New Diagnostic Device Makes You Sweat, Then Tests It

Stanford researchers have developed a wearable device that stimulates sweat from which it can monitor bodily functions.

Wristband Sweat Device / Image: Sam Emaminejad / Stanford University
Wristband Sweat Device / Image: Sam Emaminejad / Stanford University

It seems medical device companies are constantly looking to make diagnostics less painful, both physically and mentally. A recent NBC News story shared the latest development in the wearable diagnostic world: a band that increases sweat and runs analytics that can be relayed wirelessly. This non-invasive alternative to sticking patients for blood depends on sweat to measure things like blood sugar, sodium, or hormones. The main hang-up is determining if sweat can provide enough data to be as accurate as a blood test.

Researchers at Stanford added sweat-stimulating compounds to a low current delivering device. It can extract sweat on demand or periodically and then conduct analysis right then and there. One researcher suggested it could be integrated into a watch, but the compounds that increase sweating would need to be refreshed frequently, which may be achievable with disposable cartridges. To prove the concept, the team measured blood sugar and minerals related to cystic fibrosis flare-ups in a patient; they believe the device could aid in monitoring a patient’s response to specific drugs. 

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