Wearable Sweat Sensor Could Help Monitor IBD Flares, Study Finds

Wearable Sweat Sensor Could Help Monitor IBD Flares, Study Finds
A new wearable sensor that measures the levels of inflammatory molecules in sweat could be used to monitor flares in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a new study. The study, "A Sweat-based Wearable Enabling Technology for Real-time Monitoring of IL-1β and CRP as Potential Markers for Inflammatory Bowel Disease," conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), was published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. As its name suggests, IBD is characterized by excessive inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Within the body, inflammation is regulated by signaling molecules; two of these molecules known to play a role in IBD-associated inflammation are interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and C-reactive protein (CRP). "We hypothesize that demonstrating real-time continuous monitoring of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and C-reactive protein (CRP) may help create an enabling technology to track inflammation in IBD patients and identify flare-ups and assess efficacy of therapy," the researchers wrote. Performing this kind of real-time monitoring requires consistent access to a biological sample. That means that certain types of samples — blood, for example — are not well-suited for real-time monitoring. As such, the researchers created a sensor device to detect these inflammatory molecules in passive sweat — that is, sweat secreted even in the absence of increased physical activity. According to the team, this is an important aspect for effective monitoring as some IBD patients may not be able to exercise at levels required to generate active sweat. The device, called SWEATSENSER, is worn on a strap around the wrist like a watch. In simple terms, it works by using antibodies, or protein components of the immu
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