Tag Archives: healthcare monitoring

Big Data and the end of painful, invasive medical procedures

The scientist has made a career of replacing invasive, painful, and dangerous procedures with simple, cheap tests that can be performed almost anywhere.

Just this year, a blood panel he developed to detect genetic birth defects has been taken by more than three million women, replacing the need for amniocentesis and giant, uterus-puncturing needles. At the WIRED25 Summit Monday morning, Quake pronounced, perhaps jokingly, that colonoscopies were next. Vigorous applause ensued.

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Wearable biosensor measures ‘stress hormone’ in sweat

sensorsWearable biosensors have emerged as an alternative evolutionary development in the field of healthcare technology due to their potential to change conventional medical diagnostics and health monitoring. However, a number of critical technological challenges including selectivity, stability of (bio)recognition, efficient sample handling, invasiveness, and mechanical compliance to increase user comfort must still be overcome to successfully bring devices closer to commercial applications.

Stress plays an important role in the overall health of a patient; when under stress, the adrenal gland releases cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. The cortisol levels in various bodily fluids can range from 4 pM to 70 μM depending on the fluid. In sweat, the optimum level of cortisol ranges from 0.02 to 0.5 μM.

Increased levels of cortisol have a detrimental effect on the regulation of various physiological processes such as blood pressure, glucose levels, and carbohydrate metabolism, and sustained stress can disrupt homeostasis in the cardiovascular, immune, renal, skeletal, and endocrine systems, leading to development of chronic diseases.

Therefore, continuous monitoring of cortisol levels in bodily fluids has great relevance in maintaining healthy physiological conditions. As a result, there is much interest in devising wearable devices able to monitor stress levels.

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Authors:
– Onur Parlak
– Scott Tom Keene
– Andrew Marais
– Alberto Salleo

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

– Vincenzo F. Curto
Department of Bioelectronics, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines, Centre Microélectronique de Provence–École nationale supérieure des mines de Saint-Étienne, Center Microelectronics De Provence Georges Charpak, Gardanne, France.