Follow for more talkers

Smart patch could detect Alzheimer’s within six minutes of use

The innovation has been described as a breakthrough to combat the disease.

Avatar photo



By Jim Leffman via SWNS

A smart patch that can detect Alzheimer's within six minutes has been developed by British scientists.

The microneedle patch detects biomarkers and could also be used to test for other conditions such as Parkinson's, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Described as a breakthrough, the test can be done at the GP or even at home and has
the potential to change the landscape of early neurodegenerative disease detection.

The microneedles detect biomarkers within skin interstitial fluid (ISF) in a “bloodless” manner with the patch sending data to a connected computer which can be analyzed by experts.

Dr. Sanjiv Sharma, from Swansea University, who previously developed the world’s first COVID-19 "smart patch," said: “The skin is the largest organ in the body – it contains more ISF than the total volume of blood.

"This fluid is an ultrafiltrate of blood and holds biomarkers that complement other biofluids such as sweat, saliva, and urine.

"It can be sampled in a minimally invasive manner and used either for point of care testing or real-time using microneedle devices."

The patches are comprised of rows of tiny needles designed to break the skin barrier in a minimally invasive manner.

They can then monitor for any proinflammatory biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Sharma continued: "We employed microneedle array-based biosensing patches as wearable transdermal sensors to detect the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6.

"IL-6 is present in the skin ISF with other cytokines and is implicated in many clinical states, including neurodegenerative diseases and fatal pneumonia from SARSCoV 2.

"We have been able to detect IL-6 at concentrations as low as 1 pg/mL in synthetic skin ISF, indicating its utility for routine point of care, bloodless measurements in simpler settings, worldwide.

"The devices we developed are scalable, and the resulting sensor has a short measurement time of six minutes with high accuracy and a low limit of detection.

"This new diagnostic tool, for screening of inflammatory biomarkers in point of care testing, will see the skin act as a window to the body and vital organs such as the brain.”

Published in the journal ACS Omega, the work was carried out by Portuguese scientists.

Dr. Felismina Moreira from the School of Engineering, Polytechnic Institute, Portugal, added: "Biomark ISEP Porto has pioneered applications of molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs) and extended them to different healthcare applications.

"Together with Swansea's expertise in transdermal diagnostics we have demonstrated that the MIPs together with the microneedle arrays offers a fantastic platform for the development of point of care devices for bloodless testing.

"These can be extended to diagnostics for cardiovascular, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.”

Swansea University is currently working with its research partners in UK, Portugal, France and Japan towards furthering the field of transdermal diagnostics and extending it for the development of diagnostic devices for a plethora of healthcare applications.

Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email [email protected] or submit an inquiry via our contact form.

Top Talkers