Scientists in India develop biosensor to detect diabetes-related complications

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Researchers in Sastra University in Tamil Nadu have developed a sensor for measuring levels of a sugar-derived substance directly responsible for heart-related complications and vascular damage in diabetic population.

ISSUE:

>Methylglyoxal (MG) is a by-product of glucose metabolism and its levels are seen several-fold higher in people suffering from both Type 1 as well as Type 2 diabetes as compared to healthy humans. Over 20,000 times more reactive than glucose, this toxic substance is constantly removed in a healthy body. But this scavenging mechanism is impaired in diabetics and is believed to be associated with many complications such as atherosclerosis, vascular damage and kidney malfunction.

>Even though the mechanism through with MG acts is not fully known, one recent study elsewhere showed that MG reduces the amount of “good” HDL cholesterol, which removes the excess bad cholesterol from the body, and hence potentially dangerous.

>The scientists led by Dr John Bosco Balaguru Rayappan, a professor at the School or Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Dr Srinivasan Vedantham of the School of Chemical and Biotechnology at Sastra University, have reported one such sensor for measuring MG levels in rice in the journal Analytical Biochemistry. They have also fabricated a similar sensor for measuring the MG content in the blood and have filed a patent application for this.

> Idea is to develop a simple handheld device – very similar to the glucometer – for detecting MG levels in the blood as well as food articles we consume

>A project proposal to measure the MG levels in diabetic, pre-diabetic and those suffer from gestational diabetes was recently given in-principal approval by the Science, Engineering Research Board (SERB) of the Department of Science and Technology

>Understanding complications linked to MG in diabetics is very important for India, which is said to be home for nearly 70 million diabetics according to the International Diabetes Foundation. (India Science Wire)

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