Paper-based diabetes test ideal for developing countries
Epidemics of Type 2 diabetes are looming in rural India, China and other areas where poverty limits the availability of health care. But researchers are reporting a new, urine-based glucose monitoring test that is perfectly suited to such areas. The device consists of three electrodes, a buffer solution, a piece of paper and a plastic dish. The urine sample is injected onto the paper, and the solution moves along the paper by gravity and capillary action. An enzyme called glucose oxidase on the paper reacts with glucose in the sample to produce hydrogen peroxide, which is detected by the electrodes. The system can be built quickly, is inexpensive and produces results similar to those from a more expensive clinical instrument. The device could be used not only in a clinical lab, but could also be further developed for analyzing food quality and environmental monitoring.