Sweat it Out!

We have plenty to sweat about here in Arizona. With all the heat….it’s pretty hard to avoid. But a new high-tech skin patch might be able to put all that sweat to good use by using it to track your health.

From CBS News:

The experimental gadget goes well beyond activity monitors like the Fitbit. A little larger than a quarter, it’s almost like a tiny lab stuck to the skin — and a study published Wednesday found it worked on sweaty bicyclists, sticking even during a long-distance race in Arizona.

If you think of perspiration as just a drippy nuisance, think again.

“Sweat has biochemical components within it that tell us a lot about physiological health,” said John A. Rogers, who directs Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics and led the new research.

According to LiveScience.com, “Perspiration is a rich chemical full of molecules ranging from simple electrically charged ions to more complex proteins that can shed light on what is happening inside the human body. Doctors can use sweat to diagnose certain diseases, uncover drug use and reveal insight into athletic performance. Sweat also can be gathered far less invasively than blood.”

A research team at Northwestern University is developing the “sweat sensor” and they put together a short video to better explain what it is and how it works. Click here or on the picture below to watch it.


The research, published in the journal Science Transitional Medicine, lists a few of the groundbreaking innovations the sensor can provide.

  • The device can capture, store and analyze sweat in situ in real time
  • The device can quantitatively determine biomarker levels using colorimetric analysis
  • A power source is not required to display the results; instead, a smartphone camera and app are used to read the biomarker change

The sensor is built for a one-time use of a few hours and researchers hope to keep the price under $1.50 per patch. By the way, there is an Arizona connection to this new high-tech device…..the clinical investigators involved in the research included Dr. Marvin J. Slepian, at the Sarver Heart Center of the University of Arizona. Dr. Slepian “enlisted the help of several cyclist friends—a total of 12 healthy volunteers—to carry out the outdoor trial.”

It could still be a year or two before the disposable skin patches are available to buy. But the potential to use sweat to determine someone’s health is intriguing – and if this innovative new tool can do that….it could be a big hit in Arizona. After all….our state has plenty of sweat to go around! And now it seems that sweat might be used to drive better health….which could help us with our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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