Posted in | Medical Sensor | Biosensors

New Metabolite Monitoring Device Could Help Improve Athletic Performance

Engineering researchers at North Carolina State University have created a device with the ability to monitor the body chemistry of an individual to help enhance athletic performance and discover prospective health problems. The device is approximately the size of a wristwatch.

The metabolite monitoring device, shown here, is the size of a wristwatch. The sensor strip, which sticks out in this photo, can be tucked back, lying between the device and the user’s skin
The metabolite monitoring device, shown here, is the size of a wristwatch. The sensor strip, which sticks out in this photo, can be tucked back, lying between the device and the user’s skin. Image Credit: Murat Yokus, NC State University.

The device has a wide range of potential uses, from competitive sports to military training, to tracking athletic recovery and detecting dehydration.

This technology allows us to test for a wide range of metabolites in almost real time,” stated Michael Daniele, co-corresponding author of a paper on the study and an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University and in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Metabolites are markers that can be detected to evaluate the metabolism of an individual. Therefore, if the metabolite levels of a person are outside of normal parameters, it could allow health professionals or trainers to know if something has gone wrong. Athletes can also use it to help customize training efforts to enhance physical performance.

For this proof-of-concept study, we tested sweat from human participants and monitored for glucose, lactate, pH and temperature.

Michael Daniele, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University

The back part of the device is equipped with a replaceable strip that is embedded with chemical sensors. The strip is in contact with the skin of a user and comes into contact with the user’s sweat. Hardware provided within the device interprets the data from the sensors in the strip, and subsequently records the results and transmits them to the smartphone or smartwatch of a user.

The device is the size of an average watch, but contains analytical equipment equivalent to four of the bulky electrochemistry devices currently used to measure metabolite levels in the lab,” stated Daniele. “We’ve made something that is truly portable, so that it can be used in the field.”

The focus of the study was on pH, glucose, and lactate measurement, and the sensor strips could be tailored to monitor for other substances that could act as markers for health and athletic performance—for example, electrolytes.

We’re optimistic that this hardware could enable new technologies to reduce casualties during military or athletic training, by spotting health problems before they become critical. It could also improve training by allowing users to track their performance over time. For example, what combination of diet and other variables improves a user’s ability to perform?

Michael Daniele, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University

The researchers are now running a study to further test the technology when it is being worn by people under a variety of conditions.

We want to confirm that it can provide continuous monitoring when in use for an extended period of time,” Daniele added.

While it’s difficult to estimate what the device might cost consumers, it only costs tens of dollars to make. And the cost of the strips—which can last for at least a day—should be comparable to the glucose strips used by people with diabetes. We’re currently looking for industry partners to help us explore commercialization options for this technology.

Michael Daniele, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University

The paper titled “Wearable multiplexed biosensor system toward continuous monitoring of metabolites” was published in the Biosensors and Bioelectronics journal. Murat Yokus, a PhD student at NC State, is the first author of the study. Alper Bozkurt, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State, is the co-corresponding author of the study.

Tanner Songkakul, a PhD student at NC State, and Vladimir Pozdin, a postdoctoral researcher in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and UNC, co-authored the paper.

The study was financially supported by NC State’s National Science Foundation-funded Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) Center under grant EEC1160483.

Source: https://www.ncsu.edu/

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