Less Invasive Health Screening Technology Introduced

A research team from the University of Cincinnati has produced a new health screening technology that can be used via smartphones. Researchers have produced patches that are wearable and lightweight that analyze sweat expelled from the person wearing the device. This method of health screening is less invasive than other tests and procedures and is considered a breakthrough for the medical industry.

“The patches are as light and flexible as a BAND-AID and use paper microfluidics – an inexpensively developed technology similar to that of a home pregnancy test – to collect and gather biomarkers carried in sweat. Those biomarkers – electrolytes, metabolites, proteins, small molecules, amino acids and such – can signal the physical state of the body,” Jason Heikenfeld, a professor at UC, said.

Heikenfeld also noted that the researchers hope to use the patches for drug monitoring in the future.


"A lot of drug metabolites come out of sweat, so by using this technology, doctors can help patients take drug dosages more evenly. Our current methods, often based on age or body weight, are extremely crude when you think about all the side effects listed on the warning labels," he said.

The patches can also be used for athletes; their vitals can be monitored during games without needing to draw blood. Researchers plan to conduct experiments and human trials with the patch before the end of the year and hope to begin testing the patches on college athletes at the beginning of the New Year. The team has high hopes to change the medical industry with this technology and even believe the patches could one day assist diabetes patients.

"Ultimately, sweat analysis will offer minute-by-minute insight into what is happening in the body, with on-demand, localized, electronically stimulated sweat sampling in a manner that is convenient and unobtrusive," Heikenfeld said.

For more information, visit Phys.org


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