“Microworms” Under Your Skin

Researchers at MIT and Northeastern have invented a new way to monitor biochemical levels in the body, such as glucose or sodium levels. These “microworms” are nanoparticles that are injected under the skin. They are tube like and 200 nanometers across, therefore physiologically undetectable and triggering no physical response. Once injected under the skin, “microworms” become a “fluorescent tattoo.” As the “microworms” monitor biochemical changes in the body, they fluoresce a specific color that is detectable with the human eye, indicating what is in high or low concentration in the body.

The “microworms” are ideal for Diabetic patients because it would allow them to monitor their glucose levels consistently throughout the day by simply looking down at their arm. For example, a Diabetic patient would notice that a small patch of skin on their arm will fluoresce a certain color when glucose levels are low, another when they are stable, and another when they are high. This is an important aspect of the “microworms” as it could prevent the life threatening side-effects of Diabetes, through tight control over glucose levels, not to mention no more finger pricking!

To read more about this incredible discovery, please visit the following website: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/update-microworms-0217.html

Written by: Melissa Marques

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One response to ““Microworms” Under Your Skin

  1. Super cool Melissa, thanks for this. My initial thought was that we would have people walking around looking green, orange, blue–GLOWING! The shape of these tubes is long though, so they don’t migrate throughout the body, so, maybe we could call it an ET effect? 🙂 In all seriousness, I wonder if anyone is looking at the issue of privacy. I understand that these microworms need a special light in order to fluoresce, but, potentially this could be a physical mark indicating health issues that that people would like to keep private. I would love to hear the back story, the creative process of coming up with this idea. It makes me think of the chemical reaction you get in glow sticks.

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