Scientists have developed a new wristband which can diagnose diabetes, crystic fibrosis from your sweat. It is basically a sweat sensor wristband.
The band collects sweat then measures its molecular constituents and finally electronically transmits the results for analysis and diagnosis through a smartphone.
In collaboration with the University of California-Berkeley, the researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine designed and developed this device.
This device requires only a trace of moisture and it doesn’t need patients to sit still for 30 minutes at the time of collecting sweat.
Associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University Carlos Milla said, “This is a huge step forward”.
Milla added, “It’s a little like the old days when people with diabetes had to come into a clinic to get their glucose monitored. The real revolution came when people started to do their own finger stick, and nowadays you can even do it with continuous monitors.”
This sweat sensor wristband detects the presence of different molecules and ions for example 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.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report suggested that the sensor electronically transmits the results for analysis and diagnostics.
The researchers expect one day this sensor might aid drug development and drug personalisation for cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that causes mucus to build up in the lungs and pancreas. This disease is hard to treat.
Sam Emaminejad, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said, “CF drugs work on only a fraction of patients. Just imagine if you use the wearable sweat sensor with people in clinical drug investigations. We could get a much better insight into how their chloride ions go up and down in response to a drug.”
This is a two-part system of flexible sensors and microprocessors sticks to the skin, stimulates the sweat glands and then detects the presence of different molecules and ions based on their electrical signals.
But it needs more research to see if the sweat sensor would work constantly from one day to the next as the contents of a person’s sweat can change often based on diet and other factors.