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Recent Meter Research

By David Mendosa

Last Update: January 18, 2006

Diabetes researchers at the American Diabetes Association’s 65th Annual Scientific Sessions in San Diego made thousands of presentations this year. Of the 2,851 available abstracts, 55 were about blood glucose testing.

Do You Palm Test?

That’s a small percentage of the total. But after winnowing through them, I found tons of gold.

Testing on the Palm
Four presentations looked at the palm of our hands as a place to test. My first reaction was, Ouch!

In fact, testing on the palm hurts less than on a fingertip. One team of researchers reached this conclusion after analyzing studies of 290 people. When I brought myself to test on my palm, I agreed.

Another presentation compared how well palm and fingertip results compared for 181 people. Overall, the readings differed by only 2 percent. The difference was a bit more when levels were rising fast — 4 percent — or dropping fast — 5 percent.

Two other studies compared palm and fingertip tests among 95 people with heart problems and among 35 children. These studies confirmed that results of palm and fingertip tests are essentially the same.

Don’t test just anywhere on the palm. They tested on the protruding area near the base of the thumb and near the base of the little finger along the edge of the palm.

Detecting Hypos Noninvasively
Two studies reported on trials of a noninvasive meter that detects the onset of hypoglycemia. An Australian company says that its HypoMon meter will detect blood glucose levels below 45 mg/dl and provide an alarm. Top company officers made both presentations. They say that in tests with 20 volunteers the HypoMon was highly accurate.

Validation of Recent Reports A report by six researchers compared the performance of the TheraSense FreeStyle Navigator and the Medtronic Diabetes CGMS. February and April “Meter News” columns reported on these continuous glucose sensors. Their study found them to be similar at normal blood glucose levels. But the Navigator’s performance was better for measuring hypos.

Eight European and Israeli researchers evaluated the Medtronic Diabetes Guardian RT, a forthcoming continuous monitor covered here in February. A pilot study of 18 people found that they liked the Guardian RT and improved their diabetes management.

Three groups of Japanese and American researchers studied the 1,5-AG test, the basis of the GlycoMark, reported here in June. They found this test to be an excellent marker of glycemic control, a strong predictor of high levels after meals, and possibly a good way to detect prediabetes.

New Continuous Sensors
Two research groups evaluated an implantable continuous sensor that a San Diego company, DexCom, is developing. In about 8,000 tests it performed well.

PreciSense, a Danish company, says that it is developing a sensor that is not only continuous but also noninvasive and biodegradable. It will use fluorescent pellets that the body absorbs after at least 14 days of use.

The PreciSense sensor seems today to have an almost unbelievable combination of features. But just a few years ago we couldn’t have imagined any of these meters.

This article originally appeared in Diabetes Health, September 2005.


Full Disclosure: I own stock in DexCom (ticker symbol DXCOM).

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