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[IP] Glucose test without the finger-prick

     June 21 - A watch-like device that allows diabetics to painlessly 
     check their blood sugar levels works as well as finger-prick blood 
     tests done at home, according to a new study. 
      Health experts say an easier, more convenient testing method would 
     motivate more diabetics to test themselves more often. 
              A STUDY OF 39 diabetics conducted at the University of 
     Colorado in Denver found GlucoWatch provided glucose values that were 
     nearly identical to those obtained using traditional monitors. The 
     findings were being presented Tuesday at an American Diabetes 
     Association meeting in San Diego.
            GlucoWatch, the first largely noninvasive glucose monitor that 
     is awaiting federal approval, automatically checks users' blood 
     glucose every 20 minutes and sounds an alert if the reading is too 
     high or too low. If approved, the device could be on the market in the 
     next year.
            "It looks very promising," said Richard Kahn, the association's 
     chief scientific and medical officer. "This will have value for a lot 
     of people, and set in motion a whole new generation of testing 
            GlucoWatch, made by Cygnus of Redwood City, Calif., sends tiny 
     electric currents into the skin, opening the pores and extracting a 
     minute amount of glucose fluid. A sensor underneath the watch absorbs 
     the fluid, then sends a reading, which appears digitally on the watch.
            "This can be one of the most revolutionary changes in diabetes 
     management," said Neil Ackerman, Cygnus' senior vice president of 
            The device, powered by a small AAA battery, is expected to sell 
     for about $300, or three times as much as standard monitors. The 
     sensors which are changed everyday cost about $4, or twice as much as 
     test strips used in traditional monitors.
            The GlucoWatch is intended to be worn continuously by the 
     patient. The device takes glucose readings every 20 minutes for 12 
            Once a day, a patient has to calibrate the device by performing 
     a traditional finger-stick procedure.
            Patients may experience moderate tingling sensation when the 
     device is first put on and some skin irritation.
            Cygnus, which lost $39.4 million on $11.6 million in sales in 
     1998, is looking for a marketing partner to help sell GlucoWatch in 
     the United States.
            Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved an 
     implantable device that measures glucose levels continually for three 
     days. MiniMed Inc.'s "continuous glucose monitoring system" is for 
     doctors to use occasionally to customize patients' diabetes treatment.

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