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Scientists from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego have developed new technology that enables doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body and to do so continuously for an extended period of time.
Microneedles are very small needles in which at least one dimension –- such as length –- is less than one millimeter. Existing technology depends on taking samples and testing them; microneedle biosensors instead allow for continuous monitoring in real time.
Dr. Roger Narayan, professor in the joint biomedical engineering department of NC State’s College of Engineering and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explains:
We’ve loaded the hollow channels within microneedles with electrochemical sensors that can be used to detect specific molecules or pH levels. The idea is that customized microneedle sensor arrays could be developed and incorporated into wearable devices, such as something like a wristwatch, to help answer specific medical or research questions. For example, it could monitor glucose levels in a diabetic patient
The sensors are currently designed to detect glucose, pH levels and lactate. The research was recently published online in the journal Talanta.