Graphene patches: to treat diabetes, goodbye to needles.
Approximately 9% of adults worldwide have diabetes. That is, 9% of the world population has to be punctured finger several times a day to measure their glucose levels. Doing so is painful, tired and often logistically difficult; It does not have major health consequences in the long term (more than one and a half million diabetics die each year from such complications). This has meant that, for years, researchers have been looking for better techniques for controlling glucose. A South Korean group led by Kim Dae-Hyeong, just published in Nature Nanotechnology have created a patch of graphene that can not only monitor the blood sugar level, but administering treatment as necessary. Finally, graphene gives us good news.
Although we all know because graphene is the 'material of the future' (strong and flexible as none), the truth is that certain properties have made use features to detect changes in glucose levels difficult. Therefore, the device of Korean researchers also uses a gold mesh surrounding the star material. Once set, the device captures the sweat on the skin and sensors in real time studying changes in the pH and temperature of sweat; things that indicate a high level of sugar. These readings are transmitted wirelessly to the mobile device to allow permanent control. By detecting high levels of sugar, the patch exposes a microneedles that release metformin (a drug used antidiabetic) in the skin. According to initial tests, the enforcement mechanism is so subtle that users are not even to notice.
Unquestionably, these devices radically change our way of treating diabetes. We must not forget that chronic diseases are baited with those who have less resources and opportunities (80% of deaths are concentrated in poor countries and lower classes). Simplifying the process control and treatment of these diseases perhaps we can prevent diabetes by 2030 is the seventh leading cause of death in the world, such as WHO predicts.
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