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11 Nov '15

A Brief History of Diabetes part 2

Posted by Nick Puffer

This is a continuation of “A Brief History of Diabetes”

In the 1957, research seemed to gain momentum as the first urine paper testing was invented. Measuring the flaws in urine samples Physicians began pointing to blood samples as a more accurate way to measure blood sugar. Finally in 1965 Ernie Adams led a team from the Ames Research Team developed the first blood glucose test strip which were called Dextrostix.

The Dextrostix was a step in the right direction yet it required a large blood sample (50-100 uL) and took an hour from start to finish. The physician would place the blood sample on the Dextrostix test strip and after a minute, he/she would gently wash the blood away. After an hour, the physician would then be able to determine the blood glucose value by a pre-determined color chart in which was difficult to decipher.

In correlation to the Dextrostix, a German company named Boehringer Manheim began distributing their test strips named the Chemstrip bG. This was a better alternative to the Dextrostix due to an improved color chart for the physician to determine the glucose level. In addition to the color chart improvement, the wiping of the blood sample was improved by being able to use a cotton ball to remove the blood from the strip.

In 1974, Boehringer Manheim introduced the Reflomat, a meter that used a reagent strip which required a smaller blood sample (20-30 uL) yet still larger by today’s standard. The Reflomat still used the wiping process and improved the reading by allowing the machine to do the diagnostics rather than the color test which greatly improved results.

Around the mid to late 1970’s is when talks and discussions began about at-home testing and in 1980 the Dextrometer was the first at home blood glucose meter. The Dextrometer had a digital display and could be ran by either battery or be plugged in to a wall socket. Unfortunately, these weren’t released in the U.K. or Ireland. However, the Ames Glucometer which was smaller in size and thought to be more accurate was released right in time and distributed to both U.K. and Ireland customers.

Many improvements came in the 1980’s. Diabetic patients began to regularly test at home becoming more and more comfortable with the process. Between 1981 to the early 1990’s blood sample sizes dropped, meters became less bulky and were able to store data, and improvements were made to reagent strips.

----The final part to this blog will be released soon!

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