Self-powered, adhesive paper patch allows for glucose monitoring during exercise in diabetics

Liz Meszaros, MDLinx | September 20, 2017

Researchers from Binghamton University, State University of New York, Binghamton, NY, have developed a novel, paper-based sensor patch that would allow individuals with diabetes to accurately measure their glucose levels during exercise. They published their research in the latest issue of the journal Micromachines.

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Paper-based sensor patch for glucose monitoring

This self-powered, wearable, disposable patch makes it easier to prevent hypoglycemia during exercise. Credit: Binghamton University, and assistant professor Seokheun Choi.

Monitoring glucose levels with conventional glucose self-testing is not suitable for preventing hypoglycemia during exercise, explained senior author Seokheun Choi, BS, MS, PhD, Binghamton University.

“This is because 1) the underlying process relies on invasive and inconvenient blood sampling, causing the possibility of sample contamination and skin irritation with sweat containing various electrolytes and proteins; 2) the method needs patients to carry many accessories during physical activity, including lancets, alcohol swabs, and a relatively large glucometer; and 3) the technique requires a sophisticated electrochemical sensing technique and sufficient electrical energy, which makes the technique difficult to be fully integrated in a compact and portable fashion,” said Dr. Choi.

Dr. Choi and colleagues developed and demonstrated a self-powered, wearable, disposable patch that allows for the non-invasive monitoring of glucose in human sweat. This wearable, single-use biosensor integrates a vertically stacked, paper-based glucose/oxygen enzymatic fuel cell into a standard Band-Aid adhesive patch.

“The paper-based device attaches directly to skin, wicks sweat to a reservoir where chemical energy is converted to electrical energy, and monitors glucose without external power and sophisticated readout instruments,” said Dr. Choi.

Measurements can be done during or immediately after exercise, when there is enough sweat for an adequate sample. Conventional, non-invasive sweat sensors can make it difficult to collect enough sweat for analysis, and can also be impeded by evaporation and the relatively long time needed for adequate sample collection.

“The sensing platform holds considerable promise for efficient diabetes management, and a fully integrated system with a simple readout can be realized toward continuous non-invasive glucose monitoring,” concluded Dr. Choi and fellow researchers.

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