Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a diagnostic wearable device capable of measuring three compounds related to diabetes through the sweat of the user. Findings were published in Scientific Reports.
"Type 2 diabetes affects so many people. If you have to manage and regulate this chronic problem, these markers are the levers that will help you do that," said Dr. Shalini Prasad, professor of bioengineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. "We believe we've created the first diagnostic wearable that can monitor these compounds for up to a week, which goes beyond the type of single use monitors that are on the market today."
Led by Dr. Rujute Munje, a bioengineering PhD graduate, the study introduces the wearable diagnostic biosensor. The sensor is able to identify cortisol, glucose and interleukin-6 in microscopic amounts of swear for up to a week without loss of signal.
"We wanted to make a product more useful than something disposable after a single use," Prasad said. "It also has to require only your ambient sweat, not a huge amount. And it's not enough to detect just one thing. Measuring multiple molecules in a combinatorial manner and tracking them over time allows us to tell a story about your health.”
While still in development, the wearable sensor aims to give patients with diabetes more control in their own care. By monitoring their results, patients can view when are where their blood sugar changed and how to better control it. Prasad eventually hopes to add an accompanied mobile application linked to the wearable to give users a one-stop-shop to everything they need to achieve the highest quality results.
"With the app we're creating, you'll simply push a button to request information from the device," Prasad said. "If you measure levels every hour on the hour for a full week, that provides 168 hours' worth of data on your health as it changes."
"We've been solving this problem since 2012, in three phases," Prasad said. "The initial concept for a system level integration of these sensors was done in collaboration with EnLiSense LLC, a startup focused on enabling lifestyle based sensors and devices. In the market, there's nothing that is a slap-on wearable that uses perspired sweat for diagnostics. And I think we are the closest. If we find the right partner, then within a 12-month window, we hope to license our technology and have our first products in the market."