From a question posted on Quora:
Is it possible to measure blood sugar levels without actually having the needle penetrate the skin? Or could it be possible in the near future? Is this a topic scientists and researchers are looking into?
Answer (by Patrick Driscoll, So Cal medtech market analyst and publisher):
Non-invasive blood glucose (BG) monitoring has been sort of a holy grail for decades, given the enormous demand in both numbers and the positive impact it would bring to diabetics who otherwise have to prick their fingers a half dozen times a day.
Non-invasive technologies under development by companies include:
- measuring BG based on interstitial fluid below conjunctiva of the eye
- light-based BG measurement of levels in the eye
- an undetermined method to read BG via arterial pulse
- technology using Raman spectroscopy
- technology using fluorescence spectroscopy
- technology using mid infrared
- technologies using near infrared
- technology using bioelectromagnetic resonance
- photoacoustic spectroscopy
These are most of the options that are under study, but there are certainly more. These types have been developed enough that companies are actually pursuing them commercially, but there remains a significant gap between what can be demonstrated in research and what is practical (including being affordable) for routine use by diabetics.
It is also worth noting that many, though not all, of these technologies would require periodic (sometimes daily) confirmation by conventional fingerstick BG measurement.
(Please note that much of this is drawn from the diabetes management report we completed, detailed at link.)