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A ketone monitoring device could replace pin pricking for diabetes in the near future.

University of Sydney researchers unveiled the breath ketone analyser at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s International Medical and Healthcare Fair.

The device is being developed to enable people with Type 1 diabetes to better manage and detect ketoacidosis.

“The breath ketone analyser will be a less invasive and far more accurate way for people with diabetes to monitor their health, by measuring blood ketone levels in the breath,” University of Sydney, Faculty of Engineering researcher Professor Xiaoke Yi said.

“The process will be as simple as roadside breath testing – just by measuring the concentration of acetone in a patient’s breath, blood ketone levels can be calculated.”

The device has been calibrated to a high sensitivity and is based on a sensing technique that is not affected by alcohol or other gases, Professor Xiaoke Yi said.

Breath ketone monitoring potentially offered a safe, reliable and on-demand way of monitoring ketones in the body using portable technology, Professor in Endocrinology and Stan Clark Chair in Diabetes at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre Professor Stephen Twigg said.

“Looking at current testing methods – blood testing is invasive and relatively expensive. Getting real time results from urine testing can be problematic.

“In contrast, this new device uses a person’s breath to measure ketone levels and is not invasive and promises to be clinically accurate and less financially burdensome.”

Professor Twigg said breath monitoring could become the most common method of monitoring for ketones.

A three-tiered collaboration between Australian researchers, Hong Kong capital and management and global manufacturing supply chains is aimed to fast-track the device’s development.

The device will also have the potential to monitor and assist in the management of several other diseases, such as liver disease, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease.