Check your sugar levels – with your tears…

This article is exciting for diabetics, they may not need to have a pin prick on their finger every time they want to check what their blood sugar level is…

ASU, Mayo Clinic team work to help diabetes patients

March 17, 2011

New device holds promise of making blood glucose testing easier

People with diabetes could be helped by a new type of self-monitoring blood glucose sensor being developed by ASU engineers and clinicians at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

More than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes. The disease is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It contributes to a higher risk for heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, lower extremity amputations and other chronic conditions.

Many people with diabetes are tasked with the difficulty of managing their blood glucose levels. It’s recommended that they monitor their own glucose levels, but current monitoring devices typically require  patients to perform the painful task of pricking their finger to draw blood for a test sample – and many patients must do it several times each day.

The new sensor would enable people to draw tear fluid from their eyes to get a glucose-level test sample.

Glucose in tear fluid may give an indication of glucose levels in the blood as accurately as a test using a blood sample, the researchers say.

“The problem with current self-monitoring blood glucose technologies is not so much the sensor,” says Jeffrey T. LaBelle, a bioengineer. “It’s the painful finger prick that makes people reluctant to perform the test. This new technology might encourage patients to check their blood sugars more often, which could lead to better control of their diabetes by a simple touch to the eye.”

LaBelle, the designer of the device technology, is a research professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He is leading the ASU-Mayo research team along with Mayo Clinic physicians Curtiss B. Cook, an endocrinologist, and Dharmendra (Dave) Patel, chair of Mayo’s Department of Surgical Ophthalmology. The team reported on their early work on the sensor in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology last year and at various regional and national conferences.

Because of its potential impact on health care, the technology has drawn interest from BioAccel, an Arizona nonprofit that works to accelerate efforts to bring biomedical technologies to the marketplace.

“A critical element to commercialization is the validation of technology through proof-of -concept testing,” says Nikki Corday, BioAccel business and development manager. “Positive results will help ensure that the data is available to help the research team clear the technical hurdles to commercialization.”

Researchers must now compile the proper data set to allow for approval of human testing of the device.

“With funding provided by BioAccel, the research team will conduct critical experiments to determine how well the new device correlates with use of the current technology that uses blood sampling,” says Ron King, BioAccel’s chief scientific and business officer.

The results should help efforts to secure downstream funding for further development work from such sources as the National Institutes of Health and the Small Business Incentive Research Program, King says.

BioAccel also will provide assistance using a network of technical and business experts, including the New Venture Group, a business consulting team affiliated with the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU under the supervision of associate professor Daniel Brooks.

The ASU-Mayo research team began the project with funds from a seed grant from Mayo Clinic. Researchers got assistance in the laboratory from ASU students involved in research at ASU’s Biodesign Institute and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative program.

Team members assessed how current devices were working – or failing – and how others have attempted to solve monitoring problems, LaBelle says. They came up with a device that can be dabbed in the corner of the eye, absorbing a small amount of tear fluid like a wick that can then be used to measure glucose.

The major challenges are performing the test quickly, efficiently, with reproducible results, without letting the test sample evaporate and without stimulating a stress response that causes people to rub their eyes intensely, LaBelle says.

A study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association reported that in 2007 the national economic burden related to diabetes was more than $170 billion – including about $116 billion in additional health care costs and $58 billion in lost productivity from workers debilitated by the disease.

Jeffrey LaBelle,
Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University
(480) 727-9061

Ron King,
(602) 385-3212

Joe Kullman,
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
(480) 965-8122 direct line
(480) 773-1364 mobile

Lynn Closway,
Mayo Clinic Public Affairs
(480) 301-4337


Half of young adults have CHD risk factors

From, 22 July 2010

Atlanta, GA Approximately half of young adults have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor, such as a family history of disease, smoking, hypertension, or obesity, according to the results of a new study [1]. An assessment of blood cholesterol levels, however, remains low in this population, and less than 50%, irrespective of cardiovascular risk status, are screened for high cholesterol levels, report researchers.

“Because the severity of atherosclerosis in young adults increases with the number of risk factors, the low screening rates, particularly among young persons with two or more risk factors, are of concern,” write lead author Dr Elena Kuklina (Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA) and colleagues in the July/August 2010 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

The data are from an analysis of 2587 young adults—men aged 20 to 35 years and women aged 20 to 45 years—included in the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

Overall, 55.2% of men and women had at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor; 17.9% had two risk factors. Of these men and women, 4.6% had CHD or a CHD risk equivalent. Regarding screening, less than 50% of people were screened for elevated cholesterol levels, although it was higher among women than men. Among those with CHD or a CHD risk equivalent, however, just 67% of young adults were screened for elevated cholesterol; 47% of adults with two or more risk factors were screened.

Among young adults, the prevalence of high cholesterol levels increased with the number of CHD risk factors—65% of those with CHD/CHD risk equivalent had high LDL-cholesterol levels, compared with 6.7% of those without any risk factors—but the screening rate was less than 50% regardless of risk status. Also, there was no statistically significant difference in screening rates among those with no risk factors and those with one or more risk factors.

“Our results indicate that improvement of risk assessment and management for cardiovascular disease among young adults through evidence-based clinical and public-health interventions is warranted,” conclude the authors.


  1. Kuklina EV, Yoon PW, Keenan NL. Prevalence of coronary heart disease risk factors and screening for high cholesterol levels among young adults, United States, 1999-2006. Ann Fam Med 2010; 8:327-333. 


Young adults are usually fairly unconcerned about their health. They think that they are immune to chronic health problems like coronary artery disease (CAD). Atherosclerosis (deposition of cholesterol along the linings of arteries) occurs very slowly – usually over decades. Autopsies of young American soldiers during the Vietnam war showed that they were already displaying early cholesterol streaks in their blood vessels. Blockages in arteries do not result in symptoms until they are more than 70% blocked. Hence, we hear frequently of people who were well one day, but died suddenly of a fatal heart attack. These people would have been identified, if they had gone to seek help to look for silent heart disease – to this end a Multi-slice Cardiac CT scan is of paramount importance in detecting asymptomatic coronary artery disease. In addition to simple bllod pressure checks and blood test looking at blood sugar and cholesterol, please look at my website section on Multislice Cardiac CT scanning for more information….

Baby-boomers facing time-bomb of cardiovascular diseases

Executive Summary

Australians born before 1955 now represent just over 25% of the population. These Australians may be dubbed ‘Generation Risk’ given the prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke or death) in this growing population.
This major study has estimated the five year cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk spectrum of Australians aged 55 years and over. It includes a review of the significant burden CVD imposes each year, the prevalence of eight known CVD risk factors, an estimation of absolute five year CVD risk prevalence in 2010, and the impact population growth and ageing will have on absolute CVD risk prevalence in the next 20 years.
The study classified Australians aged 55 years of over according to their risk of experiencing a fatal or non-fatal CVD event in the next five years, from Mild ‘mid range’ (2.5%≤CVD<5%) to Extreme (CVD≥30%) risk. The findings are compelling. Click here to download the Access Economics ReportContinue reading


Potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases identified

ScienceDaily (2010-04-16) — Scientists have identified a specific gene as potential new target for treating obesity-related diseases. Two recent research studies examined the role of a gene called STAT4 in the development of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related cardiovascular diseases.

Two research studies funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined the role of a gene called STAT4 in the development of Type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related cardiovascular diseases. The research was presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Heart Association’s Council on Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Continue reading