Diabetes has been one of the leading causes of death in America in the last ten years as researched by the World Health Organization. The number of patients keeps increasing because the disease does not discriminate against age or gender. It can strike anyone. World Health Organization states approximately over 380 million people have diabetes across the globe and they fear that the number might double by the year 2030 (Bo, Rajiv, Hongjie &Brian, 2014). Diabetes is caused when the body does not produce insulin at all or when it produces minimum amounts that cannot be used by the cells to absorb glucose. There are many types of diabetes, but only two are common all around the world. Diabetes type-1 where one has to survive by insulin injections because the body does not produce insulin at all and diabetes type- 2 that one can manage through medicines, healthy eating and exercise. The disease causes a huge financial and emotional burden on the patients and their families because of the cost of medicines, regular medical checkups among other things. It also causes psychological torture to patients because most of them feel like they are living on borrowed time as one can suffer from other conditions such as stroke, kidney failure and heart failure due to diabetes.
Since diabetes has been declared a major health issue by the data from World Health Organization, Stanford University researchers have developed a new part of the technology that will help medical practitioner understand the disease better (Science Daily, 2014). The researchers have come up with a microchip that uses nanotechnology which helps to detect type-1 diabetes outside the normal hospital tests. The microchip will solve one of the biggest puzzles on diabetes by majorly distinguishing between diabetes type-1 and diabetes type-2. Before the microchip discovery, it was widely believed that diabetes type-1 was common and prevailing in children while diabetes type-2 was believed to affect middle aged people who were overweight (Mainz, Gunasekara, Caruso, Jensen, Hulvey, Silva & Lunte 2012).
As time passed by it became hard to distinguish between the two types because some children would develop diabetes type-2 and some adults would develop diabetes type-1. The microchip text will benefit all diabetic patients, despite their ages.
The traditional test to distinguish between diabetes type 1 and type 2 has been a costly affair to patients. It is a costly process that takes time and can only be offered in high-end hospitals, yet most diabetic patients are low income and middle-class earner who may not afford those services. For the traditional diabetes distinction test to be carried out, it requires highly trained medical practitioners. It also requires a laboratory because lots of blood would be drawn for the antibody tests (Science Daily, 2014). The traditional test also needs the use of radioactive material to distinguish between the two types of diabetes. However, with the development of the microchip, the test will be affordable to anyone as it will be cheap. There will be no use of radioactive material to distinguish between the two types of diabetes rather; the microchip will use technology among other things. The test will not require much blood for testing as a finger prick blood will do. The microchip test will be portable therefore laboratories, and heavy medical equipment will not be required. The microchip test will not only benefit the patients, but it will also benefit their family members. In most cases diabetes type, one is a genetic condition therefore through the chip test the family members can find out if they have diabetes.
It is estimated that 3.4 million people die from diabetes every year around the world. The microchip test will save many people who are misdiagnosed with diabetes type 1 yet they have diabetes type 2. It will save them from the unnecessary use of insulin and from the cost of obtaining it.
Brian Feldman, assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology at Stanford University School of Medicine said in a statement that, the microchip with nanotechnology works by using a fluorescence based formula to detect antibodies. The glass plates forming the base number of each microchip are coated with a large number of gold nanoparticles-sized islets. Feldman continued to say that the gold islets allow the researcher to intensify the fluorescent signal and eventually attain dependable antibody detection. The gold nanoparticle island ensures the generation of nanogaps that support the boosted electric field and surface plasmonic resonance for improved detection (Science Daily, 2014). He also said that the microchip would allow the researchers to generate multiplexed islet antigen microarray. The test was authenticated by blood samples from people who were diagnosed with diabetes from people without diabetes.
In conclusion, the development of the microchip will be one step closer to understanding the origins of diabetes. The microchip will provide answers to patients who will want to know from where they got the disease from. The microchip will help in a great way in preventing complications that arise from diabetes through early detection of the disease. The best thing about the microchip technology is that it will help all diabetic patients from all walks of life and not only a certain group in the society. Perhaps the use of technology in research will eventually provide a permanent solution or cure to diabetic patients.
Bo Zhang, Rajiv B Kumar, Hongjie Dai & Brian J Feldman. A Plasmonic Chip for Biomarker Discovery and Diagnosis of Type Diabetes. Nature Medicine, July 2014 DOI: 10.1038/nm.3619
Mainz, E. R., Gunasekara, D. B., Caruso, G., Jensen, D. T., Hulvey, M. K., da Silva, J. A. F., ... & Lunte, S. M. (2012). Monitoring intracellular nitric oxide production using microchip electrophoresis and laser-induced fluorescence detection. Analytical Methods, 4(2), 414-420.
Stanford University Medical Center. (2014, July 13). Nanotech microchip to diagnose type-1 diabetes invented. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 3, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140713155514.htm
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