Sweat patch could end finger pricking for blood testing
A Cincinnati firm is developing a sweat patch that could signify an end to finger pricking for people with diabetes.
Eccrine Systems’ sweat patch can calculate the amount of glucose in the blood, and for people who have to finger prick in order to obtain a drop of blood, this method of obtaining blood glucose levels would be far less painful.
How does the patch work?
The disposable sweat patch can be worn for up to a week. It enables data, known as “biomarkers”, to be collected through the flow of sweat. This data, which includes glucose, proteins and hormones provide information as to how to the body behaves.
Once these biomarkers are detected – there are around 800 biomarkers in sweat – the patch could be used to monitor a person’s health. This is achieved through a technology called “microfluidics”, which allows minute amounts of liquid to be manipulated by sensors and valves.
When these sensors are coated with a specific membrane that attracts a biomarker for measuring glucose, the sweat patch absorbs sweat from a porous adhesive to the sensor and glucose concentrations are obtained.
Once these concentrations are determined by a microprocessor, the data is transferred wirelessly to monitoring systems. Not only does the device alleviate the need for finger pricking, but it allows for blood glucose levels to be monitored constantly. The data can also be sent directly to your doctor.
A release for the patch is planned for 2016 by Eccrine Systems. Meanwhile, a Washington company called Gentag have also scheduled a 2016 release for their own sweat patch – they announced a prototype of their device in July.
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