Temporary Tattoo Monitors Blood Glucose Levels

Wow, this gives new meaning to what a tattoo is!

Do you really think this could be the wave of the future?

This sure would make things much less complicated!

Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, have developed and tested a tiny stick-on temporary tattoo that painlessly extracts glucose and monitors its levels in the body. It works by gently drawing glucose from between cells to the surface of the skin where it can then be measured by in-built sensors. Not only is the gadget non-invasive and discreet, it’s extremely cheap—costing just a few cents—and works just as well as the dreaded finger prick tests.

Although it’s just at a proof-of-concept stage, it’s hoped that one day it could be used to replace painful daily blood sampling, and could even be adapted to test other medically important molecules or deliver medicines.


As described in Analytical Chemistry, the aesthetically pleasing gadget comprises tiny electrodes printed onto temporary tattoo paper, which can then be adhered to a user’s skin. Each flexible device lasts for around a day, and once again senses glucose levels using glucose oxidase. The tattoo was tested out on seven volunteers between the ages of 20 and 40 with no history of diabetes. During initial trials, none of the participants reported feeling any discomfort, although some reported tingling for a few seconds.

UCSD/Jacobs School of Engineering

To investigate whether it could successfully pick up changes in glucose levels, volunteers were given a carb rich meal consisting of a sandwich and a can of soda. Sure enough, the device was found to pick up glucose spikes just as well as traditional monitoring methods.

At this stage, the proof-of-concept tattoo can’t provide a numerical readout that would be required to monitor a diabetic’s glucose levels; however, the researchers are working towards developing a Bluetooth instrument that would be able to send this information either to the patient’s doctor or to another device.

[Via Analytical Chemistry, UCSD, Gizmodo and Science Alert]


What is Type 2 Diabetes anyway?


Diabetes treatments given LOW priority by FDA?


FDA Gives Diabetes Treatments Low Priority

Published on July 14th, 2015 | by Jim Cahill

shutterstock_214235758_fda_300pxEven though health officials readily admit that diabetes is an urgent public health problem, a new diabetes medicine or device usually finds itself in ninth position on the FDA docket for a pre-market clearance. To understand why requires an understanding of the history of the FDA, and its limitations.

I first became interested in this question after the ADA Scientific Sessions in Boston. There I listened to a presentation of Joseph A. DiMasi, PhD, who analyzes the economics of health care at the Tufts University Center for the Study of Drug Development. Although not an expert in diabetes care himself, he was able to find in his research that the approval pipeline for diabetes treatment is indeed slow.

“We’ve seen very large trials and lengthening clinical development times, which would suggest larger than average development costs,” DiMasi said.

The FDA is a jack-of-all-trades regulatory agency. It receives requests for regulatory approval in areas way beyond food, drugs and equipment. In recent years, marketing and formulation of tobacco products and additives and smokeless products have fallen within its reach. Veterinary practices and medications have a bearing upon medical research, and so are subject to FDA regulation, as are prosthetics, motorized wheelchairs, and surgical and radiological devices. The agency even regulates components of materials used to package food, personal care products, pet food, and surgical instruments.

The agency started out in the Theodore Roosevelt Administration, when slaughterhouses and packing plants were as dangerous to human health as modern Superfund sites, and snake oil salesmen roamed the western frontier with cures for vapors, rheumatism, and “female hysteria.” The federal Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 incorporated safeguards previously handled, evidently not very well, by the Agriculture Department.

In years following, the act was amended to broaden the agency’s regulatory scope to include the regulation of food, drug, and cosmetic manufacturing practices. By 1984, drug price competition and restoration of patent protections had come within the FDA’s purview. The law underwent significant and substantial changes again in 1992, with amendments requiring that any proposed therapeutic innovation show it works and improves on existing therapies.

Here’s the FDA’s modern medical workload: 20 to 30 new drugs a year (new molecular formulations — this does not include the thousands of changes to existing cleared drugs it must review) and 50 to 70 new devices — not counting about 4,000 improvements to devices and submissions of post-market quality assurance reports. To meet this demand, priorities have to be set, so the FDA follows a four-tier system of assigning its resources and putting applications on expedited timetables, based upon the needs of the country’s health care delivery system.

The highest priority (fast-track) cases are proposals that can lead to improvements in diagnosis, overcome dangerous side effects of existing therapies, or meet an emerging public health crisis. A 60-day deadline is imposed upon the agency to determine whether the application stays on the fast track to approval or is assigned a different priority. The FDA assigns senior staff to these projects, and its staff and manufacturers’ representatives work collaboratively.

Next in the hierarchy are breakthrough therapies, which indicate therapies that possibly provide a clear advantage over available therapies. Again, the agency is obliged to take action also within 60 days of initial filing to determine whether to continue pursuit of breakthrough status or reassign to a different level of priority. Progress reports are submitted by the applicant on a more frequent schedule than for other review categories, and the FDA and applicants staff hold regular meetings to confer on trial data.

Accelerated status is granted primarily to laboratory devices or measurement equipment where it appears evident that reliability can be established over a relatively short period of time versus a year or more of experimental use. In the case of a drug application, accelerated status is granted to drugs that can extend the survival time of patients and/or shows improved short-term success in attacking a disease.

In considering which of the three categories above is most appropriate for the handling of a pre-market investigation, the agency takes into account evidence of past failures of similar drugs or devices, and the number of patients who potentially could benefit. It’s important to remember that it’s not the agency’s job to secure new competitive opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. The agency is charged with making sure that therapies are first safe, and then effective. A tweaking of a component of a biosimilar insulin which might benefit a small cross-section of patients only from the standpoint of convenience will not climb to the top of the inbox.

The fourth expedited review category is called priority review. Here, a drug or device is very often an alteration to that which has already received final clearance or is making its way along successfully in another expedited review category. An example would be the approval that (the now closed pump maker) Asante received last year to make modest mechanical changes in its disposable Pearl pump assembly, which would have no adverse effect upon durability or service life of the Pearl, or of the Snap version of the pump, which was proceeding to market.

A survey of pre-market approval filings over the past half dozen years reveals that the vast majority of diabetes drug and device applicants are granted priority handling, and proceed from pre-market notification to clearance in a year or less.

It’s possible that diabetes treatment is a victim of its own success. Because people with diabetes can have long lifespans and existing treatments can, in theory, control blood sugar levels relatively well, the FDA doesn’t give new treatments or improvements higher priority. Likewise, established drug companies may have less financial incentive to risk financial resources for true breakthroughs in diabetes treatments. If this is ever to change, it might require political pressure, either to prod legislators to change FDA criteria or to educate regulators about the limitations of current treatment options.

About the Author

Jim Cahill is a senior writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. In a past life, he was a lawyer in government and private practice who focused on consumer protection and regulatory law. He is a decent banjo player, not a fancy one, mind you, but pretty decent.


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Vitamins & Minerals for Seniors

Vitamins & Minerals for Seniors

Published Online: Friday, January 13th, 2012

Jeff Prescott, PharmD, RPh, and Brian Manalo, PharmD Candidate


When older patients are deficient in vitamins B and D, calcium, and iron, dietary supplementation can help them find nutritional balance.




More than 40% of men and women in the United States use multivitamins. They are the most commonly used dietary supplements. In women older than 60 years, the use of supplemental calcium has seen large increases. The use of vitamin D has increased in both men and women.


A recent study of older women suggests that multivitamins may not be as helpful as people think. In the study, researchers found an increased risk of death in older women taking several commonly used vitamin and mineral supplements. Although these findings may seem troubling, you should not stop taking vitamins that your doctor has prescribed unless told to do so. This article will discuss what vitamins and minerals are, give a few examples of ones that might be most useful for older patients, and explain how those products should be used.


What Are Vitamins and Minerals?


Vitamins are nutrients that your body needs in small amounts to stay healthy. The amount you need depends on the vitamin. Because your body can only make limited amounts of vitamins for itself, the rest must come from a nutritious diet. Minerals are other nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Examples of minerals include iron, calcium, and zinc.


Using Vitamins and Minerals


Before starting any vitamin or mineral supplements, you should talk to your doctor to determine if it is appropriate. Because these supplements may affect the way prescription drugs work, you should also tell your pharmacist if you begin taking them.


It is important to remember that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet of nutritious foods. As you get older, however, you can become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, and the nutrients you get from diet alone may not be enough. In these cases, you should not treat yourself with over-the-counter supplements without first talking to your doctor.


Vitamin D


Due to its beneficial effects, vitamin D has seen more and more use over the years. In the body, vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the gut and is essential for strong, healthy bones. It can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is a condition that makes your bones brittle and more prone to breaking. Taking the right amount of vitamin D may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.


There are 2 forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Because vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D that is actively made by and used in your body, you should look for vitamin D3 if your doctor recommends it as a supplement. If you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, you can use vitamin D2, because it does not come from animal sources. After you take D2, it is converted to vitamin D3 by your body.


Normally, vitamin D is made when you go outside and your skin gets exposed to the sun. It is thought that 5 to 30 minutes of midday sun twice a week without sunscreen is enough to get the right amount of vitamin D. As you get older, you might not get enough sunlight, especially in the winter. Also, your skin and other organs that are responsible for making vitamin D might not as work as well. Therefore, your doctor may supplement your vitamin D intake.


The Table lists the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) of certain vitamins and minerals. The RDA for a particular vitamin or mineral is the average amount that meets the daily dietary requirement for nearly all healthy people.




Almost all the calcium in your body is found in your bones. As you age, calcium tends to leave your bones, which can put you at risk for osteoporosis. Deficiency may also put you at risk for osteomalacia, which is a softening of the bones. To maintain strong bones as you age, you should do weight-bearing exercises, such as brisk walking, golf, or dancing. Because vitamin D helps you absorb more calcium, your doctor may recommend supplementation with both of these nutrients at the same time.


If your doctor recommends a calcium supplement, it is important that you buy the right one. Several different forms of calcium are available in stores. They are known as calcium salts. Each salt has varying amounts of calcium in it. For example, calcium carbonate has more calcium in it than calcium citrate. Talk to your pharmacist if you are not sure whether you are purchasing the right product or how much you should be taking.


When taking calcium supplements, you might experience constipation. You can lessen these side effects by drinking plenty of fluids, eating lots of fiber (or using a fiber supplement), and exercising.




Iron is a very important mineral found in red blood cells. Red blood cells are the oxygen-transporting cells of your body. Iron deficiency may lead to anemia, which is a condition that develops when your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. A common symptom of anemia is fatigue.


When people get older, they may not consume enough iron in their diets, or their bodies absorb less iron. Because iron is found in red blood cells, bleeding caused by ulcers, injury, or even surgery may cause iron loss. As with all supplementation, you should not begin taking iron unless told to do so by your doctor.


Like calcium, there are many different forms of iron that you can buy over the counter, so make sure to talk to your pharmacist if you have any questions. After taking iron, you may experience an upset stomach. Your doctor may tell you to take it with food if this occurs. Like calcium, iron can cause constipation. Iron can also turn your stool black. Unless you have other stomach problems or medical conditions, this is not a cause for concern.


Vitamin B12


Vitamin B12, or cyanocobalamin, is used by all the cells in your body, especially the ones in your brain and spinal cord. If you become deficient, you may experience confusion, agitation, or hallucinations. As you get older, you may not absorb vitamin B12 as well. Because vitamin B12 is found mostly in animal protein, you can become deficient if you are a vegan or vegetarian. Like iron deficiency, lacking too much vitamin B12 may lead to anemia.


Staying Proactive


As you age, vitamin and mineral supplements can keep you healthy. However, it is important that you use them appropriately and in conjunction with healthy diet and exercise. By talking to your doctor and pharmacist about your supplement use, you can reap the benefits of supplementation while avoiding unwanted side effects. PT


Dr. Prescott is vice president, clinical and scientific affairs, for Pharmacy Times. Mr. Manalo is a PharmD candidate at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.

More Diabetes Topics:




Do You Know The Signs of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)?

Do You Know The Signs Of DKA?

     Every Type 1 diabetic should know what DKA is, it’s symptoms and how serious it can be. It might save you a trip to the hospital.
DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) is usually caused by an interruption in your insulin regimen (missing injections or an improper working insulin pump) or a severe illness like flu, heart attack, or stroke.
In DKA, ketones build up in the blood stream. Ketone production is controlled and limited by insulin, and if you stop taking your insulin, more ketones are produced. If you have an illness, the body produces stress hormones which counteract insulin action, thereby also causing an increase in ketones. Your blood glucose levels increase, leading to increased urination and dehydration, which itself causes higher glucose levels and more ketones, like a vicious circle.
The symptoms of DKA are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dry mouth, thirst, and excessive urination. In advanced stages, deep breathing patterns develop. This brings on the telltale sign of DKA, which is a fruity odor to your breath. If your level of consciousness is decreased, a prompt trip to the hospital is in order.
Some people incorrectly think that if they are sick and not eating, they don’t need to take their insulin. This results in rapid development of DKA. It is important to ask your doctor early in an illness the best way to avoid interrupting your insulin regimen. Dehydration due to vomiting, and the inability to eat and drink can cause high glucose levels and more ketones.
The best way to prevent DKA is to check your urine ketones when your glucose levels are consistently above 250mg/dl, and not responding to additional insulin shots. Urine ketone test kits are available in most pharmacies. Brand name Ketostix tests urine ketones, and brand name Keto-Diastix tests both for ketones and glucose. Be sure to keep these on hand if you are a Type 1 diabetic. It is a cheap alternative to a trip to the emergency room. It also could save your life, as DKA can be deadly.
(Diabetes Forecast Nov. 2009)

More Diabetes Topics:


Metformin Use in High Risk Patients

Metformin may be beneficial for high risk patients

     According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine in November 2010, metformin was shown to decrease mortality in patients with pre-existing arterial disease. It decreased the risk of death by 24% in patients with documented cardiac or arterial disease.
The researchers attributed these affects due to metformin’s multiple sites of action, including decreasing insulin resistance, improving lipoprotein levels, and modestly reducing body weight, which are all proven risk factors for cardiovascular related deaths.

Simple Steps

Preventing Diabetes May Take Simple steps

    Researchers in Australia have determined that diabetes may be prevented by a simple thing: walking. After a 5 year study using                       pedometers, it was found that inactive people who increased their step count to 10,000 steps per day (approximately 5 miles) had an improved BMI as well as a 3-fold improvement in insulin sensitivity as compared to a similar person who only had a step count of 3000 steps per day. So get your sneakers on and go for a walk. It will do you good in so many ways….

Stress and Diabetes- A Bad Combo!

Stress and Diabetes is a Bad Combo

    In the morning, in that pleasant state, halfway between sleep and wake, I program my thoughts for the day. This will be a breakthrough, victorious day for my fitness plans.

What will I say to myself in the situations the day will bring?

What will I reinforce? What habits do I wish to correct or install?

What and how will I eat? How will I stand, walk, sit at my desk?

How and when, how long, and with what focus, will I exercise?

What will I say to myself while exercising or looking in the mirror?

I have found this morning routine to be the easiest way for me to win without struggle.

The dictionary calls this time between wake and sleep, hypnogogia or hypnopompia. It is definitely a benign state and one seriously suited for self hypnosis.

Those who use it, know it as a gateway to personal power. When my active, alert, focused mind is less focused on the outer world. I can give myself good advice, and listen.

I like to remind myself of characteristics I have that I can use to help me win at my fitness game.

I have achievements I am proud of in the realm of fitness. I have skills and habits that work for me. I want to remember I am able to perform at a high level.

For example, I have good posture. I’ve practiced martial arts, and martial arts teaches posture. Bad posture in martial arts put you at risk. You cannot move quickly or strike with great force when you have poor balance.

Sometimes I get lazy, but when I remember to bring awareness to my posture, my body and mind appreciate it. It helps be fit and enjoy the activities that keep me fit.

This is one example that works for me.

I strongly suspect that if you are a senior, you have numerous abilities.

By the time you become a senior, you have gained wisdom and skills. Think about it. Don’t be unnecessarily modest. When you recognize and are proud of those abilities, you use them to strengthen yourself.

It is easier to practice something new when I can transfer already developed personal resources.

If you look, you will find those abilities that work for you.

We would not have survived to be a senior, had we not developed useful skills. Your ability may be to stay focused, or to create successful strategies, or to get people to like you, or to follow instructions. You know your strengths.

In a time when age is less appreciated, don’t join those that think age has taught you little about life. Your experience is valuable, as are your skills

When complimented, as I have been, for my posture, I appreciate that acknowledgment. It encourages me to train well.

When choosing a coach or trainer, you would choose someone that likes your style and knows how to use your strengths to have you win.

I suggest you do this for yourself in the morning or at night.

You could have a similar conversation with a trained professional. They can put you into a trance (if you trust them) and guide you around your memories and body and the interface between the outer world and the inner world. They can help you access what you know, what you have learned.

This can energize you through many hours, even days.

These professionals might be trainers, coaches, therapists, hypnotists.
Olympic and professional athletes use trance states to help them win. You should also.

I do for myself for myself in many areas, but for now I focusing on fitness.

It actually takes longer to write about this than to do it.

Learning that I could, and that I wanted to, and creating the habit took longer, and, I have many people to thank for teaching me.


Using Metformin and Insulin Together

The Benefits of Metformin

    In past years, several short studies have found that adding metformin to the treatment plan of Type 2 diabetics who are already on insulin improved diabetes control, reduced the amount of insulin needed, and reduced weight gain. However, no long term studies had been done.
In March 2009, results of a 4.3 year study were published showing the long term benefits included weight loss and alleviating some diabetes complications, as well as blood glucose control. HbA1c was 0.4 percent lower, before and after meal glucose levels were lower, total insulin dose was decreased by 19.63 units, their BMI (body mass index) was 1.09 units lower, and their waist-to-hip ratio was lower. There was no significant lowering of CVD related measures (blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides).
Over time, blood glucose control declined in those patients taking insulin alone and those taking both insulin and metformin. This may just be a reflection of the progressive nature of diabetes. Along with other results, this may show that metformin may slow the progression, but not stop it.
The results of this study showed that for patients with Type 2 diabetes that are on insulin, taking metformin has many benefits that could lead to a longer and healthier life.
(Diabetes Self-Management Sept/Oct 2009)

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