There has been a lot of progress in research to find new ways of letting diabetics test their glucose levels without having to place of drop of blood onto a test strip on a glucose monitor (the "fingerstick" method).

A non-invasive blood glucose monitor for adults with diabetes was has been introduced in America.  The GlucoWatch, developed by Cygnus Inc., extracts glucose from skin cells rather than blood. A low-level electrical current (0.3 mA/cm2) is applied to the area under the watch for approximately 3 minutes. Glucose is detected and analysed, producing an equivalent blood glucose value in 20 minutes.  Since excessive sweat can interfere with the measurement, an alarm will sound signifying the measurement was skipped. The GlucoWatch will also sound an alarm if it detects dangerously low BG (blood-glucose level). Compared to the traditional "fingerstick" method, the GlucoWatch is pretty slow and not quite as accurate (there was a mean absolute error between the methods of 15.6% when tests were done in November 1999). It is, however, far less painful and traumatic for the patient and I'm sure it will be introduced in Britain eventually.

    Another non-invasive method of glucose monitoring is being investigated by the Arnold Research Group at the University of Iowa. Their idea is to pass a beam of near infrared light through a vascular region of the body and then extract the glucose concentration from the resulting spectral information.