New wearable patch tracks sweat rate, glucose, lactate & uric acid

A groundbreaking wearable health monitor developed by researchers at Washington State University offers a promising tool for non-invasively tracking various health indicators through sweat analysis during physical activity [1].

This innovative device, detailed in a recent study published in the ACS Sensors, uses advanced 3D-printing techniques to measure critical biomarkers like glucose, lactate, uric acid and sweat rate. These can help diagnose and monitor diabetes, gout and cardiovascular diseases.

The monitor’s design, led by PhD student Chuchu Chen and professors Kaiyan Qiu and Annie Du, incorporates three biosensors that change color to indicate the concentration levels of these biomarkers. These sensors leverage a novel application of single-atom catalysts and enzymatic reactions to enhance detection sensitivity, even at deficient concentrations typical of sweat.

Unlike blood tests, sweat collection is non-invasive, making it an ideal medium for continuous health monitoring. Analyzing sweat components like uric acid is essential because they can signal potential health issues, including kidney disease and gout.

Additionally, monitoring glucose and lactate levels can provide insights into metabolic status and exercise intensity.

A unique aspect of this technology is its fabrication process. The monitor is produced through a one-step 3D printing method that creates microfluidic channels without supporting structures, often a source of contamination and complexity in other sensor designs.

This method not only simplifies manufacturing but also improves the reliability and cleanliness of the readings [2].

During testing, the device demonstrated high accuracy when comparing its readings to those from traditional laboratory tests. Its comfort and non-intrusive nature were also highlighted in trials with volunteers who wore the device while exercising.

The ongoing development of this wearable monitor includes plans for enhancing its design and functionality. The WSU research team, backed by funding from entities like the National Science Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is also exploring commercialization prospects.

A provisional patent has been filed, underscoring this health monitoring technology’s potential impact and innovation in medical diagnostics and personal health management.


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