Quick and easy, onsite diabetes test in Japan Quick and easy, onsite diabetes test in Japan – SOMETHING ABOUT SCIENCE

Quick and easy, onsite diabetes test in Japan

Diabetes is a global epidemic, with over 350 million cases worldwide. But this number could be much higher. In many cases, high-risk groups go undetected, oblivious to the creeping approach of the deadly disease. An early detection by blood tests could prevent diabetes or at least lessen its effect through treatments, but not many people get tested routinely. Japan has recently initiated measures to alleviate this problem by setting up accessible testing stations in pharmacies, Asahi Shinbun reported on May 24.

Close to 1 million people in Japan are diagnosed with diabetes. However, much higher is the number of prediabetic individuals – those with higher blood glucose levels than normal and at high risk of fully developing into diabetes: 11 million. For prediabetic people, an early detection of their risk is ideal, as it could mount to the prevention of the disease.

To facilitate the detection, 20 pharmacies in Tokyo area with high incidence of diabetes have set up onsite testing stations – free of charge. Only a tiny drop of blood by pricking a finger is required for the test (much like at blood donation sites for measuring iron levels), and the result is revealed in just 6 minutes. Those with high levels of blood sugar are sent to medical facilities for confirmation of the diagnosis.

The installation of test stations in pharmacies is part of a project named「糖尿病診断アクセス革命」(roughly translated as “the Revolution of Access to Diabetes Diagnosis”), led by Naoya Yahagi from Tsukuba University. The project was initiated in 2010. So far, 3,000 people have participated in the onsite tests, and 480 of them have been diagnosed with diabetes. The team anticipates further expansion of the onsite stations in the near future.

If you know of a similar project in your region, let me know in the comments section!

Lynn Kimlicka

I am a scientist-turned writer and editor, who loves to read and write (more than doing experiments). I have a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology, with a specialization in structural biology. My interests range widely, from life sciences to pop culture and arts to music. I am bilingual in English and Japanese.

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