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Could a breath-analysis test be used to measure blood glucose levels?

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, claim that breath-analysis testing may one day prove to be an effective, non-invasive method for monitoring blood sugar levels in children with Type 1 diabetes. 

Using a chemical analysis method developed for air-pollution testing, the study found that children with Type 1 diabetes exhale significantly higher concentrations of methyl nitrates when they are hyperglycemic.  The methyl nitrate concentrations measured reflected the children’s glucose levels - the higher the glucose, the higher the exhaled methyl nitrates.

Cathy Moulton Care Advisor at Diabetes UK said: "This is an interesting study as it shows that there could one day be a possibility of developing a non-invasive method for monitoring blood glucose levels in children with Type 1 diabetes. Currently children with diabetes need to prick their fingers around four times a day to check their blood glucose levels.

 

"Nevertheless this study was only conducted on 10 children and the research is still at an early stage. More research will be needed to prove that breath-analysis testing can be an effective way of monitoring blood glucose (sugar) levels for people with diabetes."

 

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