Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Droppin’ Science

January 26th, 2009 by

Recently at the ol’ Tattoo Blog we’ve had a couple of posts about the use of tattoos for more than just their art. Needless to say, the use of tattoos in these instances have been less than favourable, from stupid phones that light up on your skin, to the dark world of radio frequency identification ink. Tattooing and tattoo ink it seems, can be manipulated to create downright sinister results.

Which is why it makes it that much more refreshing to know that something at least somewhat related to tattooing is being used for good. I’m talking about a new nanosensor that scientists at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA are busy developing. I’m not going to lie to you, there’s a lot of science-speak involved in understanding exactly what is going on with this and I’m certainly no scientist. If however, science is right up your alley, then feel free to skip my caveman ramblings and instead read the article in its entirety right here. For the rest of you who feel just fine about my caveman ramblings, here it goes…

This new technology involves the aforementioned nanosensor and is injected beneath the skin in very much the same manner as tattoo dye. The difference is that rather than being permanently visible like tattoo dye, the nanosensor is capable of monitoring the blood sugar level, staying invisible to the naked eye until glucose levels rise, causing it to fluoresce under a neon light. This “lighting up” of cells would thereby enable a diabetic to know whether or not they required an insulin shot.

At present time, the most reliable way for diabetics to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels is by pricking the finger and using enzyme-laden strips to detect the glucose levels. While the method is accurate and useful, it is also costly and time consuming. The general hope for this new procedure however, is that it could eventually be readily available and injected into the skin slightly shallower than tattoo dye. The sensor would not be permanent, making it necessary for diabetics to be periodically injected with it.

Boom!  Chalk one up for all you diabetics out there!

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