How a blood sugar testing tool could replace the common finger-prick test

April 7, 2020 New Research

How a blood sugar testing tool could replace the common finger-prick test

Measuring Blood Sugar Levels

Measuring blood sugar levels, for many people, means pricking a finger with a needle and using a glucometer to take the reading. Alternatively, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can be used which involves implanting a thin wire beneath the skin. Therefore, measuring sugar levels regularly throughout the day.

These processes can be difficult as well as uncomfortable and inconvenient. For many, there is a need to test their blood sugar levels during the night. Consequently, resulting in some being unable to measure their levels as often or as accurately as required.

New Technology

The development of technology within healthcare has made great strides in trying to find alternative solutions to current medical processes. Researchers are using a new artificial intelligence technology. Subsequently, one has been developed at the University of Warwick. The AI technology can detect hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) using electrocardiogram (ECG) signals from the heart.

The scientists demonstrated that this new technology is 82% accurate. As a result, a similar rate to that of current CGM systems. Leandro Pecchia, PhD, who is a senior study author commented, “Our innovation used AI for automatic detection of hypoglycaemia via ECG beats. This is relevant because ECG can be detected in any circumstance, including sleeping.”

How does it work?

Hypoglycaemia affects the electrophysiology of the heart. Therefore, it has a slightly different effect on each person’s heart. Each person’s hearts differ depending on age, ethnicity and gender. Subsequently, explaining why hypoglycaemia differs for each person. The AI system makes it possible to monitor glucose levels in a personalised way.

In a recent study, the team used AI to automatically detect nocturnal hypoglycaemia from a few heartbeat signals. These signals were recorded by a wearable device. Moreover, the study included healthy individuals who were monitored for 24 hours a day, for 14 consecutive days.

The conclusion of the study indicated that considerable diversity was captured in ECG signals among individuals. Which previous trials could not accurately incorporate.

How heartbeats turn into blood sugar level readings

The wave-shaped readouts from an ECG machine give a detailed picture of how the heart is behaving. Subsequently, the authors developed a way to visualize precisely which part of the ECG wave is associated with a hypoglycaemic event.

Resulting in a real-time alarm system that will alert individuals if their blood sugar levels change dramatically. Hypoglycaemia can be very dangerous for people with diabetes. The new technology can shorten the amount of time a person experiences hypoglycaemia.

The technology tested in the study could be used to manage a variety of disorders resulting from changes in the blood. Using highly personalised precision.

Our Take

At Cavendish Homecare we aim to keep up to date on healthcare developments from around the globe and share as many as possible with our audience. We are not endorsing the use of the procedure but want to be informative in any way we can.

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