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Jul 14, 2014 03:31 AM EDT

Stanford Develops Inexpensive, Portable Test to Detect Type-1 Diabetes

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Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a chip-based test for diagnosing type-1 diabetes outside hospital settings.

Researchers said that the inexpensive and portable chip could enhance patient care worldwide and help researchers to better understand the disease. The device is awaiting an approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The hand-held equipment, featuring nanotechnology, can differentiate between the two forms of diabetes mellitus. The two forms of medical condition - Type-1 and Type-2 - are characterized by high blood-sugar levels, but have different causes and treatments. Currently, Medical personnel employ a slow and expensive test accessible only in sophisticated health-care centers.                                                              

"With the new test, not only do we anticipate being able to diagnose diabetes more efficiently and more broadly, we will also understand diabetes better - both the natural history and how new therapies impact the body," said Brian Feldman, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology and the Bechtel Endowed Faculty Scholar in Pediatric Translational Medicine, in a press release.

Researchers said that effective test methods are required because early treatment of type-1 diabetes enhances patient's prognoses. Earlier, doctors determined the onset of the disease based on age, ethnicity or weight of the patients. For example: type-1 diabetes was detected almost exclusively in children and type-2 almost always in middle-aged, overweight adults.

But now, researchers have discovered several other risk factors. Due to childhood obesity epidemic, quarter of newly-diagnosed children have type-2 diabetes and for unknown reasons, increasing number of adults are suffering from type-1.

The finding will be published in Nature Medicine.

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