Scientists develop the word-first optical sensor to detect vitamin B12 deficiency in blood

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vitamin B12 deficiency

In a recent study, researchers from The University of Adelaide, Australia develop the word-first optical sensor that can detect vitamin B12 deficiency in blood. The finding is presented at the inaugural SPIE BioPhotonics Australasia conference in Adelaide.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and the formation of red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with an increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognition decline.

Older people are particularly at risk of B12 deficiency due to age-related reduction in absorbing vitamin B12 received through their diet.

Previous methods used to detect vitamin B12 were time-consuming and expensive. But now using this device, doctors can track vitamin B12 levels in high-risk patients with less than 1 minute and minimum preparation.

Researchers suggest that the new sensor is the first step towards a point-of-care solution for measuring and tracking B12 in healthy ageing adults.

It is still at proof-of-concept stage, but with development, it has wide-reaching potential applications.

This is the first time a rapid technique based on optical spectroscopy has been shown to be able to detect vitamin B12 in human blood serum.

The goal is to aid diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency in a general practice setting in the near future.

The research is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, and the Schools of Physical Sciences and Medicine in The University of Adelaide.

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News source: The University of Adelaide.
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