HealthDay News — Industry-funded researchers say they have developed a way to improve the accuracy of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) testing, according to a report published in Science Translational Medicine.

John Higgins, MD, associate professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used an algorithm to analyze blood glucose levels through HbA1c testing. This enabled the scientists to account for variations in the age of blood cells among different people, Dr Higgins told HealthDay.

In more than 200 patients included in the study, Dr Higgins said the new approach reduced significant errors from about 1 in 3 to about 1 in 10. These were errors large enough to affect treatment decisions, he added.

“We think our approach will enable many patients and their doctors to do a better job controlling blood sugar levels and reduce the long-term risks of heart attack, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure” associated with diabetes, Dr Higgins said.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Abbott Diagnostics, a company that develops laboratory medical tests. The study authors, including Dr Higgins, are listed as inventors on a patent application linked to the findings.

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  1. Malka R, Nathan DM, Higgins JM. Mechanistic modeling of hemoglobin glycation and red blood cell kinetics enables personalized diabetes monitoring. Sci Transl Med. 2016;8(359):359ra130. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf9304.