A new device that can detect the stress hormone in sweat has been developed which could eventually help doctors better understand stress-related health conditions.
The Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (Nanolab) and Xsensio has made a wearable device that can be placed directly on a person’s skin and can continually measure the concentration of cortisol.
- JDRF funds wearable artificial pancreas system for children with type 1 diabetes
- Diabetes News NHS England to offer wearable tech to help people reduce type 2 diabetes risk
Adrian Ionescu, head of Nanolab, said: “Cortisol can be secreted on impulse — you feel fine and suddenly something happens that puts you under stress, and your body starts producing more of the hormone.”
The production of the hormone normally helps a person to deal with stressful situations and it works in sync with the circadian rhythm, peaking between 6am and 8am and then gradually decreasing into the afternoon and evening.
However, problems can occur when people suffer from stress-related diseases as this can impact the circadian rhythm.
Up until now, blood tests have always been used to measure cortisol levels. But, saliva, urine and sweat can also be used to detect the hormone, which is why the Nanolab team wanted to find a less intrusive way to monitor it.
The device’s patch contains a transistor and an electrode made from graphene which, due to its unique proprieties, offers high sensitivity and very low detection limits.
- Low Carb Program ranked #1 for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in The Times’ Best Health Apps 2020
- Man puts type 2 diabetes into remission 23 years since diagnosis
Mr IIonescu added: “That’s the key advantage and innovative feature of our device. Because it can be worn, scientists can collect quantitative, objective data on certain stress-related diseases. And they can do so in a non-invasive, precise and instantaneous manner over the full range of cortisol concentrations in human sweat.”