Vitamin B12 deficiency is a risk that can cause health issues like an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It’s critical for individuals to stay on top of their B12 levels, but as of now, testing requires blood or urine tests. These tests aren’t readily accessible to everyone, but scientists may be on the brink of changing B12 testing for the better.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a world-first optical sensor that can detect vitamin B12 in diluted human blood. This marks one of the most critical beginning steps towards creating a low cost, mobile, and broad-scale vitamin B12 deficiency device that can evaluate B12 levels quickly.
The device works via a method called biophotonics, which is the science of utilizing light (optical technologies) to analyze and quantify biological substance. The sensor is still in a proof of concept phase but, with development, it could have significant and broad-reaching uses.
The optical detector requires minimal preparation and takes less than a minute to measure the amount of B12 in blood. This is significant not only for its speed, but also because it is the first demonstration of vitamin B12 being quantified without the necessity for a total lab evaluation in human blood serum.
“Our approach supplies a realistic foundation for a system that’s mobile, cost effective, and affords quick effects, along the lines of the pinprick test for diabetes,” says Dr Tsiminis.
If this device makes its way onto the market it could increase availability to B12 tests, as well as make interventions and care much easier to manage.