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Don't use a smartwatch or smart ring for blood glucose monitoring just yet

Apple Watch health tracking

As more wearables promise noninvasive ways of measuring your blood glucose levels, the Food and Drug Administration has gone on record saying the technology hasn't earned its seal of approval.

On Wednesday, the FDA released a statement warning patients against using smart rings and smartwatches that claim to measure blood glucose levels non-invasively, citing fears of inaccuracy. It suggests that patients do not buy devices for this purpose and instead continue to use traditional devices that require a patient to prick their skin.

And the FDA makes a good point — individuals with diabetes rely heavily on accurate blood glucose measurements to manage their condition. However, if these measurements are incorrect, it can lead to serious errors in diabetes management.

For instance, taking the wrong dose of insulin, sulfonylureas, or other medications that can rapidly lower blood glucose can result in dangerously low glucose levels. This can lead to mental confusion, coma, or even death within a few hours.

Apple has shown interest in adding noninvasive glucose monitoring to its flagship wearable, the Apple Watch. In 2021, a series of patent applications showed Apple was developing terahertz electromagnetic radiation sensors, which would would allow the Apple Watch to monitor glucose levels non-invasively.

In February 2023, it was reported that Apple had reached the "proof of concept" stage.

In September, Apple's vice president of platform architecture in charge of developing Apple Silicon, Tim Millet, was assigned to head the Apple Watch glucose tracker project.