December 15, 2011

Microneedle Sensors May Allow Real-Time Monitoring

This type of article can really ignite the imagination. Microneedle is not a term that I had heard before, to say nothing about the applications for this. It was with keen interest that I skimmed the article looking for key points. There were many points where I was nodding my head and saying to myself, what next?

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego have developed new technology that uses microneedles to allow doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body -- and to continuously do so for an extended period of time.”

Without reading farther, this should have gotten your interest whether you have knowledge of this or just enjoy reading. How far from becoming a reality in daily treatments is unknown, but just the thought of the potential for microneedles gives me hope for the future and what it could mean for our children.

Initial applications may be limited and acceptance may be slow, but for scientific application and research, the benefits may be beyond our imagination at present. “"We've loaded the hollow channels within microneedles with electrochemical sensors that can be used to detect specific molecules or pH levels," says Dr. Roger Narayan, co-author of a paper describing the research, and a professor in the joint biomedical engineering department of NC State's College of Engineering and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”

Existing technology relies on taking samples and testing them, whereas this approach allows continuous monitoring, Narayan explains.”For example, it could monitor glucose levels in a diabetic patient," Narayan says. Microneedles are very small needles in which at least one dimension -- such as length -- is less than one millimeter.”

I hope this gives you cause to think about this and the fact that there is essentially no pain could even be more exciting as they explore other ways to utilize microneedles.
One of the sensors developed incorporates three types of sensors that can measure pH, glucose, and lactate.

This is another of the topics I will watch very carefully over the coming years. Read the press releasehere.

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