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Noninvasive glucose refers to the measurement of blood glucose levels (required by people with diabetes to prevent both chronic and acute complications from the disease) without drawing blood, puncturing the skin, or causing pain or trauma. The search for a successful technique began in about 1975 and has continued to the present without a clinically or commercially viable product.[1] Only one such poduct has ever been approved for sale by the FDA, based on a technique for electrically pulling glucose through intact skin, and it was withdrawn after a short time owing to poor performance and occasional damage to the skin of users.[2]

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in companies who have sought the solution to this long-standing problem, and the search has been peppered with false starts, premature announcements of success and outright chicanery on the part of some investigators. However, most of the researchers in this field have been genuinely interested in helping those with diabetes find a less painful and more convenient way to measure their blood glucose.

Approaches that have been tried include near infrared spectroscopy (measuring glucose through the skin using light of slightly longer wavelengths than the visible region), transdermal measurement (attempting to pull glucose through the skin using either chemicals, electricity or ultrasound), measuring the amount that polarized light is rotated by glucose in the front chamber of the eye (containing the "aqueous humor"), and many others.

A comprehensive compilation of companies pursuing this goal is maintained on a website by a long-time writer who has diabetes.[3]


  1. ^ The Pursuit of Noninvasive Glucose, by John L. Smith, Ph.D., available at
  2. ^ Tamada JA, Garg S, Jovanovic L, Pitzer KR, Fermi S, Potts RO (November 1999). "Noninvasive glucose monitoring: comprehensive clinical results. Cygnus Research Team". JAMA 282 (19): 1839–44. PMID 10573275.  
  3. ^


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