Posted on Oct 01, 2019, 5 p.m.
Tattoos have different meanings and uses for different people, now they are being given medical function thanks to scientists from MIT who are developing ink that changes colours to alert diabetics of changes to their blood sugar levels.
The Derma Abyss project replaces tattoo ink with four biosensors that change in response to body fluid; a pH sensor changes between pink and purple, and the glucose sensor changes between blue and brown, while the other two sensors are sodium and a second pH level level sensors that change at high intensity under UV lighting.
In the future getting a one time tattoo may help save time and money for those that need to constantly check their glucose levels with a finger prick multiple times a day. Pig skin was used to test the efficacy of the colour changing ink, while not ready to test on humans yet, be sure to keep an eye on this project.
Approximately 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, this figure accounts for as much as 95% of all diabetes cases among adults, and the numbers continue to increase.
Type 1 diabetes typically begins in childhood, and it is also called insulin dependant diabetes as it requires regular doses of insulin for the patient to survive. This is an autoimmune condition that attacks the pancreas rendering it completely from being able to make insulin, meaning the body is unable to control blood sugar levels on its own and regular insulin injections are required.
Thanks to advances in modern medicine those who are required to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels have a few choices available on how to monitor and receive injections including cartridge based insulin pens, jet injectors, and pumps that use a thin tube to send insulin into the body from an external device. In the future this may be another method depending on the person, their budget, and habits.
This proof of concept project blends biotechnology with traditional tattoo artistry. Unfortunately this research currently has no plans to develop Dermal Abyss as a product or to pursue clinical trials, but fingers crossed this changes in the future.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.