Science: Health: Blood
Blood Glucose Indicator Tattoo   (+23, -1)  [vote for, against]
Permanent always-on BGL monitoring for diabetics

Using a dye that changes colour in the presence of certain concentrations of glucose, a small dot is tattooed under the skin in a convenient spot, say next to the wristwatch. This provides a permanent BGL indicator, giving diabetics a chance to respond quickly to changing sugar levels, which could save diabetic lives, and prevent organ damage associated with fluctuating insulin levels.

Rather than a dot, one could choose to have any symbol. If the dye could be made in various colours, and be invisible/match the skin tone in one state, you could have a happy face for the appropriate BGL, which fades away to be replaced by a frowny.

Personally I'd go for a bar graph...
-- BunsenHoneydew, Aug 25 2002

Glowing glucose indicator tattoo underway
Well, actually it's more of an implant, but think again waugs. [DrCurry, Aug 28 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Freshly Baked
Saw this on the BBC news site on Sept 2nd [dare99, Sep 02 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Contact Lenses http://www.newscien...rticle.ns?id=dn7180
Another non-invasive technique [BunsenHoneydew, Mar 28 2005]

Personally, I would have a tattoo that sais "Mom" in a heart. If such a ink were discovered.
-- ImBack, Aug 25 2002

I'd take DeNiro's 'toos in "Cape Fear" - Vengeance is Mine...
-- thumbwax, Aug 25 2002

Y'know, you may be onto something here... it would all depend on the long-term reliability of epidermal BGL readings in a scarred patch of skin *i guess*, plus degradation factors for your reagent... it would almost certainly be less than permanent in terms of useful life span, but Croissant, it's a good line of thinking. Some diabetic patients can never have enough indicators.
-- panamax, Aug 26 2002

// Using a dye that changes colour in the presence of certain concentrations of glucose... //

That presumption does not seem at all possible to me.
-- waugsqueke, Aug 26 2002

Good idea, but what about Juv. Diabetics. "They" aren't allowed to tattoo children.
-- barnzenen, Aug 26 2002

waugsqueke, it isn't obvious to me that there cannot be any dye that changes properties with glucose concentration. Glucose has polarising properties for a start.
-- pfperry, Aug 26 2002

[Blissy] we half jokeingly said we were going to go get son a "tat" that said "insulin dependent diabetic", but we never agreed on where to put it. I agree, if the FDA legalize it then they should let children get one for health reasons, but the key words are "if" and "should." We also joked about getting girls some "tats" so we could tell them apart.

[pfp], sure, glucose does have polarising properties, but how can a tattoo read it? When a tattoo is first applied there *is* some blood involved, but after it's healed up isn't it just scar tissure with coloring? Hows the blood going to get to the dye to be read? Also, the dye would have to have 3 colors: Hypo, normal, Hyper.

[Blissy] again, I was under the impression that gluose strips syphoned the blood into the body of the stip, which was also inside the monitor. The monitor then vibrated (not noticable) so that the glucose protien would get seperated and able to be read. Or am I getting this mixed up with the HbA1C reading? Nurses and doctors please feel free to rip apart that last statment.

For the record, I did vote for it because anything that would let me stick my child less (i.e. less blood) gets a vote from me.
-- barnzenen, Aug 26 2002

What barnz said. The tattoo dye and blood are not going to be intermixing or interacting in any way that would render this possible. If this was possible we'd already be using stick-on-skin glucose meters.

But the current methods all still use a pinprick and a drop of blood.
-- waugsqueke, Aug 26 2002

Perhaps an eyebrow ring could be created that got infected when blood sugar was high would be easier. Then it would be visible to others and the sufferer would not be totally dependant on their own perception. Also bacteria feeds off sugar so there might be an ealier indication than a hidden tattoo.
-- hugh_jarse, Aug 27 2002

Yes, great idea hugh.
-- -alx, Aug 27 2002

Although the discussion seems to have taken a downturn since my first visit, the idea does have merit. I think the blood reaching the dye in scar tissue is going to be the issue here.
-- panamax, Aug 28 2002

Medical applications aside, I just like the idea of a colour changing tattoo. Maybe there would be a way of having the colour change triggered by something else. Skin surface temperature or something. Global Hypercolour tats.
-- Zircon, Aug 28 2002

I remember hearing about a watch that would get a glucose reading from sweat on the wrist. The problem with it was that it would take 15 min before the reading would be accurate, but it would always be taking your reading. Anyone else remember about this and have more details?
-- barnzenen, Aug 28 2002

Evidently great minds think more like BunsenHoneydew than waugsqueke, who I guess didn't pay close enough attention in Chemistry class. (See link.)
-- DrCurry, Aug 28 2002

I aced chemistry, man. Aced.

Implant? Sure, no problem. Easy as pie. Implant can do what designers want it to do, such as periodically poll the blood sugar situation. No problems at all.

Tattoo? Nope. Not going to happen. Blood doesn't 'mix' with tattoo ink in a manner that would deliver the result this idea suggests.

Tattoo is to implant as kettle is to water cooler. Evidently great minds often misunderstand such things.
-- waugsqueke, Aug 29 2002

OK. That settles that as far as I'm concerned. Good while it lasted. You can keep the croissant tho', it is still a good idea, possibly by susbstituting "tatoo" wioth something like "implant".
-- panamax, Aug 30 2002

I dunno. If dodgy tattoo ink can give you blood poisoning, there must be some potential for interaction. However, while I too aced Chemistry, I didn't even take Biology, so I will let the skin doctors figure that one out. (Btw, waugs, I note that when you were shown to be wrong, you changed your argument.)
-- DrCurry, Aug 30 2002

Well Peter, you are right then. I haven't been paying attention. I missed both where I was shown to be wrong and where I changed my argument.
-- waugsqueke, Aug 30 2002

[waugsqueke], i can't see how it would work either, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible. Maybe somebody out there with a better imagination and better knowledge of medicine that me could see some way of doing it. Hence my croissant.
-- sadie, Aug 30 2002

DrCurry, do you know someone with a tattoo? If you do, ask them how long it took to heal up. When given a 'tat' you will notice that the area of the tattoo is still sensitive and bloody for a while. As well as we try to heal ourselves, the human body cannot heal an abbrasion the size of, or made in the manner of, a tattoo in a matter of seconds. This is where the blood poisoning comes in. Also, if the reciver of the 'tat' uses the wrong kind of Bacitracin type of scar reducer, it could syphon the ink used in the tattoo out of the body, possibly causing more harm as well as making the 'too' look horrible.

On the other hand, if you don't know anyone with a tattoo then you are just gonna have to take my word on it, or else...
-- barnzenen, Aug 30 2002

Well sadie, I think the onus is on the idea creater to show how something is possible when all indications are that it is not, or at least when it's not clearly evident how it could be done.
-- waugsqueke, Aug 30 2002

I would be curious if a continuously poling sensor like this(tattoo or implant) could be used to practice biofeedback.
-- Maurkov, Aug 30 2002

Freshley baked today! Spooky
-- dare99, Sep 02 2002

Darn. If only I'd written this up seven years ago when I first thought of it, I could claim prior art.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Dec 28 2002

nice idea, [Bunsen] and original name. I'd get one, that is, if I was diabetic which I'm not, but it could save lives so my + to you.
-- Protein, Nov 08 2003

Brilliant idea - albeit one I prefer I didn't have a sudden interest in.
-- zen_tom, May 16 2008

random, halfbakery