Med Tech: 4 Biosensors You Might Use

Med Tech: 4 Biosensors You Might Use

It’s no surprise how rapid technology is advancing. This is particularly true for medical tech. Today, things like joint and limb replacement are state-of-the-art prosthetics that practically surpass human biology. Procedures that used to involve a long hospital stay and longer recovery now have people back at work in just a few days. It truly is a ‘real time future’ we are living in.

In addition to robotic limbs and precision surgery, wearable biosensors with med tech data go beyond simple analytics. This med tech may help you make healthier choices. With vitals digitally tracked, patient and doctors have a combined, educated protocol that doesn’t have to wait until the next visit for action. 

No longer is the patient in the dark leaving all decisions to the doctor either. These sensors bring info that can be applied to conventional (pharmaceutical, etc) and traditional (naturopathic, holistic, etc) remedies as well. It can help you navigate and target dietary, herbal, supplemental, and other alternative remedies depending on the specific data info that may apply.

In only a short time, these 4 biosensors you might use just may help you more than you think.

Alcohol Sensors

Alcohol sensors alert you when your drinking may impair your decision making, like whether you should drive a vehicle or not. There have been ankle sensors on the market for sometime but they are bulky and expensive. This current biosensor is worn on your wrist while you are drinking alcohol. As alcohol consumption causes your body to sweat, the sensor continually measures your perspiration for alcohol levels. This is known as a transdermal sensor, specific material that by simply resting against your skin can detect information. Once the risk level is reached, the biosensor may emit an audible or vibrating alarm to alert you that it’s time to stop.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign compared data from from the wrist wearable showing significant improvement from the ankle worn devices. Currently in testing, the BACtrack Skyn alcohol sensor may soon be on the market to help you monitor your own safe drinking levels.

High Blood Pressure Patch

High blood pressure aka hypertension is rampant in the US alone. Current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that, 

“About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults and about 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.”

Medication is highly effective for hypertension treatment but a wearable ultrasound biosensor patch that monitors blood pressure could help you adjust your diet and exercise for a more natural approach to lowering it. 

According to a study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, as reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this biosensor is described,

“…when this small patch is worn on the neck, it measures blood pressure way down in the central arteries and veins more than an inch beneath the skin. The patch works by emitting continuous ultrasound waves that monitor subtle, real-time changes in the shape and size of pulsing blood vessels, which indicate rises or drops in pressure.”

15 Second Breast Scanner

Breast cancer can be an aggressive disease that, unless caught early, poses serious health risks. With upwards of fifty percent of women skipping their yearly mammogram test, the incidence remains high. Now, researchers from Caltech Medical and Electrical Engineering have developed a photo-acoustic computed tomography (PACT) biosensor that, within 15 seconds, can detect breast cancer without being exposed to radioactive x-rays.

NIH explains how PACT works,

“In photo-acoustic imaging the target is hit with light, which causes vibrations that return as a detailed image of the target in the form of sound, similar to ultrasound images.”

Caltech researcher Lihong Wang, Ph.D., commented, 

“We think of PACT as a dream machine, which has none of the discomfort of the unpopular mammogram and so could ultimately save countless lives through early screening and detection,” 

PACT wands may be available for home use and hopefully covered by insurance, particularly to those highest at risk. Being aware of this debilitating disease through the use of PACT could increase healthier living choices to prevent breast cancer at all costs.

White Blood Cell Monitor

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering have developed a portable, non-invasive biosensor monitor that, in about one minute, can determine a drop in white blood cells. These cells are your major source of infection-fighting defense. Researchers describe how this monitor, still in testing, works,

“The tabletop prototype device, designed to be used easily at home, takes a video of blood moving through extremely small capillaries at the base of the fingernail just below the skin. The system takes advantage of the fact that white blood cells are much larger than the red cells flowing through capillaries and are almost exactly as wide as the capillary—about the width of a human hair. The blue light used in the device makes the red cells appear dark and the white cells appear transparent. Because the white cells completely fill the width of the artery as they flow through it, they appear as a white “gap” in the dark flow of red blood cells moving through the capillary. The gaps can be easily counted and any reduction in the normal number of white cells expected to pass through the capillary can be detected in just one minute.” 

Currently being tested on cancer patients, this biosensor may someday help you determine if you are getting sick, fighting an unknown infection, or want to naturally boost your immune system as a preventative measure. 

These 4 biosensors you might use show the extreme med tech advancements on the horizon that will inevitably make medicine and holistic decision making much easier.