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Researchers at Stanford Create Wearable Devices to Measure Cortisol in Sweat

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Published on : Jul 23, 2018

Cortisol is a stress hormone present in the human body, but is involved in numerous important physiological functions. However, the level of this hormone may rise and fall throughout the day, and thus may depict a spike as a response to increasing stress. Currently, measuring cortisol levels may require waiting several days foe one to get results from the lab. But, this soon may change as a team of researchers from Stanford University have designed a device that can measure cortisol directly from sweat.

More Insights into the Cortisol Measuring Device Technology

A group of researchers led by materials scientist Alberto Salleo at Stanford University has created a stretchy patch. This patch can be applied directly to the skin, wherein it absorbs sweat and determines how much cortisol a person is producing. A paper about the wearable sensor was published on July 20 in Science Advances.

According to Onur Parlak, a post-doctoral scholar in the Salleo lab and lead author of the paper, the team is interested in developing sweat sensing technology. Such interest mainly lies in the fact that the study allows carrying out noninvasive and continuous monitoring of various biomarkers for a range of physiological conditions. In this way, a novel approach for the early detection of various diseases and evaluation of sports performances can be implemented. Measuring cortisol could also reveal the emotional state of children, specifically those who have a shortcoming of sorts – such as the deaf and mute.

To develop a properly functioning sensor, Parlak had to overcome the challenge of detectability as cortisol has no charge. And a biosensor mainly detects compounds having either a positive or negative charge. However, to ensure that detection happened, a special type of membrane was used that can only stick to cortisol. From an overall perspective, the research is still in a developmental stage.