This sticker absorbs sweat – and can diagnose cystic fibrosis

In the middle Era, sometimes a serious proverb Turned In European folklore and children’s stories: Woe to the child who tastes salty by kissing his forehead. He is forgotten and will soon die. The salty-headed newborn was a terrible sign of a mysterious illness. The magical diagnosis was not made, but researchers today believe that the salty taste warned of a genetic disease that we now know as cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis Affects on 30,000 people in the United States and more than 70,000 people worldwide. Conversion of CFTR genes into blueprints of gerbel cells to create protein tunnels for chloride ions. The negative charge of chloride attracts water, so without too much chloride mixing in the cells, the body’s mucus becomes thick and sticky, turning breathing into a respiratory fight and often trapping dangerous bacteria in the lungs. It disrupts digestive enzymes from being transported between the pancreas and intestines, causing inflammation and malnutrition.

Salt sweat is a teletal symptom. Physicians occasionally visit children 10 times Chloride levels in their sweat are higher than expected. Since the 1960s, chloride measurements have led doctors to make clear diagnoses: they stimulate human sweat glands, soak them as much as possible, and send samples to labs. However, the equipment is expensive, heavy and suitable for squirming children. Sometimes tests do not collect enough fluid for diagnosis. And if a test fails, parents and their newborns have to wait several weeks for it to return.

“Failure to collect enough sweat only delays the diagnosis,” said Tyler Roy, a mechanical engineer at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, who develops wearable biosensors. That means losing precious weeks when doctors suggested treatment. It also creates a barrier for people who have to drive for hours or fly overseas to get to a hospital that can be tested. “There’s not much in the whole country,” Ray said. “In fact, Hawaii has none for the general public.”

Judging by the team of engineers and pathologists, it seems they have a choice: Stick on Anved collectors. Inside A study Published last week Science Translation Medicine, They report the creation of malleable, coin-shaped stickers that change color because it identifies increasingly high salt concentrations as an indicator of cystic fibrosis. When tested on children and adults, the stickers were more sweaty than traditional therapeutic devices and worked so fast.

“It’s exciting technology and something very new,” says Edward Fong, a pediatric pulmonologist at Hawaii Pacific Health who was not involved in the study. Fong thinks these stickers will make cystic fibrosis diagnosis more accessible. If it imposes regulatory approval, he said, “we don’t need to send patients 2,500 miles to be able to test sweat.”

“Simplifying the sweat test can be the only obvious victory,” agrees Gordon Dexer, 36, of Maryland, who survived the condition. Dexter is a moderator in the Reddit community R / cystic fibrosis, Where people Sympathizes with indigestion And Celebrate victory “Sweat tests are kind of vague or very difficult to do and that’s a recurring question I’ve seen,” Dexter said of the bacteria in the lungs.

Video: University of Hawaii in Manoa

Ray kept an eye on the sweat for years. Joined in 2016 as Postdoctoral Fellow John Rogers Lab At Northwestern University, where researchers were continuing to analyze sweat on wearable sensors. They wanted to create new devices with tiny channels, valves and dyes that could track body chemistry in real time. The lab immediately after the verdict Published a paper Displays a wearable sensor that can detect glucose, lactate and chloride ion levels in sweat, as well as its pH. The study developed sensors as monitors for athletes or military members in training, and researchers tested them during long-distance bike races. The technology has attracted a lot of attention: Ray later worked with sports teams such as Chicago Cuba and Gatorade. Use of technology To sell it GX Suite Patch. In 2017, the patches appeared in New York Museum of Modern Art And is used to promote hydration South southwest Festival.

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