Developers say Epic app will available later this year on Android and iOS
- It could help people see if they may develop diabetes and need to make changes
- Close-up images accurately show information about the user’s blood flow
- These are then sent to the cloud for analysis and can provide feedback
- It can also tell people about their respiration and blood oxygen saturation
The world’s first health app could monitor people’s glucose levels without breaking the skin – a development which has been described as the ‘holy grail’ in diabetes care.
The Epic app could also help people find out if they could develop diabetes and need to make lifestyle changes to avoid it becoming a reality.
Users will be able to find out how different food types affect their body; for example, what a can of coke will do to their sugar levels or heart rate or how a plate of broccoli lowers their blood pressure.
It will also be possible to see how exercise or supplements affect vital statistics.
Users will only have to place one fingertip over the camera lens of their smartphone, the London-based firm has stated.
A series of close-up images are taken which accurately show information about the user’s blood flow.
These are then sent to the cloud for analysis and can provide feedback on all kinds of vital information – from heart rate to temperature to blood pressure.
It can also tell people about their respiration and blood oxygen saturation.
SMBG (self-monitored blood glucose) is recommended for all people with diabetes and the clinical benefits are widely accepted.
Developers say the app will be available to download – free of charge – on Android smartphone devices and iOS at the end of this year.
Almost all pre-existing glucose monitoring equipment is invasive – and many companies including Apple have talked of trying to develop a non-invasive method of testing.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
Another development of the app means that users will be able to measure their Insulin Resistance levels in a completely non-invasive way, to determine if they are pre-diabetic.
To measure this, the Epic app measures the variation in user’s pulse which is related to blood glucose concentration.
It is far less complex and more accurate than other ways of monitoring, developers say.
Insulin Resistance is the body’s defence mechanism against glucose, which in excess levels is a toxic substance.
It helps to keep levels in the blood below 100 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) and, with most people consuming around 124g of sugar daily, it’s vital to maintain good health.
Consuming just half a teaspoon of sugar more than the body really needs, taken over a period of time, can lead to diabetes, nerve damage, heart disease, eye damage and inflammation.
‘The app uses a simple protocol which prompts the user to take a non-invasive test and this allows us to capture the vital information in a systematic way which produces the most consistent results’, said Dominic Wood, CEO and founder of the Epic Health app.
It is far less complex and more accurate than other ways of monitoring, developers say
‘We have established a simple protocol for a baseline value to be established and the best time to conduct that test is first thing in the morning before any food or drink is consumed.’
‘We focus our protocol on the ‘fasting’ test to provide baseline data followed by a second test 2 hours after the first meal of the day – usually breakfast; this is known as a postprandial test’, he said.
It’s not the only company looking to develop a glucose monitor could provide real-time information for millions on how exercise and food changes blood sugar levels.
Apple boss Tim Cook has been testing a device that attaches to an Apple Watch and could be revolutionary for people with diabetes, according to a report in May.
Cook was spotted trailing a prototype of the wearable device on the Apple campus, according to CNBC.
In February Cook told students at the University of Glasgow he was ‘really excited’ about its potential in health care.
‘I’ve been wearing a continuous glucose monitor for a few weeks,’ he told the students.
‘I just took it off before coming on this trip’, he said.
Sources suggests the company is already doing trials in the Bay Area.
The project – envisioned by co-founder Steve Jobs before his death – could lead to ‘breakthrough’ wearable devices that detect the disease and monitor blood-sugar levels.
Apple has hired a team of biomedical engineers as part of the secret initiative, according to reports in CNBC.
Up to 30 people are believed to be working on the project, which has be running for five years – according to CNBC’s sources.
Source: Daily Mail