Patients with diabetes know that testing blood-glucose levels can be uncomfortable, difficult and time-consuming. This often leads to patient noncompliance, says Ronnie Priefer of Western New England University, who created a diabetes breath test that was presented at the 2013 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition. Low or noncompliance can ultimately lead to bad health outcomes for those with diabetes.

Those shortcomings spurred Priefer to create a noninvasive, hand-held breath test made of polymers that react to acetone, an acid that remains in the body when fat is burned. Acetone builds up when insulin is low, as is the case in people with diabetes.

Although this new technology isn’t yet available for purchase, preliminary studies are underway with additional testing planned to take place in two years.