They found that the
levels of one of the
hydroglucitol ( 1,5-
different between the women who had been
diagnosed with gestational diabetes and those
who had not. The researchers also established a
specific cut-off level at which the concentration
of 1,5-AG became a reliable predictor of which
women had diabetes, according to a release
Researchers involved with the second diabetes test took a less conventional route–rather
than using blood, the researchers investigated
whether fingernail clippings could be used to
diagnose and monitor the disease.
Led by Joris Delanghe, M.D., from Ghent
University in Belgium, a team of researchers
collected nail clippings from 25 people with and
25 people without diabetes. After grinding the
clippings into powder, the team used a spectrometer to measure how much the protein in
the nails has bonded with sugar molecules, a
process known as glycation.
“We found a striking difference in the mea-
surements between the control group and the
patients with diabetes,” Delanghe said in a press
release. “This finding suggests that nail clippings
may serve as a reliable and non-invasive diagnos-
While more research is to come, nail clippings
have multiple advantages over blood samples,
including ease of storage, longer shelf life and,
most importantly, lower cost analysis.
Smartphone STD test
The sexually transmitted disease chlamydia
causes no symptoms, but if left untreated, can
irreversibly damage a woman’s reproductive
system. It can also cause pelvic inflammatory
disease in up to 30 percent of women with the
STD. Therefore, it’s crucial to detect and treat
chlamydia as soon as possible.
Today’s standard for chlamydia testing relies
on a highly sensitive method known as nucleic
acid amplification testing, or NAAT. While the
method is accurate, NAATs are often too complex to perform in point-of-care settings such as
physicians’ offices, health fairs, school clinics or
other sexual health outreach venues. They also
have a high per-test cost.
That’s why Jeff Tza-Huei Wang, professor in
the BioMEMS lab at Johns Hopkins University,
developed mobiLab, the first low-cost NAAT platform that can diagnose chlamydia at the point-of-care. It integrates sample preparation, DNA
amplification and data processing into one coffee
According to the AACC release, the bat-
tery-powered device works by using a microflu-
idics cartridge to detect the DNA of chlamydia
bacteria in genital swab samples. The DNA
Tza-Huei Wang and his team of researchers
validated mobiLab’s performance against the
Gen-Probe Aptima Combo 2 assay, widely
considered the gold standard test for chlamydia.
After analyzing 20 patient samples using both
tests, the researchers found that mobiLab and
the Gen-Probe test both identified the same 10
positive and 10 negative cases. Therefore, the
researchers concluded that mobiLab can be
used in place of standard NAATs.
Additionally, each mobiLAB microfluidics cartridge costs less than $2–compared with similar
commercial cartridges that are about $10 per
test. Combining low cost, high accuracy and simplicity into one test makes is possible for a larger
number of non-traditional health care settings to
offer chlamydia testing–which translates to the
testing of a wider portion of women and men.
Common medical tests
Point-of-care testing is crucial to developing
worlds and underserviced areas. Public health
experts estimate that approximately one third of
the world’s population does not have adequate
access to quality health care, according to a
release from the AACC.
Clinical laboratories in particular are poorly
outfitted in low-income countries, and few primary health care centers in these regions are located within reach of a well-equipped lab. Therefore,
these laboratories rely on portable point-of-care
testing devices. Unfortunately, these devices can
Johns Hopkins University researchers
developed a smartphone DNA test for
the STD chlamydia.