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Painless Skin Patch Continuously Monitors Vital Health Biomarkers

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 19 Jun 2024
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Image: The Wearable Aptalyzer patch gathers and sends information about markers in the fluid to a smartphone (Photo courtesy of McMaster University)
Image: The Wearable Aptalyzer patch gathers and sends information about markers in the fluid to a smartphone (Photo courtesy of McMaster University)

Researchers have designed a pain-free, wearable sensor capable of continuously monitoring levels of glucose, lactates, and other vital health indicators for weeks, transmitting the data to a smartphone or similar device. This wearable patch features an array of tiny hydrogel needles that penetrate just deep enough to tap into the interstitial fluid under the skin, without reaching the blood vessels or nerves. It collects and relays data about biomarkers in the fluid to an electronic device, providing a continuous record of variations in important health markers. After it is developed for clinical use, this device will enable health professionals to access up-to-date medical information that is currently only obtainable retrospectively through blood tests and lab analyses. This innovation could simplify monitoring disease markers as easily as checking pulse or blood pressure.

The Wearable Aptalyzer developed by researchers from McMaster University (Hamilton, ON, Canada) and the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada) can serve as a versatile platform that is capable of measuring a wide range of biomarkers, from those related to diabetes to cardiac indicators. The patch, applied and removed much like a small bandage with barely visible, soft hooks, offers convenience that will be particularly appealing to diabetics and others who currently test themselves by drawing blood or using more invasive solid monitoring patches. The technology’s most significant advantage, however, could be its ability to deliver extended, meaningful data over weeks and transmit this information directly to electronic devices accessible by medical professionals without the need for complex equipment.

Furthermore, the Wearable Aptalyzer could potentially transform how data indicating cardiac events is captured and transmitted in real time, which would be invaluable in ambulances, emergency rooms, and throughout ongoing patient care. The technology can also be adapted to monitor a variety of chronic conditions, including cancer. It has significant potential to enhance medical care in remote settings, such as in northern Indigenous communities who reside at a distance from medical facilities. The data provided by the Wearable Aptalyzer can indicate emerging health issues before symptoms are evident, potentially facilitating timely medical intervention. The next steps for this technology include conducting human trials and obtaining regulatory approvals, with the researchers actively seeking partnerships to commercialize the innovation.

“This technology can provide real-time information about both chronic and acute health conditions, allowing caregivers to act more quickly and with greater certainty when they see trouble,” said, McMaster’s Leyla Soleymani, professor of Engineering Physics.

Related Links:
McMaster University
University of Waterloo

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