Wearable patch uses sweat for insight into health

A wearable patch has been developed that tracks hormone levels through sweat. 

A wearable patch that measures hormone levels through sweat has been developed. The patch non-invasively collects and measures the levels of the hormone cortisol in the body in seconds by attaching it to a device for analysis after it soaks up sweat.

Developed at Stanford University in the US, the patch can provide insight to metabolism, inflammation, memory formation and emotional stress, as well as helping to spot signs of Cushing’s syndrome – which entails weight gain, infections and blood clots – caused by a build up of cortisol over a long period of time.

The patch is made up of four layers of stretchy material that wick in sweat and bind the cortisol to a specialised membrane that allows charged ions to pass through to a molecularly-selective device, covered by a waterproof protection to prevent the sensor being contaminated.

The patch allows invasive blood tests and long waits for analysis reports to be avoided, while providing the opportunity for “continuous monitoring of various biomarkers for a range of psychological conditions” according to the paper’s author, postdoctoral research fellow Dr Onur Parlak.

Further research is currently planned to make the patch reusable and to allow it to measure several biomarkers at one time.