This sticker absorbs sweat and can diagnose cystic fibrosis
In the middle Ages, some harsh sayings Appear In European folklore and children’s stories: Alas, that child who tastes salty when he kisses on the forehead. She is enchanted and must die soon. A newborn with a salty head was a frightening sign of a mysterious disease. The diagnosis of witchcraft was not valid, of course, but researchers now believe that the salty taste warned us of a genetic disease we now know as cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis affects 30,000 people in the United States, and more than 70,000 worldwide. Mutations in the CFTR gene develop cell planes to make protein tunnels for chloride ions. The negative charge of chloride attracts water; so that chloride does not make much meander in the cells, making the mucous membranes of the body thicker and more sticky, turning them into respiratory fights and often trapping dangerous bacteria in the lungs. Digestive enzymes disrupt travel from the pancreas to the intestines and cause inflammation and malnutrition.
Salty sweating is a significant sign. Doctors sometimes come across children 10 times higher than expected chloride levels in sweat. Since the 1960s, chloride measurement has provided doctors with the clearest diagnoses: they stimulate people’s sweat glands, absorb them as much as they can, and send samples to laboratories. But the tools are expensive, big, and difficult to get babies into. Sometimes tests do not collect enough fluid to make a diagnosis. If a test fails, parents and their newborns will have to wait a couple of weeks to return.
“Failure to collect enough sweat has only delayed the time to diagnosis,” says Tyler Ray, a mechanical engineer at the University of Hawaii, Mahonan, who develops portable biosensors. This means losing precious weeks when doctors could prescribe treatments. It also creates an obstacle for people who need to drive for hours or fly over the oceans to get to the hospital where they can be tested. “There’s not a lot in the whole country,” Ray says. “Actually, Hawaii doesn’t have it for the general population.”
Ray’s team of engineers and pathologists believe they have an alternative: sticky sweat collectors. In an examination published in Science in Translational Medicine, have been reported to be an adjustable coin-sized adaptive that changes color as it absorbs increasing salt concentrations indicative of cystic fibrosis. When testing with infants and adults, the stickers filled with more sweat than conventional devices and did so faster.
“This is an exciting technology and it’s very new,” says Edward Fong, a pregnant pneumatologist at Hawaii Pacific Health who was not involved in the research. Fongen believes that these adhesives would make the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis more accessible. If it gets approval for the regulations, he says, “we don’t have to send our patients 2,500 miles away to test sweat.”
“Facilitating sweat tests would be an obvious victory,” agrees Gordon Dexter, a 36-year-old Maryland resident living in the state. Dexter is the moderator of the Reddit community r / CysticFibrosis, where people sympathize with digestive difficulties and celebrate victories on lung bacteria. “Sweat tests can be ambiguous or difficult to do, and that’s a question I’ve seen over and over again,” Dexter says.
Rayk has been sweating for years. In 2016, he joined as a postdoctoral fellow John Rogers Laboratory At Northwestern University, researchers were conducting sweat analysis on sensors worn. They wanted to create new devices with tiny channels, valves and dyes to track body chemistry in real time. Immediately after Ray arrived, the lab has published a paper showing a portable sensor that can detect glucose, lactate, and chloride ion levels in sweat, as well as its pH. In this study the sensors were placed as monitors for members of the athletes or military who were in the coaches and the researchers tested them in a long-distance bicycle race. Technology got a lot of attention: Ray later worked with sports teams like the Chicago Cubs and Gatorad has used technology to sell her Gx sweat patch. In 2017, the patches were shown in New York Museum of Modern Art and were used to promote hydration in water From the southwest festival.