In 2014, Verily, Alphabet's life sciences subsidiary, teamed up with Alcon to develop a contact lens that could measure glucose levels in tears. The idea being that diabetics would have an easier, less invasive way of keeping track of their glucose levels. But the companies have now decided to shelve that project, as their work has shown that it's actually quite difficult to obtain consistently accurate measurements of glucose from tears. "In part, this was associated with the challenges of obtaining reliable tear glucose readings in the complex on-eye environment," Verily CTO Brian Otis said in a blog post. "For example, we found that interference from biomolecules in tears resulted in challenges in obtaining accurate glucose readings from the small quantities of glucose in the tear film. In addition, our clinical studies have demonstrated challenges in achieving the steady state conditions necessary for reliable tear glucose readings."
There are a lot of things that suck about being diabetic. At the top of the list is having to prick your finger several times a day to check your glucose level. Continuous glucose monitors that constantly beam stats to your phone via Bluetooth are already on the market and the FDA just recently approved the first automated insulin system for type 1 diabetics. However, biomedical company PKvitality has a different solution. And it's one that you wear on your wrist.
Obesity occurs when whole-body energy intake exceeds energy expenditure for prolonged periods. This is a major public health issue because obesity increases the risk of disorders such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Released when blood glucose rises after meals, insulin normally promotes glucose uptake by muscle and represses glucose production by the liver, thus rapidly returning blood glucose to normal. However, this process is impaired in insulin-resistant individuals, who may eventually develop persistently elevated blood glucose (i.e., T2DM), which can cause debilitating or life-threatening complications. Because the energy sensor AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) promotes muscle glucose uptake by insulin-independent mechanisms, it was proposed in 1999 that AMPK-activating drugs might represent a novel approach to treating T2DM (1).
Almost one in every 10 people has diabetes, and the number of diabetics has nearly doubled over the past 20 years. Despite that increase, development of new technology to help diabetics to manage their condition has been limited. Many diabetics still test and retest their blood sugar manually and inject insulin accordingly, just as they did decades ago. Now, however, a wave of new technologies are emerging that could one day offer new tools to help people with diabetes manage their condition. How and why tech's big players are poised to give the industry its biggest shakeup in decades.
Diabetes is one of the most widespread diseases of the 21st century and now affects more than 300 million people worldwide. Around 30 million Americans have diabetes, which results from having too much sugar or glucose in their blood. The most common way of testing blood glucose levels for diabetes patients is taking out a drop of blood and checking a patient's blood glucose using a glucose monitor. But this invasive way of monitoring blood glucose levels might soon be history and diabetes patients might be able to track their blood glucose levels using less invasive ways -- using smartwatches such as Fitbit Ionic and the upcoming Apple Watch Series 3. Fitbit on Thursday announced its collaboration with health device company Dexcom to create continuous glucose monitoring on the company's recently launched Ionic smartwatch. "With Ionic, we are focused on driving positive health outcomes and more health focused tools, and this collaboration is a wonderful example of how we plan to bring that vision to our users," James Park, Fitbit CEO said in the press release.