Custom smartwatch tracks sedate levels inside the body continuously
- Post By : Kumar Jeetendra
- Source: University of California - Los Angeles
- Date: 08 Aug,2020
Engineers in the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and their colleagues at Stanford School of Medicine have demonstrated that drug levels inside the body is able to be tracked in real time using a custom smartwatch which assesses the compounds found in sweat. This wearable technology can be incorporated into a more personalized approach to drugs — where an perfect drug and doses could be tailored to a person.
In general, medications are prescribed using a’one-size-fits-all’ strategy — drugs are designed and prescribed based on statistical averages of the efficacy. You will find guidelines for variables such as individuals’ age and weight. However, along with these fundamental differentiators, our body chemistry continuously changes — depending on what we consume and how much we’ve exercised. And on top of these dynamic factors, every individual’s genetic makeup is unique and consequently answers to drugs can fluctuate. This affects how fast drugs are absorbed, take effect and become eliminated from an individual.
According to the researchers, present efforts to personalize the drug dosage rely heavily on repeated blood draws in the hospital. The samples are then sent out to be examined in central labs. These alternatives are somewhat inconvenient, time-consuming, invasive and costly. That’s why they are only performed on a tiny subset of individuals and on rare events.
We wanted to create a wearable technology that can track the profile of medication inside the body continuously and non-invasively. This way, we can tailor the optimal dosage and timing of the intake for each individual. And using this personalization approach, we can improve the efficacy of the therapeutic treatments.”-Sam Emaminejad, study leader, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCLA
Due to their small molecular dimensions, many distinct kinds of drugs end up in sweat, where their concentrations closely reflect the medication’ circulating levels. That is why the researchers produced a smartwatch, equipped with a detector that assesses the sampled tiny droplets of sweat.
The team’s experiment tracked the effect of acetaminophen, a typical over-the-counter pain medication, on individuals within the period of a few hours. First, the researchers stimulated sweat glands on the wrist by employing a small electric currentthe same method that Emaminejad’s research group shown in previous wearable technologies.
This allowed the researchers to detect changes in body chemistry, without even needing issues to develop a sweat by exercising. As different drugs each have their own distinct electrochemical signature, the detector can be designed to look for the degree of a specific medication at any given time.
“Emerging pharmacogenomic options, which allow us to pick drugs based on the genetic makeup of people, have already shown to be useful in enhancing the effectiveness of remedies. So, in combination with our wearable remedy, which helps us to optimize the drug dosages for every person, we can now truly personalize our approaches to pharmacotherapy.”
What makes this study significant is the ability to accurately discover a drug’s unique electrochemical signal, against the backdrop of signals from many other molecules which may be circulating in the human body and in greater concentrations than the drug, ” said the study’s lead author Shuyu Lin, a UCLA doctoral student and associate of Emaminejad’s Interconnected and Integrated Bioelectronics Lab (I²BL). Emaminejad added that the technology can be adapted to monitor medication adherence and drug abuse.
“This may be particularly important for individuals with mental health issues, where physicians prescribe them protracted pharmacotherapy treatments,” he said.” The patients may gain from these easy-to-use, noninvasive monitoring tools, while doctors could observe how the medication is performing in the individual.”
Lin, S., et al. (2020) Noninvasive wearable electroactive pharmaceutical monitoring for personalized therapeutics. PNAS. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2009979117.