Sep 13, 2022 – Even as you’re reading this, your body is working to maintain balance – not just in the sense of “not falling.” Hordes of chemical reactions happen inside of you, producing energy, treating waste, and keeping you healthy. Along the way, your body sends signals about your health.
wearable technology It can detect some of those signals, such as your heart rate or Sleeps courses. Many of the most important clues about your health are visible in the blood. The problem: Most people don’t like being stuck with a needle. (Just ask anyone with diabetes who has had to prick their fingers dozens of times a day.)
But there may be an alternative. sweat stems from Water in our blood, which means that sweat “is like a window on blood,” says Sarah Everts, a science journalist and author The Joy of Race: The Science of Strange Race.
Since sweat is easier to get to than blood, researchers are looking into whether it could be a pain-free way for us to gain a better view of our health.
What really sets our race apart?
Race has intrigued scientists for centuries. As early as the second century AD, Galen – a prominent Greek physician in the Roman Empire – discovered whether people could sweat out body fat from their pores or get rid of their toxins by sweatingEverts says.
While fatty tissue won’t leak out of your pores, other substances will. Sweat 99% water But it does contain small amounts of sodium, chloride, lactate, glucose, cortisol, ammonia, urea, ethanol, and small proteins.
Sweat may also contain trace amounts of Chemicals and toxinssuch as heavy metals and Bisphenol A (BPA), but only if they are present in the blood. (Evert once reported a rare case when a nurse’s sweat turned red from eating massive amounts of red-tinted chips.)
For normal and healthy people, the liver and the kidneys Deal with most of your body’s efforts to detox – and do it just fine without the need for a sauna.
How is sweat monitoring used today?
There are several ways that medicine — and law enforcement — are already using it to monitor race.
High level of chloride in sweat is a symptom cystic fibrosisIt is a genetic disorder that makes children sick by disrupting the normal function of cells in the lungs. Late 1950s, sweat chloride test It has become part of the diagnosis of children with cystic fibrosis and is considered the gold standard today.
But this involves gluing the probes onto the infantThe skin and stimulate the patient to sweat by sending a light electrical pulse. Sweat is collected in a coiled plastic tube and evaluated for chloride.
Sweat chloride test says ‘done routinely, but it’s clumsy’ John Rogers, Ph.D., Professor at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. That’s why he and his team developed sweat stickers. Color-changing labels contain channels, valves, and small reservoirs that, when affixed to the surface of the skin, can capture and store sweat as it appears, making it easier to collect and analyze. at recent days studyRogers and his team have shown how well this device can diagnose cystic fibrosis in children.
“Vision is a sweat test that can be mailed to people and done in a home environment, to make this screening test available to people who may not have access to these types of facilities,” Rogers says. “You won’t need trained personnel or expensive laboratory stationery.”
Starting in 2003, what is known as SCRAM CAMEs (which means SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring) to assist the police and courts in the ongoing alcohol monitoring of drug offenders under the influence of alcohol at risk and cases of domestic violence.
It’s like having a breathalyzer attached to your ankle, always looking for alcohol in your sweat.
What else can sweat monitoring do?
In a world with more advanced wearable devices to monitor sweat, a person could theoretically:
- stress measurement Across cortisol production. A study showed that it is possible to detect cortisol through a wearable patch. But the work is largely in its early stages and has not been used in any useful clinical evaluation.
- Let the losers know it’s time to get home. Research has shown that elastic patches (those that are likely to be more comfortable than SCRAM CAM) Ethanol can be detected in the bloodstream. So imagine wearing a little patch that sends instant notifications to your phone if you have too few on happy hour.
- Tell the coach that the athlete needs a break. Imagine an absorbent patch on the skin that you’re collecting information about Lactate levelsthen immediately sends the results to the coach’s computer screen on the sideline, letting them know that it’s time to replace the player.
- Save people with diabetes from pricking their fingers too much. Other early studies show that a non-surgical dressing is similar to a bandage wearable technologies It can measure glucose through sweat. Recently, Ohio State University researchers created a file ‘smart necklace’ It can monitor the glucose levels of the person who wears it. The results indicate that the sensor will “monitor other important chemicals in sweat,” according to A new version.
But the science and technology to do these things is not yet available. There is also conflicting evidence to prove whether race is a reliable way to keep track of all the things we might be curious about.
Another problem: While sweat may offer a glimpse of what might be going on inside the body, it doesn’t always reflect reality perfectly. For example, talking about athletes and Playing sportsBlood lactate levels show how hard a muscle is working. But the act of sweating is the same too produces lactate.
This means that a person who works hard may sweat more and produce higher levels of lactate in their sweat. But this extra lactate may not show muscle accurately fatigue or effort.
While it would be great to get feedback on the chemical composition of your sweat during exercise, the data may not be very useful if you have a high rate of sweating.
What prevents sweat monitoring?
There are two main barriers to learning from race chemistry – and until recently, they’ve been stuck in the “chicken or egg” predicament.
First, there is the act of capturing data. Developments in vital monitoring patches, such as Rogers sweat stickers and others wearable devicesMakes capturing race data more feasible.
But the second challenge is to understand whether the data captured is meaningful.
“There are many different biomarkers in sweat, and they haven’t been carefully studied in the past because there hasn’t been a clean, reproducible way to collect sweat,” Rogers explains.
This is where Rogers believes microfluidic devices, such as the sweat label, will become more valuable — by helping researchers get more and better data on sweat.
What could be more beneficial than a sweat monitor?
Although sweat contains potentially useful information, “the body has evolved to hold internal information in and out of information, so accessing [biomarkers] Slapping something on the skin is not easy – that’s why we draw blood, they take a part of the body,” Jason Hickenfield, Ph.D.He is a professor at the University of Cincinnati.
Heikenfeld is a researcher and developer of flexible and wearable electronics. He also understands why many see the possibility of sweat monitoring, but he’s not sure it’s practical.
“We spent a lot of time sweating because it was the holy grail, [offering] Constant, noninvasive access to things in the body,” he says. But “the range of things you can measure is limited. And we found that sweating was much harder [to monitor accurately]. Whole blood is well stored. Its pH does not change. Sweat salinity and pH change everywhere depending on the rate of sweat, and this confounds the diagnosis in sensors like crazy.”
That’s why Heikenfeld believes that for most metrics, the future of wearables for chemistry monitoring isn’t in sweat monitoring but in Interstitial fluid (ISF) sensor.
Interstitial fluid is present under the skin, between each cell. It contains things that seep out of blood, which means that it’s more like blood than sweat.
ISF sensing only needs micro-needle-like patches or wired sensors. This technology is already available for some vital signs, such as continuous glucose monitoring that is worn on the back of the arm with a sensor that penetrates the skin.
“The big future, and since we’re 100% active these days, is interstitial fluid sensing,” Hickenfield says. “Most of the things you want to measure in the blood, you can do in the interstitial fluid.”
He says his team is almost ready to release a review that supports that claim.
However, that doesn’t mean sweat won’t have a place, says Heikenfeld. Sees opportunities to use sweat to track hormone levels (such as those that regulate Stresssex and sleep) and to monitor drug levels in the body and track how quickly it is broken down.
But for now, both interstitial fluid and sweat monitoring require more research before any mass-market uses become available.