Before going to the gym for a workout or after indulging in cake at the office party, people with diabetes can use a portable monitor to take a quick blood glucose measurement and adjust their food or insulin intake to prevent extreme dips or spikes in blood sugar. The inexpensive finger-prick testing devices that allow diabetics to check their glucose levels throughout the day may sound like small conveniences. That is unless you are diabetic and can remember back a decade or more, when having that disease came with far more fear and guessing and far less control over your own well-being.
The quality of life afforded to diabetics by technologies that easily and inexpensively extract information from the body offers a glimpse of what all medicine could be like: more predictive and preventive, more personalized to the individual's needs and enabling more participation in maintaining one's own health. In fact, we believe that medicine is already headed in that direction, largely because of new technologies that make it possible to acquire and analyze biological information quickly and cheaply.