Scientists have developed a wearable biosensor that can help manage and diagnosis diabetes just by monitoring the patient’s sweat.
The wearable diagnostic biosensor can detect three interconnected compounds, cortisol, glucose and interleukin-6, in sweat for up to a week without loss of signal integrity.
“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 Shalini Prasad, professor at the University of Texas at Dallas in the US, who led the research.
“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,” said Prasad.
“If a person has chronic stress, their cortisol levels increase and their resulting insulin resistance will gradually drive their glucose levels out of the normal range.”
“At that point, one could become pre-diabetic, which can progress to type 2 diabetes and so on. If that happens, your body is under a state of inflammation and this inflammatory marker, interleukin-6, will indicate that your organs are starting to be affected.”
The team showed that the biomarker measurements are reliable even with a tiny amount of sweat, just one to three microlitres, much less than the 25 to 50 previously believed necessary.
“We wanted to make a product more useful than something disposable after a single use,” Prasad said.
“You’ll simply push a button to request information from the device,” she 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.”
“Our cost of manufacturing will be comparable to what it currently takes to make single-use glucose test strips, as little as 10 to 15 cents,” she said.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.