
The effectiveness and sensitivity of these new devices can help doctors detect the disease at an early stage, enabling them to provide timely and proper medical support to the patient.