The gases released by our skin could tell a lot about our health

THE ESSENTIAL

  • Existing devices can measure our parameters through heart rate or sweat
  • American researchers are working on sensors capable of analyzing the gases released by our skin

Watches, fitness trackers, even connected textiles can tell us a lot about our state of health. But not to the point of reliably detecting a metabolic disorder like diabetes or heart disease. But the next generation of wearable health monitors is on the way. And it may be used to assess our physiological parameters… gases released by our skin. This is what announces a study by scientists at Ohio University and published in the journal PLOS One.

The most advanced devices for measuring human biomarkers mostly rely on electrical signals that analyze chemicals excreted through sweat. But these systems require a significant amount of that sweat to generate reliable data.

Analyze the gases that evacuate through the skin

Hence the idea of ​​a sensor that would monitor the state of health of the body from the gases that are evacuated through the skin. As the breathalyzer already does, which already makes it possible to measure the amount of alcohol in the blood from the breath. Or like the measurement of acetone, also in the breath, the levels of which provide information on blood sugar levels or fat burning.

But it would be a device”completely non-invasive and passive towards the user“, a small device that could be worn discreetly behind the ear or anywhere on the body with low perspiration.”Discerning health issues through the skin is really the ultimate frontier, in a few months we should have advanced on the concept and in a year we would like to have it tested on people“, announces Pelagia Iren-Gouma, co-author of this study.

A new generation of skin sensors

And scientists at Ohio University are optimistic about the capabilities of their device: “Our team’s sensors can already operate on quantities of gas much lower than those contained in the breath; we are developing a new generation of skin sensors from a film composed of plant cellulose derivatives and electroactive polymers and this will truly be the new standard“, souligne Pelagia Iren-Gouma.

And the researchers point out that if they focus on these metabolic sensors, their work could also make it possible to better analyze gaseous substances in the body and, for example, follow ethanol which can carry signs of liver disease.

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