Washington: US researchers have developed a more precise method for estimating average blood sugar levels that can cut diagnostic errors by more than 50 percent compared to the current widely used but sometimes inaccurate test. “What we currently deem the gold standard for estimating average blood glucose is nowhere as precise as it should be,” Xinhua news agency quoted senior investigator John Higgins at Harvard Medical School and a clinical pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital as saying. “Our study not only pinpoints the root of the inaccuracy but also offers a way to get around it.” Findings of the study were described on Wednesday in the US journal Science Translational Medicine, Xinhua said. Because blood sugar varies by the hour and even by the minute, doctors use the so-called A1C test as a proxy to gauge a person’s average blood glucose level over the previous three months. The A1C test measures the amount of glycated hemoglobin, glucose that sticks to hemoglobin, or oxygen carrier, inside red blood cells, which can live in the body for only three months. The test, however, is somewhat imprecise. It can lead to identical readings for people with different average blood sugar levels. At the same time, people with similar blood sugar levels can also end up having widely divergent results. The team found these inaccuracies stemmed entirely from individual variations in the life span of a person’s red blood cells.”Like a water-soaked sponge that’s been sitting on the kitchen sink for days, older red blood cells tend to have absorbed more glucose, while newly produced red blood cells have less because they haven¹t been around as long,” Higgins explained.