The experts on the blood glucose meters that we rely on tell me not to hold my breath while waiting for painless, or non-invasive, devices. The GlucoWatch, sold as the first and only non-invasive meter, came and went several years ago. Nothing similar is coming in the foreseeable future.
But new and better meters appear all the time. And a whole new concept is on the immediate horizon.
This concept is a completely integrated testing device. That means the device contains not only the blood glucose meter but also test strips and a lancet.
I think that this big step forward to easier and more discreet testing is right around the corner. In fact, if you live in Europe, you can get it right now.
Mendor is a small Finnish company headquartered in Helsinki. It calls its integrated system the Mendor Discreet. It has CE status for sale in the EU, but U.S. approval is awaiting FDA action on the company's 501(k) clearance request.
Meanwhile, Mendor CEO and co-founder Kristian Ranta was kind enough to send me a Mendor Discreet in advance of its release here. I have one in my hands as I write -- which isn't easy since I generally type with all 10 of my fingers.
But otherwise the Mendor Discreet makes testing easy. No more separate test strips, lancing device, and lancets to lug around. With the Mendor Discreet we won't even need a carrying case, which in any case the company doesn't include in its package.
"The iPhone of glucose meters," is how one Finnish website describes the Mendor Discreet. Actually the site says "TÃ¤llainen on verensokerimittareiden iPhone," and since my Finnish isn't too fine, I asked Mr. Google to translate for me.
In whatever language comparing the Discreet to the iPhone makes sense. This is one stylish device. Fully loaded with 25 test strips and a lancet, it weighs just 3.5 ounces -- less than the 3.8 ounces that my iPod Touch weighs. The Mendor Discreet is also a bit shorter and narrower than my iPod Touch, but at ¾ of an inch is definitely thicker.
Open for Testing: The Mendor Discreet with a Test Strip
This ground-breaking new meter works as well as it looks. It does have an intricate setup that took me a few minutes to learn. But it comes with excellent documentation that clearly explains in flawless English how to use it. With this new meter Mendor has leapfrogged its rivals. As long ago as 2003 in my "Blood Glucose Meters" directory I listed Intuity Medical by its former name, Rosedale Medical, as working on a blood glucose meter. Intuity showed it to me during the June 2008 convention of the American Diabetes Association in San Francisco. The company's website describes its Pogo meter as "the first All-in-One Blood Glucose Monitoring System." Yet for some reason FDA still hasn't yet approved it.At one time I had high hopes for an integrated blood glucose monitoring system that Pelikan Technologies was developing. But that company closed down last year.
Right now, the closest that Americans have to an integrated blood glucose monitoring system is the Accu-Chek Compact Plus. It is "the only blood sugar monitor with all-in-one convenience," claims the company website. However, since the lancing device is attached rather than inside, the company properly refrains from describing it as being integrated.
When the Mendor Discreet arrives on these shores, it won't be cheap. Mendor offers it to Europeans for £59, which is about $92.
But maybe the best news is the specs that the Mendor Discreet has. It takes just 5 seconds to return a result. It needs only a very small drop of blood, 0.5 microliters. I was surprised that it was painless. Maybe we don't have to wait for non-invasive meters after all.