In a new development, researchers have developed a patch that can evaluate six health-related indicators studying the sweat. The study published in the Science Advances describes the patch and its error-free working when tested.
Meanwhile, researchers note wearable devices to measure health-related indicators offer benefits over standard techniques. The advantage lies in real-time use and non-invasive nature.
Dual Advantages of Patch: Non-invasive and Real-time Use
Currently, it requires drawing blood sample to study health indicators such as uric acid glucose. To address this, researchers are seeking ways to make it minimally invasive and carry out close to real time. The new effort from researchers in China serves to solve both issues.
The making of the patch involved implanting sensors intertwined in graphite-silk fabric. The conductivity of patch enhanced using graphite covered with nitrogen atoms. The electrochemical patch thus obtained could then be used on the skin of the arm and obtain data from sweat. The data is pertaining levels of ascorbic acid, glucose, lactate, uric acid, sodium ions, lactate, and potassium. Furthermore, the flexible nature of patch allows to conform to the skin.
Regarding the working of components of the patch, sensors that examine sweat include devices to measure color range. The two main processes for measure of color range are electrochemical process and fluorescence method. Of the two, electrochemical process preferred.
For measure of acids, sensors employed monitor the amount of current that arise during oxidation. Whereas measure of lactate and glucose involves examining the amount of hydrogen peroxide produced during enzymatic redox process. Finally, sodium and potassium ions evaluated employing sensors with ion-selective membranes.
To test the patch, researchers applied it on the arms of five young healthy individuals who pedaled on an exercise bike. The results thus obtained were sent to a smartphone. The patch provided simultaneous measurements of all six biomarkers.