Technology Wearable sweat sensor could help diagnose disease

15:54  18 april  2017
15:54  18 april  2017 Source:   AFP

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An ultra-sensitive, wearable sweat sensor may improve diagnosis and treatment of cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other conditions, researchers said Monday. "This is a huge step forward," said co-author Carlos Milla, associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University. The wearable device.

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Researchers have designed a wearable device that contains flexible sensors and microprocessors that stick to the skin and stimulate sweat glands © Provided by AFP Researchers have designed a wearable device that contains flexible sensors and microprocessors that stick to the skin and stimulate sweat glands An ultra-sensitive, wearable sweat sensor may improve diagnosis and treatment of cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other conditions, researchers said Monday.

Unlike previous sweat sensors, the new model requires only a trace of moisture to do its job and doesn't require patients to sit still for 30 minutes while it collects sweat.

"This is a huge step forward," said co-author Carlos Milla, associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University.

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A wearable sensor developed by Stanford researchers can diagnose diseases by measuring molecular constituents of sweat , such as chloride ions and The sensor is not only for diagnosis and monitoring. It could also be used to help with drug development and drug personalization.

This might be the wave of the future to help many people get the specialized help they need or even detect something they do not know they have yet.

The wearable device, designed in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, contains flexible sensors and microprocessors that stick to the skin and stimulate sweat glands.

It detects the presence of different molecules and ions -- for instance, sweat that contains more chloride generates a higher electrical voltage at the sensor's surface.

High chloride ion levels may indicate cystic fibrosis, while high blood glucose levels are a sign of diabetes.

The sensor electronically transmits the results for analysis and diagnostics, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers hope the sensor might one day aid drug development and drug personalization for cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes mucus to build up in the lungs and pancreas, and which is notoriously hard to treat.

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Wearable sensors could analyze and measure skin temperature, and levels of metabolites and electrolytes in human sweat . Perspiration is loaded with molecules, ranging from simple electrically charged ions to more complex proteins, and doctors can use sweat to diagnose certain diseases

A wristband-type wearable sweat sensor could transform diagnostics and drug evaluation for cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other diseases . Stem Cells in Menstrual Blood Could Help Diagnose Endometriosis.

"CF drugs work on only a fraction of patients," said Sam Emaminejad, who is now an assistant professor of electrical engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

"Just imagine if you use the wearable sweat sensor with people in clinical drug investigations," he said.

"We could get a much better insight into how their chloride ions go up and down in response to a drug."

More research is needed to see if the wearable sweat sensor would work consistently from one day to the next, since the contents of a person's sweat can change frequently based on diet and other factors.

Researchers also hope to learn more about which molecules in sweat can be mapped and may provide the most useful information. 

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