text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
"Bloodless Coup" -- The Discovery Files


The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 405-875-0058 on any telephone.

Engineers at Brown University have designed a biological device that can measure glucose concentrations in human saliva. The technique could eliminate the need for diabetics to draw blood to check their glucose levels.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Stop the Bleeding.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

For the millions with diabetes, the ritual of drawing blood to check glucose levels is a fact of life. But at Brown University, engineers have been wondering: Could there be a way to accurately measure glucose levels using only saliva? The concentration of glucose in human saliva is about a hundred times lower than in blood. So to measure it, they'd have to develop an ultra-sensitive device. Which is exactly what they've done.

The team's technique combines nanotechnology with surface plasmonics (which deals with the interactions of electrons and photons or light). The researchers etched thousands of plasmonic interferometers--each a slit flanked by two grooves--onto a biochip the size of a fingernail. Changes in light intensity transmitted through each slit give information about the concentration of glucose molecules. In the tests, water was used, but the technique works with saliva. The technology could be used to detect other substances as well, from anthrax to biological compounds.

The researchers hope to develop a full prototype within the next few years.

A novel, painless, minimally-invasive way to test might call it a "bloodless coup."

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's national science foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page