May 21, 2007 — Reuters news service reports that a group of Chinese of scientists has developed a glucose meter that allows patients to check their sugar levels without using a finger stick.

The device, which is not named, checks glucose levels by using a weak form of infrared to penetrate the skin on the finger and monitor the blood stream. After undergoing five clinical trials, the device is said to give results with 85 percent accuracy, according to Reuters.

Officials with the national American Diabetes Association and the FDA said they didn’t know enough about the meter to comment on it.

The FDA has approved two glucose meters that do not require patients to prick their fingers: One uses a small plastic catheter inserted under the skin to collect a sample, and the other pulls small amounts of fluid from the skin to measure glucose levels.

But both require a prescription and are not intended to replace traditional meters, according to the FDA’s Web site.

The glucose meter is not available in the U.S. and probably won’t be for a while, according to local doctors and medical staff. The positive implications for diabetics — including those admitted in critical care departments of the hospital — would make the device a welcome advance if approved by the FDA.

Doctors and medical staff said having such technology available would help treat patients, because they would be more willing to check their blood sugar levels.

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