Taiwan university develops breath test to monitor blood sugar

  • February 23, 2021

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Scientists from National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) have developed a household breath test for diabetes patients that seeks to someday replace the invasive finger-prick test.  The breathalyzer can analyze the changes in carbon dioxide levels, an indicator of blood glucose concentrations, from an exhalation.  According to team member Wang Yu-hsiang, an NTNU graduate student, research suggests a positive correlation between the levels of one’s blood sugar and the CO2 one produces when exhaling.  This means that an individual should be alerted if the breath test signals dangerous levels of carbon dioxide, and medical intervention would then be advised.

The method was conceived out of concern for diabetes patients who may find finger-prick testing unpleasant.  Lin Chen-huang, Professor at NTNU’s Department of Chemistry and leader of the project, believes the exhalation test would provide an easy, non-invasive alternative for blood sugar assessment.

The scientists have made efforts to ensure the test is usable by people with a shallow breath, such as the elderly.  Nevertheless, Lin said the technique, while innovative, can only serve as a reference for glucose monitoring and that more data is needed for the advancement of the approach.

REFERENCE:  Taiwan News; 05 JAN 2021; Huang Tzu-ti

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