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News round up 23rd May 2011

This week a couple of developments in the reporting & testing of sugar levels that will impact all Diabetics.

Firstly a change to the date for the introduction of the new reference measurement for reporting HbA1c has been proposed by the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC). The changeover, from using a percentage units measurement to that of millimoles per mol (mmol/mol), will now come into effect on 1st October 2011 this year rather than 1st June 2011 as was originally proposed.

The delay to the changeover from reporting HbA1c in percentage units for monitoring glucose control over the previous two or three months was called for by clinicians and biochemists who were worried that the new measurement numbers were still not being widely enough used or understood by diabetes patients .

Laboratories in the UK have been using both measurements for the last couple of years, when the proposed move was agreed, to allow those using the HbA1c test to get used to how the results will be reported in the future. IFCC have called for the new measurement to become standard around the world, making the comparing of HbA1c results from different testing and trials much easier. Hopefully this helps any confusion!!

Secondly a very useful idea from Ford who are developing a new system for its cars that provides an interface with medical devices, and can be used to monitor and manage conditions such as diabetes, asthma and allergies. Connections for the device would use Bluetooth, cloud computing or smartphone apps, with the commands being voice-activated and hands-free.

Ford is carrying out a joint venture with companies that manufacture medical devices so that it can offer healthcare apps for use in its in-car communications system, called Sync.

The idea is that the apps will bring continuous health monitoring for those in the car, which will be especially useful for those undertaking long journeys, by synchronising devices including a glucometer or apps that read pollen levels to the MyFord Touch, which is voice-activated.

Such a breakthrough would mean that mothers could check a child’s blood sugar levels while it was sleeping using the device, or even receive information and advice about treating the conditions while driving.

It is also hoped the device will be approved to read pollen levels and adjust air control in the car or recommend a better route that avoided areas with a high pollen count. Ford aim to have the first applications available within the next couple of years. Nice one Ford!