Researchers at University of Texas at Dallas may have revolutionized diabetes management thanks to a remarkable new wrist-worn sensor that is able to continuously and accurately monitor glucose, cortisol, and interleukin-6 in perspired sweat for up to a week. These days, blood has to be drawn and levels of cortisol and interleukin-6 can only be measured once in a while and not continuously.
“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 at UT Dallas. “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.”
The sensor built into a wrist-worn wearable relies on room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL), a special gel that is placed between the skin and the sensor. Because sweat is difficult to analyze and its production can vary, the RTIL material helps to preserve it for more consistent measurement. Thanks to the gel, less than 3 microliters of sweat is required to produce accurate readings, and it’s apparently about as pleasant as skin moisturizer to put on.
So far the tested devices are somewhat dumb by modern standards of what smart is, as in they don’t connect to your phone. In the future, once brought closer to commercialization, they will certainly provide important real-time updates of readings through a smartphone.
Here at Medgadget we’re looking forward to hopefully soon seeing these on the wrists of diabetics and those at high risk of developing the disease.
Study in journal Scientific Reports: A new paradigm in sweat based wearable diagnostics biosensors using Room Temperature Ionic Liquids (RTILs)…