Researchers develop wearable device that measures levels of disease markers via 'sweat'

Innovative wearable device tracks disease markers in sweat during physical exercise
Researchers develop wearable device that measures levels of disease markers via 'sweat'
Researchers develop wearable device that measures levels of disease markers via 'sweat'

Researchers have created a wearable health monitor that can analyze key biochemicals in sweat during physical exercise, as per a recent study. Published in ACS Sensors, the research suggests this 3D-printed device could potentially offer a straightforward and non-invasive method to monitor health conditions and detect diseases like diabetes, gout, kidney disease, and heart disease.

The study details how the monitor effectively tracked levels of glucose, lactate, uric acid, and sweat rate in volunteers during exercise. Chuchu Chen, a PhD student at Washington State University and lead author of the study, emphasized the potential of combining 3D printing with disease detection techniques to develop such innovative devices.

In crafting this proof-of-concept health monitor, the researchers employed a single-step 3D printing process and utilized a single-atom catalyst and enzymatic reactions to enhance signal strength and measure biomarkers accurately at low levels.

Unlike blood sampling, sweat analysis is non-invasive and provides insights into crucial metabolites indicating various health conditions. For instance, uric acid levels in sweat can signal risks associated with gout, kidney disease, or heart disease, while glucose levels are indicative of diabetes, and lactate levels reflect exercise intensity.

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According to Kaiyan Qiu, Berry Assistant Professor in WSU's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the health monitor features micro-channels designed via 3D printing to measure sweat rate and biomarker concentrations. This design eliminates the need for supporting structures that could potentially lead to contamination upon removal.

In validation tests comparing the monitor's readings on volunteers' arms with lab results, the researchers found consistent and accurate measurements of chemical concentrations and sweating rates.

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