Often times than not, I have witnessed people collapsing on the walkway or on the roads due to sudden shoot in their glucose level. Some could die from there and some go into comas, to this end scientists have developed a wristband sweat sensor that can diagnose diabetes and monitor sudden changes in sugar level.
The device collects sweat, measures its molecular constituents and then electronically transmits the results for analysis and diagnosis via a smartphone.
It has been designed by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, who developed it in collaboration with the University of California-Berkeley.
Four million Brits have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Hundreds of thousands more people in the UK are feared to have the condition but do not know it.
The wearable sweat sensor allows for frequent monitoring to see how diabetes patients respond to a treatment or if they’re complying with treatment.
Prof Milla added: “It’s a little like the old days when people with diabetes had to come into a clinic to get their glucose monitored. The real revolution came when people started to do their own finger stick, and nowadays you can even do it with continuous monitors.”
The two-part system of flexible sensors and microprocessors sticks to the skin, stimulates the sweat glands and then detects the presence of different molecules and ions based on their electrical signals.
The team used the wearable sweat sensor to compare levels of glucose in sweat to that in blood.
High blood glucose levels can indicate diabetes.
The wearable device is robust and can be run with a smartphone, which can send measurements to a cloud and receive results right back after review at a specialised centre.
Prof Milla explained: “You can get a reading anywhere in the world.”
The device could potentially be useful for monitoring pre-diabetes and those diagnosed with diabetes.
But the technology can also be used to measure other molecular constituents of sweat, such as chloride ion levels – high levels are an indicator of cystic fibrosis.
The platform can be used to measure virtually anything found in sweat.
Prof Ronald Davis, professor of biochemistry and of genetics at Stanford who was also involved in the development of the wearable sensor, said:
“Sweat is hugely amenable to wearable applications and a rich source of information
It is not known how quickly the wearable sweat sensor could be rolled out. But the team is now working on integrating the wristband sensor into a smartwatch for use by millions of people worldwide.