A study by the University of Glasgow on February 22 shown that wireless health sensors made of highly stretchable materials are good to daily wear for patients with chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, which can detect some key indicators, reduce the number of blood tests and improve the effect of routine care of chronic diseases.
Human sweat contains a variety of substances, including urea and blood sugar, therefore monitoring the level of such substances in sweat helps doctors better diagnose and monitor chronic diseases, including diabetes, kidney disease and part of the cancers. However, at present, many wearable health devices fail to meet the requirements of accuracy and devices also affect the usage for patients as they are too bulky.
Ravind Thassia, Glasgow University professor said: “human sweat and blood contain many of the same physiological information, testing sweat can simplefy the process of penetrating the skin to collect blood samples for testing.”
Thassia leds a team to design a new sensor that can monitor sweat pH. The new sensor, made of a graphite-polyurethane composite, is lightweight and has very good retractility, stretching up to 53% of the length. And it is ideal for long-term patient wear.
The sensor also uses near-field communication (NFC) technology. The wireless monitoring data can be transmitted to smart phone applications by this technology, so that medical personnel using smart phones and other mobile devices to monitor the patient-related values in real time.
Next, the team will try to expand the performance of sensor to make it become a complete diagnostic system that ultimately achieves the monitoring of blood sugar, ammonia and urea levels in sweat.