May 242010
 
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Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of a sensor that can instantly tell whether someone has Type I diabetes. It could also be used by emergency room doctors to determine whether a patient has developed diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially serious complication that happens when diabetics do not take enough insulin. Someday the technology may also be used by diabetics, in their own homes, to determine whether they need more insulin.

A report on the sensor appears in ACS’ Analytical Chemistry.

Professor Sotiris E. Pratsinis and colleagues at ETH Zurich in Switzerland explain that everyone has a little bit of acetone in their breath. But people with Type I diabetes release unusually high levels of the chemical when they exhale. If they have diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous buildup of acetone in the blood, they exhale even-larger amounts of acetone.

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