New device detects diabetes at 'light' speed

December 26, 2011

Young, old, black and white. Diabetes can hit anyone at any time. Along with the 26 million people who know they have it, millions remain undiagnosed.

Now, there's a new tool helping identify the disease in record time, and it's changing the way doctors believe it affects the body.

Adult blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, lower limb amputation. The leading cause of all these conditions:

Diabetes. If trends continue, one in three American kids born in the year 2000 will develop it. But that doesn't mean they'll know they have the disease.

Right now, 7 million diabetics are undiagnosed in the US.

Autumn Russ recently got the news.

Now, she's part of a study, testing how a new machine can assess her risk for serious diabetes complications.

"Prior to this, the only way you could do this was actually doing a skin biopsy," said Dr. Stuart Chalew, Professor Of Pediatrics, LSU Health Science Center.

Pediatric endocrinologist Stuart Chalew says the screening device uses light instead of an invasive skin biopsy and lab testing to measure abnormal proteins in the skin associated with diabetes complications. A patient puts their arm on it, and in moments the results are in.

Monitoring blood glucose levels is currently one of the best ways to determine risk for complication. But this machine could prove to be quicker and more effective.

"Two people with the same blood glucose may have very different levels of glycated proteins," said Dr. Chalew.

High levels can mean higher risk. Scientists are working on new therapies to lower those chances.

For kids like Autumn, and even adults, the system could also be valuable. It's being tested as a way to quickly screen large numbers of people for diabetes without the need for a blood draw.

The device launched as part of a pilot program in Canada back in September. It's currently restricted to investigational use in the us, but could get FDA approval by 2013.

SCOUT DS: The SCOUT DS is the first noninvasive test that can replace conventional blood-based diabetes screening. The easy to operate device needs no blood and does not require fasting. The patient simply places a forearm on the portable table-top unit, and a quantitative result is reported in less than four minutes. The SCOUT DS system is the first noninvasive diabetes screening system designed to provide a highly sensitive and convenient method for screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes based on the presence of diabetes-related biomarkers found in skin. AGEs have a robust optical signature that can be detected and measured via spectroscopic analysis. However, prior to the development of proprietary spectroscopic detection technology by VeraLight, no one had figured out how to normalize this for variations in skin color, blood content and structure. VeraLight's technology uses various wavelengths of near ultraviolet and blue light that are shined on the subject's skin. The light excites electrons in the collagen-linked AGE and causes them to emit light of a lower energy that is subsequently measured by the diabetes screening device.

? For More Information, Contact:

Leslie Capo
Director of information Services
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans
(504) 568-4806

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